All-women’s college offers sex toy training

Campus Reform Reporter

  • Facilitated by other students, the sex toy workshops are provided for the whole dorm upon the request of an RA on behalf of a student.
  • Mount Holyoke, which recently began allowing transgender students to enroll, offers other free workshops on contraceptives and sexually transmitted diseases.
  • After recently allowing transgender students to enroll, an all-women’s college is offering sex toy workshops to its students upon request.

    Mount Holyoke College (MHC) provides a training called “Frisky Fingers, Vibrating Toys, and Fun with 1: The Beauties of Masturbation (Sex Toys).” The workshop is funded by MHC’s Health Center but is free of charge to students.

    “I'm all for sex education, but I feel like a college run workshop isn't really the place for that kind of education, because it's more about sexual pleasure than knowledge."   

    "This workshop offers space to discuss the ‘ins and outs’ of masturbation and sex toys,” the event description reads. “It covers self pleasure, basic anatomy, and the female response cycle. This workshop also provides a variety of examples of sex toys, along with a discussion of how to best clean the toys and reduce the transmission of STIs during play.”

    The workshop is put on by MHC’s Peer Health Educators and In*Touch, a sexual health education campus group “dedicated to providing accurate sexual health information and fostering an open and safe environment that breaks down stereotypes by reaching out to the diverse communities of Mount Holyoke College.”

    Peer Health Educators, MHC students who are trained to teach other students and community members about healthy living, are the instructors for the workshop.

    The workshops are requested and scheduled by MHC resident advisors (RA) and are offered on a per-dorm basis. Once a RA requests a workshop, the Peer Health Educators teach the entire dorm.

    “I'm all for sex education, but I feel like a college run workshop isn't really the place for that kind of education, because it's more about sexual pleasure than knowledge,” MHC sophomore Emma Bickford told Campus Reform. “And I think that that kind of...education...belongs in the private sphere, not a college-run class.”

    The workshops, which include lessons on female masturbation, the usage of dildos, sanitization methods, and dental dams, usually last around an hour and include “hands-on activities and usually lots of freebies,” according to Peer Health Educator and MHC student Delana Lopez.

    "I think it is extremely vital. And I think learning from your peers is a great way to learn sexual health information, because you’re not distracted from trying to block out the awkwardness that the person teaching is way older than you,” Lopez told Campus Reform in an interview. “You’re just having a conversation with your peers and are actually taking in the information, and it’s fun.”

    Lopez declined to give Campus Reform an exact dollar figure of how much one workshop costs the school but did say that the only costs were that of the “equipment” and “freebies” students can take away.

    Mount Holyoke College is one of the few colleges to host this kind of workshop, but isn’t the first. Emerson College and Middlebury College have both held similar workshops. Harvard University has recently begun to offer an anal sex workshop during its own “Sex Week” where a student organizer condemned critics of the event as “homophobic."

    MHC offers other workshops to students on sexually transmitted infections, contraception, and women’s health.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @y_mdbailey