'That's the Tea, Sis!' event discusses sexual positivity, empowerment
Participants in a Women's History Month event aspired to find peace, clarity and empowerment through reminisces of their sexual awakenings and journeys.
"That's the Tea, Sis!" was an open communication circle organized by the Central Michigan University Office of LGBTQ Services at 7 p.m. March 14 in the Bovee University Center.
Facilitators Waterford graduate student Autumn Gairaud and Illinois junior Alexandria Garay led a conversation covering birth control and numerous contraceptives, virginity, pregnancy shaming and establishing a more inclusive vocabulary for sexual activity.
Highland sophomore Tess Ware said she is grateful for being raised by parents who illustrated sex as a natural feature of human existence.
"They're very open and casual when they talk about sex," Ware said. "They weren't uncomfortable talking about it so I grew up thinking it was not a big deal. I didn't really grow up with any of the shame or stigma because my parents were very careful to not let me learn any of those things."
For Garay, the LGBTQ Services intern, growing in a Latina Household with a single mother forced her to believe sex was something of absolute purity. She said the ideology illustrated sex could only be shared by the perfect male-and-female pair under the authorization of Christian marriage.
"My entire teenage years were a long, long time," Garay said. "(My sister and I) had a purity ring as a promise to God we were going to be pure until we were married to this man and we'll finally be able to have sex. Which is actually really (messed) up (because) we're both gay and we had a lot of learning to do."
She said the first time she was ever sexually active was a battle between silencing the guilt her earlier life ingrained in her, and accepting the power and satisfaction life at Central was offering her.
Taylor senior Leanna Cloutier said virginity was offered as ammo to combat the biggest fear: getting pregnant.
Her father and mother had their first child under the ages of 18. The means of their young parenthood created one lesson for their children: "don't have kids young."
"When (my sister and I) turned 18 we kind of just high five each other for making it," Cloutier said. "After that, I think what taught me the most (about sex) was Tumblr and the internet."
Mount Pleasant sophomore Elizabeth Ferden said not only does sexual education need to be offered with better clarity and acceptance of sexual liberation, but creating a culture of respect for both the sexually active and non-active.
"We need to let people do their own thing and just mind our own business," Ferden said. "It's okay if you've slept with 100 people and it's okay if you haven't slept with anyone. I think it goes both ways too."