Students in Stamp Student Union’s Colony Ballroom last night prepared themselves for a conversation many had never before dared to discuss in a public setting — kinky sex.
The lecture and panel discussion, led by feminist pornographer and sex educator Tristan Taormino, aimed to debunk myths about BDSM presented in the erotic romance novel, Fifty Shades of Gray, as well as teach students about having safe sexual experiences.
Jenna Beckwith, sexual health program coordinator at the University Health Center, said she recognized a need for such an event when she saw the influence Fifty Shades was having on students’ sex lives.
“I think that in my realm of work, where students come to me with their sexual health concerns, I saw that with the popularity of Fifty Shades, kinky sex seemed to be the trendy thing to do,” Beckwith said. “The popularity of this book really brought to light a lot of misconceptions and misinformation that young people were having about sexuality. We wanted to open up a space for students to explore their identities and ask questions about this topic in a safe place.”
During the discussion, sexual health experts and university faculty exposed false stereotypes described in the novel, such as the idea that all people who engage in BDSM were abused at one point, so they express that trauma in their sex lives. The book’s main characters perpetuate the belief, but that’s largely untrue, said Tamara Pincus, a clinical social worker who spoke on the panel.
“Kink is very stigmatized, and it’s important that students see that we are just regular people like everybody else,” Pincus said. “Most people know that they are kinky at a young age, and it’s just part of how people develop.” ...