The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 53
Published 5/29/13 | Log In
SPU students pile into Upper Gwinn for a two-night discussion on sex. The discussion focused on the prevailing question, “Am I normal?”
Photo credit: KIM PATRICK/The Falcon.
By JANAE TOWERY,
Published: April 25, 2012
Upper Gwinn was all abuzz with chatter as students took their seats on the ground, awaiting discussion on everybody’s favorite topic: sex.
Seattle Pacific professor and certified sex therapist Tina Schermer Sellers led the forum titled “Let’s Talk About Sex” along with Shawn Whitney, assistant director of the SPU Student Counseling Center.
Formerly, the forum prohibited the participation of males to the event in hopes that women would feel more at ease discussing topics concerning sexuality when surrounded by others of the same gender.
However, men took notice of their non-inclusion on the critical topic of sexuality.
As a result males were invited to hear the keynote speakers this year, in addition to listening to a male-only panel on Monday night, as the women listened to theirs.
On Monday night, nine women and six men shared their experiences with sex. For the majority of the night, the men and women were divided to create a safe environment.
Whitney saw the importance of including the men.
He said, “I encourage that men were included this year. Men really value hearing what Tina says and hear[ing] what is normal. What they often hear about sexuality from their peers are myths.”
The event lived up to its name, openly discussing all manner of taboo subjects such as masturbation, premarital sex, wet dreams and pornography.
Much of the presentation focused around the prevalent and most angsty of all questions: “Am I normal?”
In addressing this topic, the speakers took attendees through every stage of normative sexual development ranging from toddlers to the elderly.
Here, they assigned each stage of life with a coordinating sexual activity: from in-utero erections to the re-awakening of sexuality that occurs in marriage when the children have left the home, otherwise known as “empty-nesters.”
Sellers and Whitney also presented statistics showing the average age of a person as he or she first engages in sexual intercourse, according to his or her religion.
Those claiming no religion averaged 16.4 years old during their first experience, while Fundamental Protestants reigned in at 16.9 and Catholics at 17.7.
Prompting further discussion on the topic of sexuality, Sellers and Whitney suggested that students practice “O.R.C.A.” This acronym stands for Openness, Respect, Curiosity, and Accountability to Power (grace).
After the presentation on both nights, speakers Sellers and Whitney opened up the conversation and took anonymous questions from the audience via text.
This is where students let loose, enjoying a safe environment to ask otherwise risqué questions such as “How often do you have sex at your age?”, “Is it healthy for young men and women to masturbate? Or is it just plain fun with no purpose?” and “What does Scripture say about freedom in sexuality?”
While many of these questions did not elicit definitive answers from either Sellers or Whitney, the questions posed a platform for future discussion on the subject between males and females alike.
“I thought it was a good experience overall,” junior Jacob Redding said. “It was upfront and open; there was nothing to hide about sex or sexuality.”
However, some felt that the event lacked Biblical evidence in its many claims about sexuality.
Junior Sabrina Fordyce said, “It was a good event to open up the doors for conversation, but the people who were teaching should have had biblical knowledge instead of just teaching cultural statistics and O.R.C.A.”
Fordyce said Mars Hill Church is holding an event Sunday, April 29 called “The Bible, Sex, and Singleness.” The event will center on Biblical principals and is meant to be held “in response to, but not in attack of SPU’s ‘Let’s Talk About Sex.’”
Sellers felt that SPU’s event went well.
“It’s nice to be a part of inviting people to see their belovedness ... to break the silence and get people to talk about their sexuality,” she said.