Feb 072011
 

For those who do not know, many sex educators, myself included, were recently attacked in a post/report that claimed that our education on the Brown University campus was a direct correlation of the recent four new cases of HIV within the student population. It stated that people such as myself (a “sex toy representative”) did not have the education to provide sex ed to students, to handle the emotional side of things, etc (of course, they neglected to mention my Master’s in Human Sexuality Education, which provided me with exactly those aforementioned skills). It also insinuated that I was a prostitute, that other educators are connected with obscenity charges and that some educators are contributing to STI transmission by discussion topics such as polyamory (multiple loves) and anal sex, despite our conversations about barrier methods, testing, and intimacy without exchanging bodily fluids.

I have always had a strong commitment to educating individuals and groups about safer sex, including but not limited to STI prevention, pregnancy prevention, consensual activities and emotional safety. As I continue to educate people about the spectrum of sexuality, I will keep including discussions about safer sex practices (including barriers and transmission prevention) for people of all genders and orientations, and also continue my commitment to distribute dams and gloves in addition to the more traditional condoms and lube freebies often provided. Please read and re-post/forward/desseminate the below press release if you believe the positive aspects of sex education, and refuse to condone the slanderous accusations put forth towards us.

-Shanna Katz, M.Ed

For Immediate Release
Sexuality educators set the record straight: “Talking about sexuality does not increase sexually transmitted infections” despite what non-experts report.

Contact: ?Megan Andelloux
HiOhMegan@gmail.com
401-345-8685

Contact: Aida Manduley
Aida_manduley@brown.edu
787-233-0025

In yet another attempt to shut down access to quality sex education, South-Eastern New England conservative advocates hit the sex panic button in a multi-state, email and phone campaign to colleges all over New England last week.

On February 3rd and 4th , certified sexuality educator and sexologist Megan Andelloux (AASECT, ACS) received word that numerous colleges and university faculty received a document stating that colleges who brought sex educators such as Ms. Andelloux onto their campuses were linked to the increasing rate of transmission of HIV in RI. Furthermore, among other misleading “facts” that were “cited,” the author of this bulletin claimed that Brown University was facing an HIV crisis, which is false.

Citizens Against Trafficking, the face behind the fear-mongering, spammed numerous local institutions from a University of Rhode Island account with its latest malicious missive that targeted specific individuals as well as Brown University. The author of the letter, Margaret Brooks, an Economics Professor at Bridgewater State, suggested that colleges and universities that host sexuality speakers, including those who are professionally accredited, are partly to blame for the four new cases of HIV which have been diagnosed amongst RI college students this year.

Ms. Andelloux states: “My heart goes out to those students who have recently tested positive for HIV. However, there is no evidence of any link between campus presentations on sexual issues and the spike in HIV cases. Rather, I would suggest that this demonstrates a need for more high-quality sex education to college students.“ It is unclear why people at URI or Citizens Against Trafficking, a coalition to combat all forms of human trafficking, is attempting to stop adults from accessing sexual information from qualified, trained educators. What is certain however, is that this Professor of Economics miscalculated her suggestion that a correlation exists between increased HIV rates in Rhode Island and the type of sex education these speakers provided at Brown University: one that emphasized accurate information, risk-reduction, pleasure, and health.

Barrier methods have been shown by the CDC to reduce the transmission of HIV and other STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections). Research has shown that when individuals have access to medically accurate information, are aware of sexual risk reduction methods, and have access to learn about sexual health, the number of infections and transmission of STIs decreases, pain during sex decreases, and condom use increases. The CAT circulated bulletin is blatantly misleading about many issues, and often omits information that is crucial to understanding the full picture of sex education at Brown and in Rhode Island.

When individuals who do not hold any background in sexuality education speak out in opposition because of their fear or prejudice, society becomes rooted in outdated beliefs and pseudo-science that do injustice to people everywhere. Furthermore, when those individuals personally and publicly attack those devoted to providing sex education with false and misinformed accusations, it not only hurts those who are defamed, but also the community at large.

We ask for an immediate retraction of the vilifying and inaccurate statements made by Ms. Margaret Brooks and Citizens Against Trafficking in their latest newsletter. We also ask that esteemed local universities such as URI and Bridgewater State continue to hold their employees to ethical standards of normal scientific inquiry and require that their faculty hold some modicum of expertise in a field of education before raising the public level of panic over it.

Megan Andelloux is available to answer any questions the press, Margaret Brooks, University of Rhode Island or Citizens Against Trafficking holds. Aida Manduley, the Chair of Brown University’s Sexual Health Education and Empowerment Council and Brown University’s is available to discuss the upcoming Sex Week and sexuality workshops held at Brown University.

Signed,
Megan Andelloux, AASECT, ACS
Shanna Katz, M.Ed
Reid Mihalko
Aida Manduley

Mar 202010
 

Last week, I was lucky enough to be invited to Brown University for Sex Week 2010.  I put on four workshops/classes; Strap On 101, SexAbility; The Intersections between Sexuality and Disability, Making it Work Outside the Box; Relationships and Communication, and Feminist & Sex-Positive Pornography.  All in all, I reached a good number of students, had a lot of fun, got some great questions and statements, and had a blast.  Other exciting educators that I know and love who spoke/will be speaking include Oh Megan and Sarah Sloane.

I got back, and a day or two later, found this “article” or press release posted about “kinky sex at Brown University.” Yeah.  Out of all of the amazing and good things that are happening, they decided to take a decidedly sex-negative bent.  Goddess forbid college students, staff and faculty learn about sexual pleasure outside of “safer sex and sexual assault,” which were the only two things that this organization wanted people to learn about. Everything else should be kept in the privacy of dorm rooms (never mind that I answered one students question letting them know that it would be easy to start a porn company or at least webcam out of their dorm room…).

My luncheon on feminist/sex-positive pornography was amazing. We talked about ethics, about the problem with naming something “sex for women,” about what feminism looked like from a sexuality angle, and what sex-positive really meant. One of the best classes/lectures I’ve ever presented…and clearly, it is stirring up drama.

Good. It’s time we talked about why so many places only count safer sex and prevent sexual assault as their “comprehensive sexuality education.”  Sex and sexuality encompasses so much more than condoms and “just say no” and while these things are important, not providing education to discuss, nourish and represent other parts of sexuality and identites does all of our communities a huge service.

I’m actually quite proud that they are upset in their post. I only wish that they had linked here to get a little bit of my reasoning behind why I do what I do.  Congrats to Aida and the entire Sex Week at Brown for getting people to talk in a postive light about full spectrum sexuality

Mar 142010
 

What do you get when you cross myself, Oh Megan, Sarah Sloane and more? A plethora of fantabulous sex educators all coming together at Brown University for Sex Week 2010!  I’ll be speaking tomorrow and Tuesday, and the others throughout the week.

Interested in what I’ll be doing classes/workshops on? Want to come out and get some learnin’?

Monday, March 15th

Strap-On 101 w/ Shanna Katz

Time/Location: 12:00pm @ Sarah Doyle Women’s Center lounge (26 Benevolent St.)

Come learn all about the joys and pleasures of strapping it on. Who said harnesses were just for girl-on-girl action? In this workshop, we’ll discuss double-penetration, “pegging,” using harnesses for cuckolding, “femmecock,” and so much more! Ever wonder what the difference is between a g-string and a dual strap? We’ll cover that too! You’ll learn how to properly work a strap-on, contemplate a plethora of positions, and learn about the pros/cons of different types of toys. This class is open to singles, couples and moresomes of all sexes and genders. Never used a harness before? That’s fine – we’ll start with the basics. Plus, everyone will get to try on harnesses with toys to get a feel for the different styles, as well as figure out what works best for them.

SexAbility w/ Shanna Katz (and potentially Marlene Chait, a Brown Post-Doc Research Fellow whose doctoral dissertation is ‘An Exploratory Study About Women with Physical Disabilities: Survey of Their Views on Personal Assistance Services (PAS), Sexuality Education, and Sexual Expression’)

Time/Location: 5:30pm @ Salomon 202

People of all ability levels are sexual beings. Sex is hard enough to navigate and negotiate when one fits in with society’s notions of what a sexual being is, but once you add in the concept of ability, it can become quite challenge. This workshop is discussion-based, and covers issues such as coming out to your partner(s), how to discuss ability levels, new things to try, correct terminology, negotiating sex play (including kink/BDSM play), and much more. Participants are encouraged to share suggestions, trade ideas, etc. Great for people of all ability levels (and their partners) who want to recognize themselves as sexual beings. This workshop hopes to challenge people’s viewpoints, foster discussion and conversation, and open doors towards a shift in the social constructions surrounding sexuality and disability.

Make it Work Outside the Box: Relationship-Mapping & Communication w/ Shanna Katz

Time/Location: 8:30pm @ List 120 (64 College St.)

Description: Communication is key, but how DO we communicate? More importantly, how does communication change (or not) once we break the boundaries of what are considered “traditional relationships”? In this workshop we’ll talk about the different styles of communication, the languages of love, types of non-verbal communication, why communcation is so important, and how to adapt all of this for kinky AND vanilla relationships. We’ll gain an understanding about the basic types of relationships that people have in their lives, how we can map them, patterns to look for, and what we can get out of these maps. Finally, we’ll talk about polyamory/non-monogamy – its various facets, how to get into it, and most importantly, how we can make it work when there are more than two people involved. Bring paper, pen, and an open mind. We will be raffling off two Tantus toys at this event, so make sure you arrive early and get a seat!

Tuesday, March 16th

Feminist Pornography (Out For Lunch) w/ Shanna Katz

Time/Location: 12:00pm @ LGBTQ Resource Center (3rd floor Hillel, at 80 Angell St.)

Are you one of those who has wondered exactly what it is that makes porn “feminist” or “sex positive?” Join us as we talk about definitions of pornography and obscenity, and how sexual pleasure can be recording in a feminist and sex positive way. We’ll discuss current companies who identify as sex positive, and what separates them (or not!) from current, mainstream pornographic productions. By the end of this talk, everyone will still have formed different opinons, but will be more educated as to what this sex positive porn movement is.