Most ladies will agree the female orgasm is quite an experience. The I Heart Female Orgasm event sought to shed some light on what many may consider a bit of a mystery.
In the Eastern Michigan University Student Center on Monday, sex educators Maggie Keenan-Bolger and Marshall Miller led students of all gender identities in a journey to learn more about the female orgasm and women’s sexuality in general. The event was put on with the help of the Women’s Resource Center, EMU Student Government, University Health Services, the LGBT Resouce Center and the EMU Residence Hall Association.
The topics covered in the nationally known event were inspired by questions Miller and Keenan-Bolger had received about the female orgasm, as well as the “I Heart Female Orgasm” book, which was co-written by Miller and Dorian Solot and sold at the event for a discounted price.
The program was divided into three sections: A presentation open to everyone in the audience, a segment where participants were divided by gender to discuss their separate questions and comments about the female orgasm and the final section of the presentation, which had everyone together in the room once again.
EMU senior Jenessa Loomis, a language, literature and writing major who works as a student programmer for the WRC, said she felt the program’s benefits extend beyond only women.
“I think it helps everybody,” Loomis said. “It definitely normalizes the topic so that we can come out and have this open discussion.”
Alberto Saenz, a freshman mechanical engineering major, attended the event with his girlfriend but learned a great deal from the program as well, particularly from the recurring theme of successful communication with your partner.
“It’ll actually help guys and girls ask their partners if they like certain ways or not,” Saenz said. “So it’s pretty much going to benefit them in the future.”
Loomis also noted that I Heart Female Orgasm came to EMU back in 2011 as well, and one of the noticeable changes in this presentation was a more trans-friendly environment, by breaking into three groups instead of two. The third group was for anyone regardless of identity who felt uncomfortable being forced to opt into the typical male or female gender groups.
Jess Klein, the program coordinator of the WRC, said, “It’s very inclusive of folks of all gender and sexualities, folks who have had sex and folks who haven’t had sex. I think having an all-inclusive program is really important.”
Miller said it’s important for people of all genders to know about sex and to be knowledgeable about their bodies and their partners.
“Having information is a really good thing, and it’s up to each person whether or not they choose to put that to use right away or at some point down the road when they’re married or in a committed relationship,” Miller said.
I Heart Female Orgasm wasn’t that awkward middle school sex-ed class with diagrams of fallopian tubes and condoms on bananas. The atmosphere was relaxed, no rubbers were rolled onto produce and the discussion filled in the blanks that may have been left from a less-than-sexy grade-school lecture.
“If driver’s education was taught like sex education,” Miller said, “you’d come to a classroom and all you would learn is … all the things that could go wrong, and you wouldn’t actually learn about how a car actually works, like where the gas pedal is or how to back it out of the driveway. All you would learn is how dangerous cars are and how to put on your seatbelt, and at the end of that, your driver’s education would be complete.”
The program, despite its potentially controversial content, never once lost its playful, positive vibe.
Nadine Marshall, an alumna who graduated in April 2012, said, “It was really funny but at the same time, it tackled an issue that’s a really big thing for women and for men as well.”
“The atmosphere was actually pretty comfortable,” Kirstin Kaufhold, a freshman accounting major, said. “There wasn’t any awkward tension … I feel like it taught you a lot more facts and let you know that you’re not alone in some situations and there’s other people you can relate to.”
One topic that kept resurfacing throughout the event was the aforementioned idea of openness and communication being the key to a fulfilling sex life.
“I think we’re often silenced in talking about pleasure or sexuality,” presenter Keenan-Bolger said, urging students to continue having honest discussions about sex, even outside of the program.
“I think it’s really important to open up dialogue,” Klein said. “And that’s exactly what this program does. Anybody can benefit from that. Don’t be afraid to tell someone what you want or ask for what you want.”
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