Virgins, Sluts, & Other Social Constructs

Get down with the dismantling of social constructs like virgins and sluts surrounding female sexuality by first learning about their complexities and implications.

Some noteworthy stats on sex-education in the states: 

  • When provided, sex education must stress abstinence in 25 states.
  • Only states require that sex/HIV education cannot promote religion.
  • When provided, sex education must include information on the importance of sex only within marriage in 19 states. 

Additional notes on the acknowledgement of the female orgasm:  

Female masturbation can be traced back to the 19th century when an "epidemic of hysteria" supposedly overtook the female population in Western Europe. Symptoms included insomnia, faintness, sudden outbursts, sexual desires, erotic fantasies, and excessive vaginal lubrication (women who like sex? the horror!), and a "tendency to cause trouble". The cure to such a disease? "Hysterial paroxysm". In other words - an orgasm! Doctors were quite exasperated by the tiresome responsibilities of inducing so many orgasms that they became creative with their methods and technologies... Hence, the invention of the vibrator.

1/3 of adult women own a vibrator today. However until this year, anti obscenity laws existed in the south, making the commercial sale of sex toys illegal. Laws like these that shame the idea of women achieving orgasm without the help of a partner perpetuate the stigma that masturbation is harmful to girls and women. Framing masturbation in such a light won't stop all women from masturbating, but will instead cause them to feel shameful and isolated in society for indulging in something that feels oh, so good.  

Sex: Representation, Education, and Masturbation

Gender equality cannot exist if it doesn't begin in the most intimate of settings: the bedroom.

Join Dr. Tanya Bakhmetyeva, professor of Sex & Power, Dr. Marie-Joelle Estrada, Professor of Psychology of Gender, and three student speakers -Anna Erwin, Amelia Keller, and myself- at the University of Rochester on November 15th from 5:00-6:30 PM. Discussion topics will include: the purity myth, female masturbation, locker room talk, women in the media, inequalities in the bedroom, and others.

Light refreshments including coffee, tea, and cider will be served. University Health Services will be present at the event with information pamphlets and birth control for all interested attendees.

Facebook event here.