Students get their sexy back, safely

By Shay Castle
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Students got their sexy back at the Valencia’s Winter Park campus at a Valentine’s Day themed event promoting safe sex.

The program was jointly sponsored by the Student Government Association and the Advocates in Motion team (AIM), Winter Park’s Peer Educators group.

“Our goal is to promote health and wellness,” said Rae Breda, an AIM team member. “By having ‘sex-versations’ we try to promote awareness through open communication.”

Participants were encouraged to talk about sex by playing games, including sex and romance themed Jeopardy. After answering questions about contraceptives, STD’s, and Valentine’s Day trivia, students were given condoms and invited to indulge in refreshments.

“It was kind of awkward to have complete strangers ask me questions about sex and give me a condom,” said Courtney O’Brien. “But it was really informative and fun. It made you want to learn.”

Another game required students to correctly put in order the steps involved in putting on a condom. They were rewarded with a “safe sex kit” which included breath mints, flavored condoms, and lubrication.

“A lot of kids don’t know how to put condoms on,” said Breda. “People feel ashamed talking about it.”

Breda and her fellow peer educators asked open-ended questions about various sexual situations, hoping to promote conversation and get people to open up.

“When people talk openly it makes others feel more willing to share,” said Nikki Arnold of AIM. “Sex used to be hush-hush, but it can’t be anymore. People are going to continue to have sex but they’re going to do it uninformed.”

Javier Acevedo, a student in attendance, disagreed, saying that he thought college students were well-informed enough.

“Honestly, I think this event is only helpful to some kids, maybe like 20 percent of the college population,” he said. “At this point, kids have enough experience to know what’s going on. It’s more necessary in high school.”

Despite Acevedo’s confidence in his peers, many students found their knowledge of safe sex practices inadequate.

Shaelisa Lasaine didn’t know the specifics on certain types of birth control, like that oral contraceptives worked mainly by preventing ovulation. She was also unaware that not all products are safe to use together.

“I didn’t know anything about lubrication, like that some can weaken condoms,” she said, referring to oil-based lubricants. “It was really fun to test your knowledge.”

AIM holds a safe sex program every year around this time, but this is the first year it was held on Valentine’s Day. The organization used the novelty to help generate interest, playing on the holiday by decorating with roses, hearts and sweet treats like strawberries and chocolate.

“I thought it was really nice to show interest in the holiday,” said William Alphonse. “Valentine’s Day is every day for me. I love 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”