On Wednesday, Nov. 18, students flocked to a workshop entitled “Motorboat Your Myths.” Hosted by The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health (CSPH), Adolescent Sexual Health Awareness (ASHA), WesWell, FGSS, and American Studies, the workshop focused on debunking myths and misperceptions about sex and sexuality.
The workshop involved interaction between the audience and the presenters, a chance to ask anonymous questions, and opportunities to win various sex toys as prizes. The workshop was a part of the Study Sex College Tour, an outreach program run by the CSPH.
“What we do [in the program] is send educators out to higher institutions of learning, at the request of student groups, or sometimes faculty, and do workshops that are primarily pleasure positive, sexual behavior-focused education,” said Erin Basler-Francis, Digital Media Proctor of the CSPH.
Cassandra Corrado, Programs Manager at the CSPH, was the main presenter for the workshop. She is a sex educator and focuses on unhealthy relationships and LGBTQ health.
“We have 10 myths about sexuality that are untrue, and we are going to fuck them up,” Corrado said at the beginning of the presentation.
Among the myths she debunked were that everyone has sex, sex is going to hurt, and that lesbians can’t get STIs.
Corrado also challenged the notion that periods, birth control, and pregnancy are women’s issues. Corrado then discussed how these ideas exclude people who don’t identify with gender binary, including trans* people.
“Sex and gender are two different things,” Corrado said. “Through certain campaigns, we push marginalized voices more to the edge.”
Corrado talked about how Planned Parenthood’s Pink Out Day perpetuates the gender binary since it is primarily targeted at women.
She additionally addressed the myth that bisexual people are sexually confused and/or promiscuous and explained how society can exploit people who identify as bisexual.
“46.1 percent of bisexual women, in a study in 2011, reported experiencing sexual assault in one way or another,” Corrado said. “Holy fuck. That’s an incredibly high number.”
Since the CSPH also focuses on the importance of sexual pleasure, there was a discussion about sex toys and how they can be used.
Basler-Francis discussed how the CSPH educates people about sex can be considered different.
“[We are] focusing on adult learning principles instead of pedagogical principles, so it’s focused on practicable skills, making sure that people can apply things to their lives, and answering questions people want to know the information about,”she said.
In addition to debunking myths, the workshop talked about other aspects of sexuality, including self-esteem and communication. Corrado encouraged the audience to correct family members and others who perpetuate false information about sexual health and pleasure.
“We’re talking about sex and sexuality, but we’re also talking about communication,” Corrado said. “If any of your families spews these myths, here are ways to call them in, not call them out.”
She advised audience members to avoid shaming people who encourage harmful stereotypes about sex and sexuality. She also suggested that they exercise empathy, research information about sex together, and communicate with others in ways that will make them feel comfortable.
The three members of the CSPH present at the workshop, Corrado, Basler-Francis, and Kira Manser, the Intern Executive Director, who call themselves the Pleasure Posse, hoped that their message could get across to those in attendance.
“My goal as an educator is always that everyone learns something, and I would hope its something that we’re trying to teach, but even if it’s something that’s coming out of someone else’s mouth, then great, you learn something,” Basler-Francis said.
Katie Murray ’19 found the workshop helpful.
“I think it’s really refreshing and encouraging to have honest discourse about pleasure, rather than the boring biological things that we can learn in [biology],” Murray said. “I think it’s really cool that all these people came here and are actually interested in learning about it. It’s encouraging.”
Emma Llano ’19 agreed, saying that she enjoyed that the workshop provided a different approach to sex-education.
“I think it’s really helpful that we talk about things that maybe normally don’t get talked about in sex-ed,” Llano said. “Maybe we talk about STDs and stuff, but we never talk about sex toys and masturbation, and trans* people, and multiple sexualities and stuff like that, which I think was really cool.”
Corrado emphasized the importance of loving your body throughout the presentation, and said that although this can be hard, it is integral in enjoying yourself and enjoying sex. She also denounced thinking that your body is weird, explaining there is no “normal” body.
“People ask, ‘How can I be normal?’” Corrado asked. “But really, there is no normal… Bisexuality is valid, pansexuality is valid… You are valid.”