Professor Janine Everett speaks about consent, safe sex

By Alex Pinsk || Managing Editor

This past Monday, January 5th, the Writer’s House hosted a session titled “What’s Good Sex?” as a part of last week’s Consent and Sex Education Week. During the session, Professor Janine Everett, professor of Public Health, spoke to students about a wide range of topics surrounding consent, safe sex, and good sex. She addressed concerns that students had about these issues and answered any questions that they had.

To begin her talk, Professor Everett discussed the importance of consent in any relationship. Not only did she define consent, but she described it as something that “ends at the moment one person is no longer enthusiastically into things” and clarified that it “can be given and retracted at any point.” She went on to remind everyone that no one can accurately provide consent while under the influence of substances—drugs, alcohol, etc. She addressed the issue of consent specifically because many people vaguely understand what consent means but do not understand that it has many facets.

Professor Everett continued by describing the particulars of safe sex. She described the different barriers, such as condoms, dental dams, finger cots, and female condoms. She even provided samples of most of these forms of protection, capturing her audience and issuing visual aids.

One of the purposes of this talk was to address the significance of good sex, not just safe sex. Thus, Professor Everett spent time talking about the importance of enjoying oneself while engaging in sexual acts. Society is so focused on STD prevention and safe sex—albeit both of which are vastly important—that good sex is not always a priority. In fact, many people do not even know what good sex feels like. Describing different types of lubricant and sex toys, Professor Everett explains that if used correctly and safely, these items can prove very enjoyable for all parties involved.

Professor Everett also addressed the importance of talking with ones partner in order to ensure everyone is on the same page. Specifically, she talked about transgender sex and the importance of communication and setting ground rules. Not only that, Everett talked about body image, explaining that “social and peer acceptance is so important to young adults, and it can change behaviors;” i.e., people might do things that they are uncomfortable with in order to please others. This is not okay. People should be comfortable, know their bodies, and be enthusiastic with all aspects of their sexual encounters.

During the Q&A at the end of the session, Professor Everett addressed students’ questions surrounding these issues. One student asked how the people who actually attend these sessions can communicate what they learn to to those who did not attend and are not as receptive. Professor Everett said the best way to pass on information from these forums would be to “be confident. Give little bits in the way people can handle. If they feel threatened, it’s not your problem.”

The goal “What’s Good Sex?” was to communicate openly about sexual relationships—particularly, the issues and misconceptions within. Professor Everett imparted her knowledge about healthy sex onto students who can now bring that information to their fellow students and the F&M community.

Throughout the week, speakers came to discuss matters regarding sexual misconduct, domestic violence, and healthy sex. Forums were held and even Common Hour was focussed on these issues. Each event brought a new perspective on these perpetual issues.

Sophomore Alex Pinsk is the Managing Editor. Her email is mpinsk@fandm.edu.

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