At the Office of Multicultural Student Support, located on the second floor of the student center, Keene State College students gather on Tuesdays at noon to talk about sex.
Sex Chats and Aphrodisiacs is a weekly discussion on campus that is open to anyone who would like to stop by. Last week’s topic: contraceptives.
KSC senior Pam Delisme is majoring in health science.
As an intern for Tiffany Mathews, Coordinator for Wellness Education at KSC, Delisme helps to facilitate the meetings every Tuesday.
Delisme said, “I think it’s important [to talk about sex] because some students don’t know about different options when it comes to birth control or even anything about sexuality. I think these chats are important and can help people learn about sexual health in a friendly environment.”
While the meetings are weekly, the crowds they draw tend to be on the smaller side.
“I think people get turned off by the description of these chats because it’s about sexual health and anything about sex is considered taboo,” Delisme said, “Coming to these chats doesn’t have to be awkward. It’s just like talking to your friends about it, except you’ll most likely be getting expert advice about some things.”
Delisme, whose high school didn’t have a sex-ed program, said that learning about sex in college is just as important, and that it’s never too late to start that conversation.
“Any KSC student is welcome to come to the chats, even if you aren’t having sex or just are thinking about it. This is information that could really help some people,” Delisme said.
KSC senior Ana Whitehead is a friend of Delisme’s who attended last week’s discussion.
Whitehead, who said that each week’s chat is interesting and fun, explained, “Each week there’s a great topic and it’s a great opportunity to learn about sex in a totally open environment.”
Whitehead added, “I took a Human Sexuality class here at KSC and it was a great class. I learned how important it is for people to get a good education on sex. A lot of schools don’t, and therefor people allow themselves to get in risky situations. I think it’s really important for students to have the opportunity to educate themselves on the topic if they want to.”
Deb Coltey, APRN and Assistant Medical Director at the on campus health center, was a guest speaker at last week’s Sex Chats and Aphrodisiacs discussion on birth control.
“I think it’s really important to open up this conversation because many students are having sex and it’s important for them to be able to talk about it and ask questions, and to have their questions answered,” Coltey explained.
In addition to opening up the conversation, Coltey also stressed the importance of promoting a sex-positive attitude on campus.
Coltey said, “Sex is such a normal human experience for so many people, and it’s something that should be discussed.”
On campus, Coltey said that the health center’s mission is geared toward supporting students in whatever choices they make, and encouraging them to lead healthy lives.
“We are lucky to have a health educator [Mathews] whose job it is to work on these types of things with students,” Coltey said, “As a clinician, I see patients all day. It’s just a small group of students, not everyone on campus. So we try to do our work which is on more of an individual level while [Mathews’s] work as a health educator is for more of the population of students on campus.”
In coming weeks, Coltey hopes that Sex Chats and Aphrodisiacs will gain some popularity on campus and that the attendance will rise.
“I want to see the conversation picking up, and for KSC to become a much more sex-positive campus,” Coltey said.
Jill Giambruno can be contacted at email@example.com