Newcastle University’s Feminist Society collaborated with Sexpression Newcastle to host ‘Let’s Talk About Sex Baby’ on 24 October. The event coincided with the university’s S.H.A.G. Week, which promotes sexual health awareness on campus.
The campaign also promotes safe sex by giving out free contraception and running free STI screenings, at which there was a £200 prize for the society or sports club that got the most members tested. Short talks were given by Becky Tuck, FemSoc’s president, and Sexpression’s president Hollie Roe and member Jess Herbert. These talks touched upon subjects such as STIs, contraceptives and people’s understanding of their own bodies and sexual organs.
The event was open to all genders and sexualities and touched upon how to keep sex safe in both homosexual and heterosexual relationships. Each talk was followed by a period of open-floor discussion, in which people were invited to share their sexual knowledge and experiences or sit and listen to others. This open forum framework allowed members of the session to be as active or as passive as they wished to be.
As well as the discursive element of the session, there were practical and interactive elements of the session. Sexpression brought examples of forms of female contraceptive that are now rarely used, such as female condoms and diaphragms. They also brought ‘drunk goggles’ for people to try on, which visually distort one’s depth perception when worn. Hollie Roe gave a demonstration of how to correctly put a condom on.
“You’d be surprised how many people still don’t know how to do it at this age”, she said. Becky Tuck, FemSoc president, felt the even was needed in order to highlight how bad sex education is in schools. “Not only is it incredibly heteronormative, the conversation ends after “boys get boners and girls get periods”; there is no education about female sexual pleasure.”
She goes on to explain how the event was organised to encourage people to “come together to talk about sex without shame, and to give students the tools to have great sex that is emotionally and physically healthy, with a belief that sexual and reproductive health is absolutely essential to feminist empowerment for all.”