Let’s talk about sex, baby: RRRA hosts Sex Week

The Rideau River Residence Association (RRRA) educated students on sex positivity at its Sex Week events held from Oct. 2-6.

Brittany Galler, the vice president (programming) of RRRA and co-ordinator for the awareness week, said its aim was to have an interactive and friendly discussion about topics related to sex, such as sexuality and consent, in a non-judgmental environment.

“Studies have shown that the first few months of university are critical, statistically speaking, for occurrences of sexual violence. Because of the high sexual violence rates at this time of the year, it is extremely important to have events such as this one to promote consent culture, safe sex, and healthy relationships,” Galler said.

Venus Envy, an award-winning sex shop and bookstore in Centretown, sponsored the event. The week’s line-up featured workshops such as “The Big O! Tips & Tricks for Bigger, Better and More Frequent Orgasms” and “Sex Toy Bingo.”

Norman Nawrocki, a Montreal-based comedian and sex educator, gave a comedic performance called “Lessons from a 7 Ft. Penis.” Nawrocki, who also creates music and art, uses his art and live performances to make the discussion about sex, sexual harassment and consent easier to handle, but he also said he never jokes about the “serious stuff.”

Nawrocki said he became a sex advocate in 1993 after his then-girlfriend was sexually harassed and assaulted. During his workshop, he talked in detail about topics such as assault and consent, but also touched on more personal matters such as masturbation, oral sex, and sex toys. He shared his own experiences with sex while encouraging students to share their own.

“Sex isn’t about what others say it’s supposed to be. It’s about what does it mean for you. You figure that one out. You’re the only one who knows what you like best, what feels best for you,” Nawrocki said.

RRRA’s Sex Week also included discussion about how to make Carleton a safer space.

“Essentially what we need is a culture shift; teach everyone from day one that no means no, to respect and support others, and that we are all humans, so not to sexualize our bodies and make them into something they are not,” Galler said.

Nawrocki suggested that Carleton should put more money and effort into supporting and preventing sexual violence on campus.

“Let the whole campus know that these resources are available, and recognize that it is an ongoing problem. Take the reports of survivors seriously and provide follow-up support,” he said.

According to Galler, RRRA’s Sex Week is not the first time that Carleton has hosted a sex-positive event, but she said Sex Week was the biggest event of this kind. She said student turnout progressed throughout the week, but said the awkward nature of discussing sex might have turned some people off.

“Unfortunately the subject is still so taboo that a portion of Carleton’s population is uncomfortable attending the event,” Galler said. “However, the more people we can educate, the better.”

Photo by Meagan Casalino