Sex becomes topic of the night during OWLs 'It's Not That Weird' event

Saint Joseph junior Grace James presents on contraceptives and the available options on Nov. 13 at the University Center Terrace Room.

The Organization of Women Leaders (OWLs) hosted "It's Not That Weird" as a part of its Women’s Empowerment Week. The event covered topics such as sex taboos, sexual liberation and consent. 

“I feel like (sex is) one of the things that isn’t talked about," said Northville senior Paige Hall. "Female empowerment is talked about quite a bit, but no one ever talks about sexual liberation and how it’s okay to like what you like and it’s okay to be sexual as women.”

To begin the night, OWLs organizers showed the audience two videos. The first covered comprehensive sex education and what LGBTQ+ individuals deal with regarding sex education how different people in the community felt about not being exposed to inclusive sex education. 

The second video showed what Canadian schools are currently teaching in the SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) curriculum. This curriculum exposes children at a young age to the ideas of sexual orientation and gender identity. 

After these videos were shown, Saint Joseph junior Grace James presented a slideshow for Planned Parenthood on contraceptives and consent. Contraceptives covered included IUDS, Birth Control Pills, Skin Patches, Vaginal Rings, male condoms, female condoms, the pull out method, Diaphragms, Cervical Caps, Sponges, Spermicide and Plan B. 

The slideshow then ended with discussion on safe sex regarding things like consent, sexual privacy and that someone cannot consent if intoxicated. 

Following the presentation, OWLS interviewed Canadian transsexual sex worker Velvet Steele via Skype. Steele was questioned about topics like BDSM (Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/ Submission, and Sadism/Masochism), sexual liberation, fetishes and how she identifies as transsexual. 

For Clare sophomore Kate Grove hearing the perspective of a sex worker was interesting. 

“It was definitely very informative speaking to someone who classifies as a sex worker. I guess I didn’t realize kind of in what context all of that contained," Grove said. "I obviously knew transgender was the preferred term for the trans community, but it was really interesting hearing someone who identifies as transsexual describe why that identifier works for them."

During the tabling portion of the night, different sections explored different concepts. One table taught about BDSM while another, "Block those Babies," provided free condoms. During this time, OWLS provided penis-shaped cookies and "cleavage cupcakes" for attendees. 

To end the event, the audience answered trivia questions about knowledge they gathered from the night. 

Event co-chair Francesca Farzalo said the most important thing she hoped the audience took away from the presentation is to respect someone’s consent and preferences. 

“I would say (audience members should understand) the intense importance of consent and of respect for people’s sexual preferences and what they need to do to be healthy and safe during a sexual situation," Farzalo said.