Colleges celebrate Valentine's Day with 'Sex in the Dark'

In light of COVID-19, colleges in multiple states are hosting sexual health virtual Q&A sessions.

Boston University is leading the effort with a "Sex in the Dark" facilitators' guide for other colleges.

BU’s guide works to create a more “sex-positive campus culture,” by allowing students to ask "Sexperts" their deepest questions while remaining anonymous.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, colleges across the country announced “Sex in the Dark” virtual events, which are question and answer sessions hosted by sexual health experts.

Boston University introduced the first event of its kind in 2013. It now offers a facilitators’ guide entitled “A Glow-in-the-Dark Sexpert Panel.” The 16-page guide is designed to help other schools host their own “Sex in the Dark” events. 

The guide was compiled by two BU communications graduate assistants. 

The goal of the activity, the guide says, is to “foster a sex-positive campus culture by: providing student-friendly and medically-accurate health information; role playing enthusiastic consent; and promoting campus- and community-based resources.” 

”Sex in the Dark” events have increased in popularity over the years. This year is no different, although, in 2021, universities will host the events in a virtual format. 

North Carolina A&T State University

A&T hosted its first “Sex in the Dark” event in 2020. The event took place in the Student Center Ballroom and, instead of lighting, participants used glowing balloons and LED lights while keeping the room dark. In 2021, the Student University Activities Board passed out glow sticks and “safe sex kits,” courtesy of the Student Health Center. 

The event took place over Zoom on February 8 and, as Speaker’s Chair for the Student University Activities Board Jasmine Wilson told the student newspaper, “I brought this event back because I think it’s so important for college students to be educated on sex outside of just a health and contraceptive context. Most college students are having sex for pleasure, and there should be spaces where we can ask questions about that.”   

Towson University

Towson University in Maryland hosted its “Sex in the Dark” event on February 11. The university’s website promoted the event, saying “stay anonymous in this lights-off virtual event while professional sexperts answer your deepest, darkest questions. No question is too simple, or too outrageous!” 

The university encouraged students to pick up glow necklaces and “safer sex supplies” from the TU Health Center prior to the event. It also teased “sexy prizes” for students attending the webinar.

The free event for Towson students was co-sponsored by the school’s Health Center, Sexual Health Awareness Group, Sexual Assault Peer Educators, the Center for Student Diversity, Office of Student Activities, and the Sexual Harassment and Assault Prevention Education committee.

Binghamton University

The Real Education About College Health (REACH) program at Binghamton University in New York advertised its “Sexapalooza: Sex in the Dark” event, which will take place February 13 in both a virtual setting and in person. Up to 40 people will be allowed to attend the event in-person due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

“Students stay anonymous in this Q&A event, while our professionals answer their deepest, darkest questions,” the website states.

BU College Republicans President Jon Lizak told Campus Reform, “I think this is disgusting, I’m very skeptical about the intentions behind this and I don’t think that it is truly about safety and sexual health.” 

He also pointed out that the poster has “Hottest Q&A on Campus” in big bold letters, but does not actually mention sexual health.  

Vanderbilt University: 

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. at Vanderbilt University in Nashville will be host the school’s “Sex in the Dark” event via Zoom on March 2. 

“People anonymously submit sex questions via a Google Form, and we’ll have sex experts come and answer the questions,” the school’s website states. 

Questions will be answered by representatives of the Vanderbilt University Center for Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response’s Project Safe; the Women’s Center, which works to create “an affirming space for women and for all members of the Vanderbilt community that actively resists sexism and all forms of oppression;” and the KC Potter Center, which houses the university’s Center for LGBTQ Life.

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