Week 7 was host to Rad Sex and Consent Week – a whole five days of “the sex ed you never had” courtesy of UMSU’s Wom*n’s, Queer, Disability and Welfare departments.
Rad Sex and Consent Week involves a whole heap of workshops focusing on things like interracial relationships, anal play, degendered sex, and contraception, so it’s pretty unlikely that you won’t find anything that interests you!
I attended a number of workshops during the week and I found that all of them were incredibly friendly and welcoming towards people looking to either learn more or discuss personal experiences in a safe space.
Why is Rad Sex and Consent Week important?
I spoke to Lucy from the Wom*n’s Department and she emphasised the importance of providing university students with sex ed that goes beyond that of what they most likely received in high school, which too often focuses on heterosexuality, pregnancy and gross pictures of STIs.
As so many people within a university environment regularly encounter and engage in sexual activity, it’s crucial that people have a thorough understanding of what their rights and responsibilities are, how they can make sex an enjoyable experience, and how to go about making sure that both they and their partner/s are safe.
As well as the basics, a lot of the workshops provide a place to talk about things that aren’t usually talked about in relation to sex and relationships, such as mental illness, sexy sign language and sex with non-normative bodies.
Rad Sex and Consent Week is inclusive of all sexualities, genders, body types, disabilities, nationalities and interests, and presents sex as healthy and multi-faceted, rather than something that should evoke shame and fear.
Talking about consent
(TW: mentions of sexual assault/rape)
Unfortunately, many people are never taught what consent looks like and start university with the belief that it’s invalidated by certain factors.
I know from my own personal experiences at uni that a huge amount of people don’t understand that sexual assault and rape don’t solely happen in the middle of the night in dark alleyways – they can also happen at uni parties, bars and on campus in broad daylight, and often aren’t recognised for what they are.
One of the best things that Rad Sex and Consent Week does is ensure that individuals walk away with a thorough understanding of what it means to give and receive consent, through learning how to evaluate situations, pick up on body language and ask their partner if they’re okay with different sexy time things (without totally killing the mood).
Rad Sex and Consent Week is so incredibly important to me because it makes me (and I’m sure a whole lot of other people) feel a lot safer knowing that consent is being openly talked about. On top of that, it’s wonderful to be able to talk about sex in a completely non-judgmental and supportive environment! I would highly recommend attending any workshops that interest you when it rolls around again next year because it really is a wonderful resource for all students.
Please remember that if you have any questions or need to talk to someone about an issue you’re facing, UMSU Disabilities and the Queer and Wom*n’s Departments are always willing to lend an ear and help you out when you need it.