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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Sex Out Loud: Lessons in safety

Sex. It's everywhere. It's on TV, in the movies and in students' lives. Sex Out Loud is here to ensure that if sex is in a student's life, he or she is making educated decisions about it. 

 

 

 

Sex Out Loud is a student organization committed to promoting safe and healthy sexual living on the UW-Madison campus. The organization runs programs throughout the year designed to spark discussion among students about sexual behavior, sexually transmitted infections and interpersonal relationships in an effort to educate and promote healthier sexual habits in the community. This program creates an open forum for comfortable discussion about sexual activity while also acting as an education base. 

 

 

 

'The purpose of Sex Out Loud is to promote safe, healthy and fun sex for students,' said Dan Barnett, Sex Out Loud program facilitator. 

 

 

 

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The main focus of Sex Out Loud is the four programs it runs throughout the year  

 

 

 

on practicing safe sex, relationships, sexual pleasure and HIV/AIDS. They typically present these programs to groups in residence halls, sororities and fraternities upon request, but also do special programs such as yesterday's Safer Sex program, which was part of LBGT Coming Out Week. The programs generally begin with an activity that leads into a discussion. 

 

 

 

'We more or less facilitate a discussion. We try not to lecture,' said Meghan Benson, program coordinator. 

 

 

 

Sex Out Loud is unique because the organization realizes that many students are sexually active, and it wants to provide an outlet for discussion on how to stay safe and promote a healthy sexual lifestyle, according to Barnett. 

 

 

 

'We acknowledge and respect abstinence but we don't preach it,' Barnett said. 'We know that students are having sex and we want to provide these students with the resources and information they need to make good decisions.' 

 

 

 

The program started in the 1980s during the AIDS crisis as part of the AIDS Network, but it has been an independent student organization at UW-Madison since 1997. There are eight student employees, a faculty adviser from University Health Services and approximately 60 volunteers that work to make Sex Out Loud a success. 

 

 

 

The organization uses its student foundation to better relate to its audience. 

 

 

 

'Being a student-run organization and dealing with students gives us the advantage of being able to relate to the students and the questions and concerns they have,' said Paula Cody, event coordinator. 

 

 

 

The organization's main goal is to help people understand their own sexuality and be in control of it, according to Benson. 

 

 

 

Aside from the four main programs that Sex Out Loud facilitates throughout the year, they also sponsor two major campus-wide events. The first is World AIDS Day in December which kicks off a week of events to bring AIDS/HIV awareness to the campus and the community. In the spring, they will sponsor Sexual Health Day.  

 

 

 

'[Sexual Health Day] is an educational celebration to raise awareness of the components of sexual health, encouraging safe sex and healthy decision making,' Cody said.  

 

 

 

The organization is also regularly available to students as a resource. They provide free contraceptives and safe sex advice among other things to students at their office Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 122 State St., Suite 608.

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