Learn about safe, healthy, consensual sex at Sexpo

Dean Vaglia, Staff Reporter

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Were you taught safe sexual practices? Do you know how to ask for consent? Are you up to date on your sexually transmitted disease (STD) vaccines? The answers to these and more can be found at Sexpo.

Sexpo—short for “sex expo”—is an event put on by the Student Program Board (SPB) that aims to teach Oakland students about safe, healthy and consensual sexual practices. Held on Tuesday, Feb. 12 in the Oakland Center Ballroom B, Sexpo is supported by the Graham Health Center (GHC) and Oakland County Health Department (OCHD).

The event will start at 5 p.m. with a presentation from Planned Parenthood, after which visitors will be able to go from table to table to learn about safe and healthy sexual practices until 7 p.m.

“I think [Sexpo] is important—especially for students that have not had the right sex education in high school—for new and incoming students to let them know that this is what is happening, these are the resources that we have on campus for any sex related questions you might have,” said Flavio Di Stefano, SPB diversity director.

The GHC and OCHD will be providing free and confidential chlamydia and gonorrhea testing, as well as providing information on contraceptives and the HPV vaccine, according to GHC Director Nancy Jansen.

“It is critical at this age that students prevent STDs,” she said. “Nationwide, STDs are on the increase and that’s true even locally in Oakland County and true here on campus. In the county, there [were] over 4,000 cases of chlamydia last year and over 1,000 cases of gonorrhea, and these numbers continue to grow.”

The GHC provides the information and services that will be at Sexpo on a daily basis. Other daily services include administering the HPV vaccine (among other vaccines), HIV/STD testing, regular and emergency contraceptives, and condoms.

Along with STD prevention, Jansen stresses the importance of avoiding unplanned pregnancies.

“It is devastating for a woman’s education to have an unplanned pregnancy,” Jansen said. “It can really derail her plans to graduate. Even if she does continue with her education or chooses to terminate, you still do not want to go down that road.”

Jansen also would like to make it known that the Sexpo is not a promotion of sex, but a promotion of healthy relationships and sexual practices.

To anyone who believes they know enough about sex or is not sexually active and will not go, Di Stefano still believes they should attend the Sexpo.

“Yes, we are going to talk about sex, we are going to talk about consent, we are going to talk about sexual harassment…,” he said. “You should not feel uncomfortable or attacked coming to Sexpo because whatever question, concern or feeling you have, I am sure there is going to be people there who will listen to you and answer your questions. All of us are going to keep it a professional matter, despite the topic being a big topic, especially in our age.”