Tom Benoit / Arts and Entertainment Editor

COVID can be hard, however, according to The Wellness Center, sex doesn’t have to be.

Between October 26 and October 30, the Keene State College Wellness Center released infographics on its social media accounts promoting safe sex practices during the COVID pandemic.

“The information in the campaign is intended for our students, as many students have expressed concern about how to gather information about these topics. Each image is a small piece of an educational campaign to address a wide range of safer sexual health practices during the pandemic, without encouraging any particular choice,” said Forrest Seymour, Assistant Director of Emotional Health Programming and Outreach at The Wellness Center.

Each day, The Wellness Center covered different topics, including masturbation, consent and even non-sexual ways to engage in intimacy. On day four of the campaign, the topic of the day was getting creative with intimacy.

Some of the suggestions were met with some controversy, as well as some jokes from students. On day one of the campaign, the post included suggestions such as “Wearing a mask during sex can add another protective layer.”

On day four, which focused on getting creative with intimacy, was met with the most controversy. The post included suggestions of overcoming social distancing guidelines, such as “Go on a virtual date – watch a movie or play a video game or virtual board game” and “make playlists of sexy songs for each other.”

The final slide of the post read “Masturbate together! Virtually, by phone, or in person” which was met with the most comments on The Wellness Center’s Instagram. The Wellness Center has since turned off the comments on the safe sex and COVID series.

“I thought it was an unreasonable and unnecessary post,” junior Michael Kearney, who commented on The Wellness Center’s day four post, said. “Everyone knows that hooking up online is not the same as being in person, and although I understand and appreciate that the school is trying to keep us safe from COVID, suggesting we refrain from developing our sexual identities and hooking up is a bit ridiculous to me especially considering those people will likely meet in person anyways and the risk of catching COVID from that is almost as high, I would assume,” said Kearney.

On the other hand, some students felt the campaign did a fine job educating students.

“Keene State’s newest sex education plan, in my opinion, has been done very well,” sophomore Steven Doe said. “Personally, how they laid out the info and topics was quick to read and very informing. The topics as well were relevant and showed just how to be safe during COVID with your partner. The articles also describes how COVID can spread and can’t spread sexually which was very informing. Altogether, it was done quite well and in the end I learned a lot plus I feel personally more prepared in this area for the future.”

Despite the mixed reaction from students, Seymour feels the educational campaign was a success, “The students I’ve talked with about the ‘COVID-19 & Sex’ campaign have been pleased that KSC is supporting the sexual health of the community and are invested in continued wellness messaging that speaks to students in their language” said Seymour.

To see the full educational campaign, visit The Wellness Center’s Instagram and Facebook pages.

 

Tom Benoit can be contacted at
artsandentertainment@kscequinox.com