A seemingly shy freshman male in the back corner of the room who had otherwise been quiet for a majority of the hour slyly raised his hand during open questions and asked, “What would happen if you cum in a person’s ear?” Needless to say I was not ready for this type of question in front of a group of 20 to 30 freshmen during my first public workshop as a sexual health educator. The hours of training I put in, the multiple times I practiced this specific workshop in the mirror, the repetition of the questions I expected to be asked and my simulated answers; nothing but experience and a little humor could have prepared me for this inquiry. This question proved to be the beginning point of an endless range of sexual topics that I have heard over the three years of workshops in the Sexual Health Education Program (SHEP).
It seemed to just be rough luck that I get a question like this seemingly unanswerable and extremely difficult question to face with a truthful and respectful answer in my first workshop. Workshops themselves can be anywhere from extremely exciting to quite interesting experiences. If I had to sum up the faces found in workshops they would be those blushing, those of shock and awe, those giggling, and sometimes even a look of relief can cross an on-looker’s expression. Needless to say, each workshop is an adventure and a learning experience for the presenter, audience looking for general information and those trying to find specific answers.
Workshops have different audiences depending on who request them but they range from private groups on campus to frats to dorms and everything in between. All these audiences have one thing in common, a passion to learn about sex and/or relationships for at least the next thirty minutes. SHEP serves as a source to bring these people of common interest into a room for a matter of minutes and teach general sexual topics and answer specific questions. For many, workshops are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to speak openly about sex with peers without being judged or disrespected. For myself and other SHEP members, we have the distinct joy of making workshops a constant pleasure in our life.