S.H.A.G. Week hit Newcastle University this week, a five-day long event aimed at increasing awareness of both mental and physical sexual health.
From Monday 26 to Friday 30 October, a number of talks and workshops were held across campus, providing advice and guidance on sexual health.
Luke Allison, Welfare and Equality Officer, said: “Whilst we look at the physical side to sexual health, like last year, we are also focusing greatly on the mental aspect.
“We’re trying to open up the topic of sexuality, discussing orientation and expression, and how comfortable people are with it”.
Events included a BDSM talk and workshop on Tuesday in the Students’ Union, which aimed to break down familiar terms and inform people on how to apply the Safe, Sane, Consensual code of ethics to sex.
A women-only Anne Summers party was also held in the NUSU Venue Level 2 at 7pm, with a 15% discount on all orders placed on the night.
Allison additionally sported a giant S.H.A.G. Week inflatable penis costume around campus, with people who took a picture with him given the chance to win a prize.
The STI testing and Sexual Health Drop In Centre was open all week from 11am to 4pm in the NUSU Red Cube.
Students who took chlamydia tests had the chance to win free headphones and cinema tickets for Empire Cinema in The Gate. The club or society with the highest percentage of completed tests will win a prize of £250.
The events last week aimed to emulate the ethos of Sexpression, a national student organization that empowers young people to make decisions about sex and relationships.
The organization held two talks; a ‘Beyond the Birds and the Bees’ discussion on Wednesday 28th and an ‘I heart Consent’ talk held on Friday 30th, co-hosted by Lucy-Neely Morgan, Vice-President of FemSoc and Gender Equality Officer for the Union.
Morgan said: “Promoting sexual health and increasing accessibility to sexual health services should always be a priority for the Union.
“S.H.A.G. Week should focus on raising awareness of existing systems and access to contraception already available on campus.”
Sexpression also hosted a national conference in the Newcastle Medical School last weekend where people could hear from influential speakers within the sexual health community about subjects such as living with HIV, as well as meeting others passionate about sex and relationship education.
For more information on the work of Sexpression and to find out how to get involved, visit sexpression.org.uk.