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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

At Love Your Body Week, learning about sex and avoiding sharp objects

By Danielle Williams

williams11@grinnell.edu

We’re all familiar with the term Self-Gov—this week, it’s time to learn about ‘Self-Love’. “Love Your Body Week” is a time-honored Grinnell tradition. The annual event is about individuals embracing themselves and their sexuality. The week started out with talks about sex positivity and a masturbation workshop and will end with a clothing optional photo-shoot from 6-9 p.m. tonight and a body image workshop at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, after which there is a s’more-fest by a fire, which will first be fueled by the burning of students’ insecurities written on paper.

Searah Deysach, owner of ‘Early to Bed’, a feminist/queer-friendly sex shop based in Chicago, spoke on Monday at the ‘Sex is Awesome’ workshop. According to Deysach, college is the time people are most concerned or confused about their sexuality.

“People are afraid of being perceived as freaks,” Deysach said.

RLC Autumn Wilke at a Love Your Body Week event. Photo by Avery Rowlison

On several occasions, her customers ask her, ‘Is ____ normal?’ Deysach finds it frustrating that so many people have skewed ideas of sex, which is why she first decided to fight the misinformation by giving adult sex-ed talks.

“There’s no wrong way to do sex,” she said. “Unless it involves sharp objects.”

The workshop aimed to teach Grinnellians to learn how to love and accept their sexualities and interests within a safe space.

“The less shame we have about sex, the more likely we are to ask questions and the more unlikely we are to do unsafe things,” Deysach said.

At the end of the workshop, Deysach prompted the students to “smell her penises”—a wide variety of masturbation toys that were put on display to satisfy curiosities, after which she encouraged all to masturbate furiously for the rest of the week.

And why not? Some lucky students got to win their very own toys in the event that followed, the masturbation workshop, which covered issues of safety and masturbation techniques. According to Isabella Alsobrook ’16, one of the event’s coordinators, there’s a lot more to masturbation than people realize. However, many are afraid to talk about the subject.

“The most important [part of the workshop is to show] that there is a community of people out there who masturbate and want to talk about it,” Alsobrook said. “It’s basically acknowledging that everyone is a sexual being and we should all get together and celebrate that.”

The purpose of these talks was to show people that sex really is awesome; the general consensus from the event coordinators was that people needed to be reminded that sex is not a scary or shameful thing.

“I think Love Your Body Week is a very important Grinnell tradition. Obviously love your body week should be every week of the year… It’s a really good reminder of what sex positivity means at Grinnell,” said Anna Banker ’15, one of the Feminist Action Coalition (FAC) leaders. “We talk about it a lot but I think this kind of thing is actually exploring it more, which is really important.”

As great as Love your Body Week is, there’s still a lot to improve on. FAC members plan to work on making these workshops able to include a wider audience.

“This year, we tried to make it more trans-inclusive. Next year, we’re going to try to address race more explicitly. We got that critique and it’s definitely something important to address. [We also want to start] thinking about disability and how that would impact loving your body,” Banker said. “Obviously, it’s impossible to please everybody. There’s always going to be some degree of exclusion, but we want to try to make these events open to everybody and feel accessible to everybody on some level.”

As anticipated, this year’s “Love your Body Week” is turning out to be successfully educating students in the art of sexual pride, and the student body can only look forward to it improving in the years to come.
“[Overall what I learnt] was that sex is awesome… and you can have it,” said Harry Baker ’16.

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    Rich PascoNov 2, 2012 at 10:33 am

    I am delighted to read about Love Your Body Week. I think it’s wonderful that Grinnell dedicates a week to embracing the positive aspects of sexuality. This is also an important theme of the wonderful workshops of the Human Awareness Institute, headquartered in northern California, producing workshops worldwide, including the Midwest USA. Together we are doing a lot to overturn the notions of sex as shameful and to celebrate the gift that it is.

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