San Diego State’s Planned Parenthood Generation Action held their first webinar that allowed students to anonymously ask two sexologists any sex-related questions in their Sex Among Us event on March 3.
Over 350 students asked sexologists Dr. Jill McDevitt and Shamyra Howard more than 400 questions. The two are sexual educators passionate about sex, intimacy and spreading knowledge about ways to dismantle the stigmas surrounding sex.
Dr. Jill McDevitt is a San Diego-based sexologist, a wellness coach and a feel-good activist. Shamyra Howard is an international award-winning sexologist, licensed critical social worker and sex and relationship expert and therapist.
McDevitt and Howard encouraged all questions telling participants that nothing was off-limits.
The webinar kicked off with an icebreaker question, “When you think of sex, what words come to mind?” Words like pleasure, fun and love were most prominent amongst the hundreds of responses.
The night consisted of questions relating to the following categories: orgasms, partnership, sexually transmitted infections, safe sex, body talk and wildcard questions. The topics discussed ranged from personal pleasure and exploration with various positions, sexual myths, communication and feminine hygiene.
As the webinar went on, students could continually ask questions about the array of topics either being discussed or not yet covered through the Question and Answer chatbox.
McDevitt and Howard emphasized communication as questions involving partnership and effective ways to communicate likes and dislikes of intimacy became the discussion topic.
“I am pro-use your mouth,” Howard said. “It’s all about communicating to get your needs met and to get your partner to understand what your sexual desires, fantasies and needs are.”
Howard goes on to further explain a respectful way to go about explaining what one’s likes are first and then to explain what the dislikes are, gently, to your partner.
McDevitt added advice about self-compassion and prior intuitive strategies that can be applied to sexual contexts, mixed with a little bit of confidence, to help those communicate more efficiently in the bedroom.
“It can be helpful to rely on the communication skills you already have,” McDevitt said. “Lean into the confidence.”
Although McDevitt and Howard kept the conversations amusing and entertaining, they provided important facts and information relating to any sexual questions, comments and concerns.
Co-president for Planned Parenthood Generation Action and interdisciplinary studies senior Sofia Ortiz said that this event was inspired to create a safe space for students of any sexual orientation or gender identity because of negative stigmas of sex and biases previously taught in educational environments.
“We try to host this event because there’s not really that well of a comprehensive sexual-ed program in public schools,” Ortiz said. “It’s something we should feel comfortable talking about.”
McDevitt and Howard further discuss approaching sexual topics with healthcare providers and even considering talking to sex therapists for more in-depth conversations about niche topics within the sexual community.
“Sex therapists often can help you with sexuality questions and issues and often have resources for doctors who are knowledgable and allies,” Howard said.
“I definitely think every year we will continue to host some type of open sexual ed event,” Ortiz said. “I would hope that seeing our event or even participating would get people to see sex as not as taboo topic as society has made it.”
The webinar came to a close with parting words from the panelists to the SDSU student body about additional support systems that students can reach out to for more information about sexual education, like student organizations such as PPGA.
“This is our passion,” McDevitt reminded the participants.
For more information about Planned Parenthood Generation Action and their support in reproductive health, sexual health and civic engagement, you can follow their Instagram @ppgaofsdsu and stay updated about their next event called Online Dating During a Pandemic on April 14.