Ah, college: A time when going out four nights in a row is physically possible and mid-day naps are scheduled. The collegiate life is one of learning, but it seems that sex doesn’t fall into the mix. While trial-and-error will (hopefully) lead those incoming freshmen from clueless teenagers to coitus pros, Tuesday night’s “Sex in the Dark” panel hosted by Boston University gave off a very clear message that most sexually active people are actually still “in the dark” when it comes to sex and sexual health.
The first thing learned was that the name of the event was not just some sort of clever pun, but rather a description: the entire thing was quite literally hosted in the dark. With one of the school’s auditorium’s left pitch black and glow-in-the-dark paraphernalia handed out for students to wear, the entire scene felt like a rave-like sex party. Free neon green condoms, intended for the practical use of students, were instead blown up and tossed around the room like a beach ball on graduation day. Other free gifts, including various — ahem — toys, donated by local shops, were eliciting laughter around the room.
The questions asked began with simple inquiries on topics like birth control and quickly headed down a path that would make your mother appalled you ever attended such an event. Issues about consent and opening up a dialogue between consenting partners was made the focus, deemed appropriate following the various concerns of sexual assault on college campuses and the alleged failure of universities to act on the problems that emerged this summer.
There were some statistics, however, that were surprising to learn from the panel, which included: Sophie Godley of the BU School of Public Health; Drs. Teri Aronowitz and Mark Weber of BU Student Health Services; and Aida Manduley of The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health.
As the “sexperts” took to the darkened stage in glow sticks of their own to answer some of the students’ most intimate questions, we realized that if college students are still confused about some of this stuff, then there’s a chance you are, too. So here’s some of the most important things we learned from the panel:
Did you know that the most common STI in Boston is chlamydia? Which makes it important to get tested for STIs often, even if you’ve been with the same partner for a long period of time.
Did you also know that 50 percent of sexually active people will get an STD by the age of 25? Sounds like a good enough reason to us to actually use those condoms, rather than blow them up into balloons.
Having just two orgasms a week can increase your lifespan. They’re a good stress relief, and get your heart and blood pumping. (And you thought you hated exercising.)
Twenty-one percent of people would rather give up sex for a year than give up the Internet for a year. Times are hard, and at least the Internet will always be there for you.
Only half of sexually active people in their 20s say they “mostly” or “always” use a condom during intercourse. Paired with alcohol and impaired judgement, this is the biggest culprit in the spread of STIs and unplanned pregnancies.