*Content Warning: This article discusses topics surrounding sexual violence.
The sex-positive movement was started as a socio-political shift that promoted and uplifted sex as a natural and less-stigmatized topic, according to CHAARG. It also encourages healthy conversations around body positivity and sexuality. At the education level, sex positivity encourages safe sex education covering important topics such as consent, contraceptives, pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, signs of sexual and domestic violence and more. While this is mainly done at the middle and high school levels, it is important to keep up with safe sex dialogues, resources, and more at the college level. Listed below are 4 sex-positive outlets at Cal Poly.
A confidential resource for students, Safer is a part of Campus Health and Well-Being on Cal Poly’s campus. Safer’s purpose is to address gender- and power-based violence such as sexual assault, intimate partner violence, domestic violence, stalking and sexual exploitation and harassment, according to their website. Safer’s support for students is completely confidential, meaning that there is no mandated reporting. Safer’s Advocacy Staff works to support survivors and offers this confidential crisis support. They also have Prevention Education Staff that works with the community on education and resources to promote accountability and decrease sexual violence on college campuses. Recently, Safer has held events and dialogues such as Take Back the Night in the University Union for survivor solidarity. You can keep up with Safer and their events here.
Also a part of Cal Poly’s Campus Health and Well-Being, PULSE, which stands for Peer Understanding, Listening, Supporting and Educating, is student-run and works to empower students in healthy lifestyles for mental health, food insecurity and sex-positivity, according to their website. PULSE’s Let’s Talk Sex program holds quarterly workshops for all students. Run by the Educational Resources On Sexuality (EROS) team, this program covers topics such as safe sex practices and STI education. The Love Carefully program is also run by PULSE and is an annual event during Winter quarter for Valentine’s Day. This consists of dialogues surrounding healthy relationships, especially for college students. You can keep up with PULSE and its resources here.
3. Cal Polyamorous
This sex-positive podcast was started by two Cal Poly students, Miki and Sam, as they help fellow college students navigate hookup culture and dating. On their podcast, Cal Polyamorous discusses topics such as navigating online dating, Greek life, and more sex-positive stories and dialogues. They also have an open forum where students can share their own stories, with the option to remain anonymous as well. Cal Polyamours also provides resources such as Safer and Rise, which advocate for and support survivors. You can listen to the podcast here and keep up with them on social media.
4. SLO survivors
An anonymous outlet for students, SLO Survivors was started by Cal Poly students with a mission to bring awareness to the prevalence of sexual assaults that take place on college campuses. SLO Survivors puts the safety and confidentiality of survivors first, allowing for anonymous submissions of experiences of sexual assault and harassment on the survivor’s time and in in their terms, according to their Instagram. They take these experiences and upload them into a database that is open to the public and aims to bring awareness to re-occurring instances of sexual assault among students, as well as to give a voice to survivors. SLO Survivors also share these stories on their Instagram and cover important topics such as understanding signs of roofies, stalking, drugs and alcohol and more.
Sex-Positive outlets, resources, and dialogues are incredibly important when it comes to the college dating scene, especially with sexual assault prevalence and safe sex education. When the topic of sex is seen as taboo, it only propels problems like sexual assault, inter-partner violence, and sexually transmitted diseases even more.
Especially for young women, sex positivity can be incredibly empowering. It breaks the stigma that women should not talk about sex in a public manner or be as explicit when talking about sex as society has allowed men to do for decades. Sex positivity also empowers the LGBTQIA+ community with dialogues pertaining to sexuality as well as resources and safe sex education for sexual partners across all sexualities.