Beaver's Digest Vol. 7 Issue 3 | May. 17, 2022

Page 1

SPRING 2022

LET'S TALK ABOUT SEX

THE F*CKING ISSUE


LETTER FROM

THE EDITORS Sex—it’s an important topic to me in many ways, but this term’s theme didn’t just suddenly come to me in some type of symbolic, all-revealing dream; I have my 10-year-old sister to credit. Here, allow me to explain. My little sister Sadie had just gone to the doctor for a check-up and her physician had told her she was in stage two of development. Sadie was embarrassed to be talking about her changing body. It made me reflect on my own journey through puberty as a young girl. I remember starting my period and my dad crying. I remember wearing a swimsuit for the first time since growing armpit hair and my younger sister making a spectacle of it in front of everyone. Not to mention, I never had the sex talk with my parents. I was embarrassed and afraid of my own body because everyone made puberty out to be such a scary thing. I would never wish that on my sister. Our bodies are not scary or embarrassing, they are natural and unique. Sadie said to me, “I don’t like learning about boys and girls and their bodies and what they do together.” “You mean, sex?” I asked—she frowned and nodded. Of course I HAD to know what she was being taught. Apparently she had learned about all bodies, sex, different types of birth control and forms sexual assault, consent, STDs and STIs, and even how authority figures can use their power as a form of pressure (oddly specific but incredibly important). I’m not going to lie, I was pleasantly surprised at how much she had learned from her sex education. I was in such shock over the current curriculum because mine was rather scarce. For me, boys and girl were separated and I assume the boys learned about their bodies, masturbation and sex, while the girls mainly learned about training bras, their periods and how to handle them—commonly known as “feminine hygiene.” I didn’t learn about pregnancy and sexual assault until middle school, and STDs and STIs until high school. In fact, my middle school class was urged to sign a contract vowing to remain abstinent until marriage. I look back at my lacking sex education and distorted views of puberty growing up and wonder how that has affected how I view my own body and sex now. How many others out there have experienced stigmas around sex and their own bodies, or grew up thinking sex and puberty were hush-hush topics? Well, they shouldn’t be. I hope this issue is a helpful resource for sexual health, sex-positivity and sexual identity for our readers. There are so many important topics surrounding sex that I wish we had the capacity to include in this issue, but I urge all of you to create dialogue about sex in safe spaces in an effort to destigmatize such a natural and beautiful bodily function—and you can bet I did the same with Sadie. Thank you my sweet girl for not only inspiring such an important theme, but for also prompting me to reflect on my own experiences—and most importantly, for sparking this dialogue yourself.

If I'm being honest, when Jaycee told me the theme for Beaver's Digest this term would be about sex, I was excited, but a little cautious. Sex is a very broad yet important topic to people of all kinds of backgrounds, and relevant to college students. Giving a platform for people to speak on such a special thing to them requires a lot of accountability on our end for a topic many would consider to be “taboo”. Despite my initial concerns, "Lets Talk About Sex" is an issue we are proud of on the Beaver’s Digest team. I hope the articles featured in this magazine will help open the discussion on issues such as birth control, sexual repression and exploring self identity. It's a bit bittersweet writing what will probably be my last piece of content for OMN and Beaver's Digest. I go to OSUCascades, a school that seems like a satellite to the OSU campus in Corvallis. I reached out to the Daily Barometer when Jaycee was then editor-in-chief. I pitched a beat where I would write stories about the Cascades campus. Since then, I've done all my work remote—even for Beaver's Digest. Back in February I visited the Corvallis campus for our winter issue and I was taken aback by how big everything was. It made me realize what I missed out on. However, when I finally met the OMN and Beaver's Digest staff in person they made me feel I had been there all along. It was surreal actually seeing all these people in person when they were boxes in a Zoom meeting. I felt many conflicting emotions that night, but most of all a sense of pride for the team and the people I have worked with. What makes a memory special is that it can't be replicated. It's a specific moment in time that is given life within your mind. The finer details will fade away, however the way it made you feel stays with you. While my journey in student media is over, the memories I’ve made in these past few years will always have a special place in my heart. The Beaver's Digest team are all wonderful, creative and hardworking people and I wish them the best of luck. Finally, I want to give Jaycee a big shout out for being such an understanding coworker, a great friend, and being the first person at OMN to help give me a voice.

Best, Luke Reynolds, ASSISTANT EDITOR

Read my farewell letter on page 43.

Best, Jaycee Kalama EDITOR-IN-CHIEF COVER PHOTOGRAPHER: Jess Hume-Pantuso COVER ILLUSTRATION: April James


Being a part of making a magazine about sex was something I didn’t think I’d have to do in my life, but building this idea from the ground up makes me proud of what our team was able to do. We got to explore these different topics and avenues and give a platform to these things that might usually get brushed off. I think this is a great way to illuminate certain things people go through on a daily basis when others aren’t aware or might not think it’s important. I even got to contribute writing a story for this magazine after almost a year of just being an editor. I also got to do my first in-person interview for that story which really showed me more of the fun of journalism. Getting to understand all sorts of individuals to get a better sense of their identities and experiences is what we hoped to accomplish when putting this together. This project, along with our other magazines over the past year, was a pleasure to work on and edit. Emailing sources and proofreading stories is like tying a bow on a present after it’s done being wrapped. That’s also what being a copy editor in my last year at OSU feels like. I relish in kind of being the last line of defense when a story gets streamlined to me before it gets published. I’m glad I get to literally check off all the boxes and make sure a story is perfect for our readers to see. As funny as it sounds, I find myself editing things I read in my head now where it’s like second nature after being in this role for a while. It really is a bittersweet feeling putting together this magazine with our team like one last send-off for me to OMN and the university. Here’s to all the misplaced commas and Grammarly suggestions! I’m thankful for my fellow editors and other OMN staff for being a great support system throughout this school year. Having these wonderful individuals to work with allows me and the team as a whole to accomplish many things with all the possibilities. I would also like to thank my family and friends for all of their love and support and for believing in me to do my best. Being surrounded by the people in my life allows me to put in all my effort and really pursue the greatest endeavors. My experiences here at OMN are another thing I’m very grateful for where I’ve gotten many opportunities during my time to develop my skills. Whether it’s picking up a new issue or all the Monday meetings, those are just a few of the fond memories I’ll take with me from working in student media.

Best, Jeremiah Estrada, COPY EDITOR

Let me start off by saying that I am not a writer. I tend to joke around the office that English isn’t my thing and that writing is not my forte. But if anything makes sense with the year I’ve had at OMN, it’s that trying new things is always certain. As a designer my job centers around taking other people’s work and packaging it into something that is aesthetically pleasing and beautiful to look at. As I look back at this amazing year, I’m so grateful to all the opportunities I’ve had to help build Beaver’s Digest into the magazine it is today, especially in its visual sense. I owe BD a lot because the trajectory of my career and the experiences that I’ve had here at OSU have been shaped around the relationships and twists and turns I’ve come across over the last three years through this publication. When I first came to OMN, I joined as a tiny, shy freshman in the Marketing Cohort, assigned to work on social media for BD. I remember my first interactions with Alex Luther, the previous editor-in-chief. She had given me the opportunity to really jump into the ring, and test out new ideas like creating Instagram grids and marketing materials for the upcoming magazine releases. When the Creative Lead position opened up, Alex was the first one to push me to apply, and was one of my biggest supporters. Before I even entered this position, I promised her that my main mission was to elevate the overall look and feel of BD as a magazine. This promise turned into full fruition when I started working with Jaycee and Luke this year. I truly can’t thank them enough for allowing me to have full creative reign on all the publications, and for taking my crazy suggestions and running with them. I always think back to our first few meetings during the summer, for the Best of Beaver Nation magazine—maybe I was a little naive coming up with these elaborate plans. However, Jaycee and Luke fully trusted my vision and pushed me to continue to create and elevate the magazine. As the year ends, I’m so excited to continue working alongside all the amazing people on this team, and I look forward to starting a new journey with our incoming editor-in-chief, Sukhjot Sal. Lastly, I want to thank everyone who has supported me and joined me on this journey. More specifically, I want to thank Velyn Scarborough, our amazing creative advisor, for always believing in me and supporting all of my insane ideas. I also want to thank my amazing team of creatives for helping me produce such innovative design content for each spread. Another special thank you needs to go to all my wonderful coworkers at OMN (especially my work husband, Andres) who have made me enjoy this adventure every day, even when stress levels were at their highest. And last but not least, thank you to Beaver’s Digest. This magazine has truly changed my life for the better.

Best, Alan Nguyen, CREATIVE LEAD


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ROE V. WHAT?

what's at stake and the history behind women's reproductive rights in the u.s.

the pressure to lose your v-card

a mid-willamette transgender support network volunteer spotlight

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VIRGINITY

GENDER IDENTITY SERVICES, COMMUNITY AND INTIMACY

TA B L E

OF CONTENTS 12

SEX ON TV

18

23 20

29

26 STI: SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTION, OR STIGMA TOWARDS INFECTION?

how negative views on stis and stds are detrimental to sexual health efforts and impact emotional and mental health

36 HOW TO MAKE ROOM FOR SEXUAL HEALTH IN YOUR SPACE

RESOURCES FOR SEXUAL HEALTH IN CORVALLIS

UNDERSTANDING ASEXUALITY: 'SEX WAS APPARENTLY THE TALK OF THE TOWN AND I MISSED IT'

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IMPORTANCE OF SEX EDUCATION IN SCHOOLS how harmful myths about self pleasure repress sexual empowerment

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why younger generations are having less sex

DESTIGMATIZING MASTURBATION

THE MALE PILL

how could a new form of birth control impact relationship dynamics?

SEX SLUMP

40 38

FORUM: PERIOD SHAME, PUBERTY AND THE SEX TALK FOR GIRLS


MEET

T H E S TA F F

Jeremiah Estrada Alan Nguyen

creative lead & spread designer

copy editor

Jaycee Kalama

Luke Reynolds assistant editor

Jacob Le

photo chief

creative associate

April James

editor-in-chief

Chloe Jameson

Eva Siffert

creative associate

creative associate

H. Beck

writer

writer

writer

photographer

Ashton Bisner

Tarsa Weikert

writer & photographer

writer

Riley LeCocq writer

writer

Adia Wolters

Natalie Sharp Zeva Rosenbaum

Taylor Bacon

Colin Rickman

writer

writer

Jessica Li

Agrizha Puspita Sari

illustrator

Rafael Quero Juarez photographer

Shane Lynette

photographer

photographer

Olivia Metcalf

Matthew McKenna

photographer

photographer

Solomon L. Myers

Jess Hume-Pantuso

Cyan Perry

NOT PICTURED:

photographer


EDUCATION

WHAT’S AT STAKE AND THE HISTORY BEHIND WOMEN’S REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS IN THE U.S.

WRITER:

RILEY LECOCQ

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PHOTOGRAPHER:

JESS HUME-PANTUSO


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FOR SECOND-YEAR Oregon State University student Emma Gilmore, the idea of Roe v. Wade being overturned in the Supreme Court fills her with negative emotions and weighs on her heart. For OSU Associate Professor of women, gender and sexuality studies and Queer studies Qwo-Li Driskill, they are sad, afraid and angry. “The possible overturning of Roe v. Wade is an attack on bodily autonomy and reproductive freedoms for everyone and is part of larger moves to exert control over people based on gender, sexuality, race, disability, class and religion,” Driskill said. Roe v. Wade was the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision in which Norma McCorvey, also known as Jane Roe, filed a lawsuit against Dallas Texas’ county district attorney, Henry Wade, on the grounds that her constitutional right to privacy was violated when prevented from getting an abortion.

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The Supreme Court sided 7-2 majority with Roe in January of 1973. The court claimed that under the due process clause of privacy in the 14th amendment a women’s decision to have an abortion is between her and her doctor throughout the first trimester, roughly 24 weeks of pregnancy. This protection, however, is now in danger of being reversed after restrictive laws in both Texas and Mississippi have been enacted. Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women’s Health Organization is the most recent case the court is ruling on that has the power to either uphold Roe as it has been throughout many attempts to strike it down in conservative states, or overturn the decision and take away the federally-protected right to an abortion. This case fights the constitutionality of Mississippi state’s law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. “It is a lot of negative emotions thinking that somebody else’s viewpoints or

beliefs could control my own body and my own decisions and put someone into a situation similar to my mother who had a child at 18 [years old],” Gilmore said. On May 2, a draft decision of the Mississippi case was leaked by Politico revealing the plan to overturn Roe and side with the ban. This would mean that the decision is brought back to the states which would be allowed to dictate legality of an abortion prior to 24 weeks or the first trimester. “It's been a really difficult time and I think most women can say that,” said Merrill Steketee, a graduate student at OSU who attended a campus prochoice walkout protest on May 5— one of many activist events that have erupted in response to the leaked decision nationwide. During the walkout in which OSU students participated, many wore the color green to show support following the abortion rights movement symbol.


The use of green as a sign of supporting pro-choice was started in Argentina and Latin America as other countries have fought against restrictions. While Roe has withstood many cases attempting to strike it down, according to Driskill, this may be a tipping point to lead a cascading effect on civil rights. “That’s a draft, nothing finalized,” Gilmore said. “So basically, you can make change happen now. Obviously, if stuff were to be overturned people would be outraged, but right now is a time to be outraged.”

is

For Oregonians, there is an additional layer of protection for abortions similar to Roe. The Reproductive Health Equity Act signed in 2017 expanded abortion rights to all. Regardless of immigration status, the state law requires Oregon private health plans to cover the cost

with no out-of-pocket expenses. “I think it is important for people in Oregon that have more protective rights to stand up for women who have their rights at risk,” Steketee said. “Also, I like to try to encourage our male allies to get out because there has been a lot of silence about that so I think it is important that they finally start getting involved.” Gilmore fears, however, for loved ones and family members in other states who are not as fortunate and are likely to have their states tighten or ban abortions. Largely Midwest and Southern states have shown signs of revoking protections if Roe were overturned. For OSU students particularly, Driskill said they worry about the future of

the state’s protections if Roe were overturned and for the students who are not physically in Oregon. “I am thinking of our OSU Ecampus students who don’t live in Oregon but are still a part of our OSU and Oregon community who are already experiencing what [restricted rights] looks like,” Driskill said. While the final decision of the Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women's Health Organization case will be decided in the coming weeks, Driskill said that we should not be waiting for others to plan events to show disagreement or support. This case will largely decide the fate of abortion laws within the U.S. for years to come. “You should start protesting, voicing your opinion, posting things, educating people because it's a draft, nothing is final, so your voice and opinion do truly matter and now is the time to step in,” Gilmore said.

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IDENTITY

GENDER IDENTITY SERVICES, COMMUNITY

AND INTIMACY WRITER:

TARSA WEIKERT PHOTOGRAPHER:

MATTHEW MCKENNA

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A Mid-Willamette Transgender Support Network volunteer spotlight

THE MID-WILLAMETTE TRANSGENDER SUPPORT NETWORK is a nonprofit organization that provides services for people who are nonbinary, transgender, gender nonconforming and more. According to the TSN Facebook page, 1.7% of the population identifies as intersex and 1.5 million identify as transgender in the United States. These numbers are but a small representation of the diversity in how a person identifies. Bodie Brooks has been working as a volunteer coordinator with TSN for the past eight months. All individuals who work at TSN are unpaid volunteers who believe in the philosophy of the organization. One resource Brooks is proud of that TSN offers is their microgrant fund. “Folks can apply for help if they need rent support, surgeries, grocery assistance and other struggles,” Brooks said. “At the moment, we can provide up to $100 for a request, but often our resource dispatcher steps in and helps connect with further resources as well.” The services TSN provides are essential as the National Library of Medicine states that nonbinary and transgender individuals are considered gender minorities. Often, they receive inadequate access to services based on their gender identity. “Nonbinary persons often receive inadequate medical care or face discrimination,” the NLM website states. “Among gender-minority patients, 19% have been refused treatment on the basis of their gender identity.”

“When it isn’t the pandemic, we also host a clothing closet where people can come and swap clothes,” Brooks said. “This helps provide people with gender-affirming clothes that they often cannot afford.” In addition to services that help nonheteronormative individuals feel safe in their body and environment, TSN provides a great place to connect and create a community. “During the pandemic, I learned more about myself and my gender identity,” Brooks said. “I was able to find myself and get my answers in a safe environment and meet others like me.” Connection is hard to create and maintain, especially in a pandemic. For those seeking support, TSN is ready to embrace new faces with open arms. Brooks provides their independent thoughts about intimacy and connection outside of TSN. “When I look at intimacy, I look at it beyond just romantic intimacy, intimacy is a closeness with many others, whether it be your closest friend or romantic partner,” Brooks said. “I think that when I started to look more closely at my own gender, it made me look into other parts of myself as well. How I communicated with folks, my boundaries and so on.” Brooks began to explore communication and started becoming more intimate with their partner, friends and others. “This gave us a new closeness,” Brooks said. “When others start discovering themselves, often there is loneliness, especially for those such as youth who don’t have supportive parents.”

In addition to the services TSN offers, they aim to connect individuals with any resources they cannot provide so individuals can have a positive and safe experience whether it's receiving health care or paying rent. Networks like TSN reduce the chance of non gender conforming individuals being discriminated against.

Communication and community-building is essential to developing intimacy and supporting relationships. Brooks was able to experience community within the TSN organization.

The organization also provides three different support groups to individuals who may need some encouragement during their journey navigating their gender identity in the modern world.

“We are friends at the TSN, we make community partnerships that mean a lot to us, and we help out people who reach out and need us,” Brooks said.

Brooks believes that the TSN aims to connect people with community, help and lifelong friends.

Read more about local resources for sexual health on page 38.

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IDENTITY

“I ALWAYS EXPECTED [sex] to be something life changing, scary and awkward.”

the pressure to lose your v-card

A lot of people, including college students, whether they used to be a virgin or still are, can probably relate to this feeling described by an Oregon State University student who preferred to remain anonymous. We will refer to this student as Student A. Amanda Stevens, the sexual health coordinator for Student Health Services, acknowledges that with being on a college campus, some may feel the pressure or expectation to be sexually active for various reasons ranging from popular culture stereotypes to the people around them. “But know that if you decide to wait or abstain, for whatever your individual reasons are, you are not alone, and not everyone on OSU’s campus is sexually active,” Stevens said. Stevens mentions that in the 2020 National College Health Assessment at OSU, over 31% of undergraduate students who were surveyed reported never having been sexually active. This means that in an undergraduate population of approximately 25,000 students on our campus, there are approximately 8,000 undergraduate students who have never been sexually active.

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SOLOMON MYERS

PHOTOGRAPHER:

WRITER:

JESSICA LI

One of such 8,000 undergraduate students, who will be referred to as Student B, shares her personal belief of waiting until marriage. She upholds this value because her religion has taught her that waiting until marriage makes her holy, and she views herself as a child of God. “I am choosing to save my virginity because I respect my body and my sexuality,” Student B said. “My virginity is something I see as special and sacred.”

MODEL

As a virgin, Student B appreciates the closeness to God that she feels and is proud of the self control she has gained. Therefore, Student B avoids pre-marital sex in order to uphold her beliefs and morals.


However, with societal pressures, she also experiences the struggles of being a virgin when she is trying to find someone to date but they only want to sleep with her. To Student B, sex should never be treated as a commerce or a favor. Furthermore, she wishes that people wouldn’t judge her as naive just because she chooses to wait until marriage. In addition, Student B brings up the risks of being sexually active such as contracting STDs and getting pregnant. For Student B, a major concern is outof-marriage children being conceived, potentially leading to abortion or children being raised by a single parent if the other does not commit. Student B said she is waiting until marriage because marriage comes with a contract, which makes it more likely that both parents will raise their children together. Yet, on the other side of the spectrum, there are also those who choose to lose their virginity before marriage. Student A is one such person. Returning to his story from earlier, reality was quite different from his expectations. Initially, he wasn’t even intending to lose his virginity but decided that it was right for him in the moment. He admits that he had done sexual things before then, but he wanted to save his virginity for someone he truly loved, as he put it on a different level than everything he had done prior. Thinking back, it was kind of an impulsive decision for him, but he went with it because he liked the girl and was curious about sex. Moreover, it wasn’t nearly as awkward as he had expected. It ended up feeling a lot more natural, the nerves went away and most importantly, the communication between him and the girl made his first time go more smoothly. But there was more to losing his virginity than he would have thought.

“I think that losing my virginity had a lot of meaning in ways that I wasn't really expecting,” Student A said. “I ended up getting into a relationship shortly after with the girl that I lost it to, and it opened up a new level of intimacy and emotional maturity for me. I felt like after showing each other a more vulnerable side of ourselves that I was more in tune with my partner as opposed to the people that I had been intimate with before.” Student A compares his experience to the kind of connection people have when they open up to each other and have an incredibly deep conversation, learning new things about each other in the process that they wouldn’t have known otherwise. Of course, the decision and timing of losing one’s virginity can be different for everyone, and Student A suggests listening to your heart and only taking that step when you are ready and have found someone that you trust. “It can also be very easy sometimes to get emotionally attached to someone after having sex with them, especially after the first time, so although I would encourage you not to be nervous about regretting it, I would also encourage you not to rush into things,” Student A said. “It is much better, especially for your first time, to find someone who really cares about you, your desires and your feelings. I also think that it takes time to find someone who feels that way about you.” Student A also adds that not everyone is going to be experts at having sex their first time because it does take practice, and both partners should be understanding of that. He highly emphasizes consent and communication for the comfort of both parties involved.

Likewise, Stevens offers similar advice as Student A. “Take your time and don’t feel pressured to move faster than you’re ready to or take steps that you aren’t comfortable with,” Stevens said. “Make sure that you are prepared to have conversations around consent, contraception, barrier methods and so much more. You also need to make sure that you feel confident in your ability to properly and effectively use safer sex supplies, as well as seek resources and services such as STI testing, contraception counseling, wellness exams and more.” Stevens recommends students use services on campus to easily access sex education, including events; academic courses; online materials from SHS; SHS’s Birds and the Beavs workshops, which are facilitated by the SHS Prevention and Wellness team and educates participants on consent and safer sex through inclusive activities and discussion and free safer sex supplies through the Safer Sex Spots or Dam Delivery program. “While the idea of virginity and purity culture is complex and nuanced, and can be harmful and problematic in lots of ways, deciding when to become sexually active is a very important decision for your physical, mental and emotional health,” Stevens said.


RESOURCES

“MALE PILLS” ARE newly developed contraceptives that may become a modern form of birth control for men.

Stevens explains that contraceptive use is an extremely personal decision and every person’s experience is going to be different.

Traditionally, women have had various options for birth control, from pills to intrauterine devices. Because of this, women face the majority of the responsibility to avoid pregnancy. The “male pill” could become an alternative way for couples to share the responsibility of using birth control.

The benefits and drawbacks are also going to be very different for every person. One important thing to remember is that hormonal contraception does not protect against STIs, so if you are sexually active, you should continue utilizing a barrier method such as an external condom or dental dam.

For single sexually active men, a male birth control pill could be an extra layer of protection when used with condoms. According to Amanda Stevens, the sexual health coordinator of Student Health Services at Oregon State University, there have been many trials and attempts at male contraceptive methods. The most recent male hormonal contraception pill has just finished testing in rats and is going to begin trials in humans at some point soon. These types of contraceptives are still in the very early stages and have many rounds of testing and approvals before they may be available to the general public. “If new methods of contraceptives are approved and released to the general population, I think the more methods of contraception that are available, the better,” Stevens said. “The more options that are available, the more opportunity someone has to decide what methods best fit their life and their needs.”

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Grace Ireland, a third-year transfer student studying design and innovative management at OSU, thinks male contraceptives are a brilliant idea. In her opinion, it makes sense because women can only get pregnant every nine months. Men can have as many children as they want in a nine-month span. She thinks it also levels the playing field in relationships. This could lead to contraceptives becoming more of a collaborative aspect in a relationship, instead of a women's issue. “Personally I see the male pills as an opportunity to make relationships more cohesive,” Ireland said. “The burden always falls on the partner with a womb, why not change that? There’s even many ways to approach it. A lot of the discourse I’ve seen on the subject has men absolutely rejecting the idea and I just wonder why. If a pill is causing your partner strife from the side effects and you have the opportunity to take it yourself but suffer little to no side effects, what’s stopping you?”


Ireland said she feels very safe and respected in her relationship—she and her boyfriend take great care of each other and are constantly communicating. According to Ireland, it gives her a great sense of trust in his presence. “A safe relationship to me means trust and communication. Without those aspects there’s less of a solid structure for safety,” Ireland said. According to Stevens, a “safe” relationship can mean very different things for different people. It’s important to understand and know what you need in a relationship, and to find someone who respects those needs and works to meet them. In the same way, it is important for you to respect and value their needs. Communication is vital to any close relationship, romantic or otherwise.

“We try to know what each other’s triggers are, and how to make the other person feel most comfortable,” Kemper said. “This is most important during arguments or discussions. [My girlfriend and I] have been in past relationships that we are trying to grow from and put behind us.” Kemper believes that as the male in a relationship, neither partner should feel pressured to have sex at any point, regardless of what they’ve done before, together or apart. “We are very in-tune with each other, and our number one priority is consent,” Kemper said. “If one person doesn’t want to have sex, then that’s okay! And it’s about doing what’s best for our sexual health. Most of this is accomplished by communicating openly about our wants and needs.” According to Kemper, he was very close with his older sister growing up and all of his girlfriends have been on birth control, so he is aware of the side effects of taking birth control pills on women.

“A safe relationship in college is going to look very different for different people,” Stevens said. “Having conversations around what you and your partner(s) and friends value and need to feel safe and supported can help make sure everyone’s needs are met.” Stevens explained how contraception methods affect people in different ways. “Contraceptive use has very different impacts from person to person, so this answer is not the same for every person or every relationship,” Stevens said. “There are also a variety of types of ‘contraception’, all of which have different impacts from person to person. Working with your physician can help figure out what methods may be best for you.” Alexander Kemper, a fifth-year student studying Spanish at OSU, said that a safe relationship means that there is communication, transparency, loyalty and margin for error, adding that we are all trying to grow and heal, and we need the space to do so.

Kemper said he’s unsure if a male contraceptive would be safer and that he will have to read more research, but he is sure that it would be more effective. “Women can only get pregnant once every year and a half or so, and men can impregnate a woman every day. The math is simple.” “I think that a safe relationship means that I feel comfortable being open with my partner and that I trust them,” said Kayleana Green, a third-year student studying biochemistry and molecular biology at OSU.

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Green thinks contraceptives are actually very useful in her relationship. They make her feel safe and decrease fears or worries of unwanted pregnancy—“This is because I have found a contraceptive that works for me. I tried multiple types in the past and it's definitely a journey finding one that aligns with your body and your needs.”

IUD was painful to implant. Therefore, once it expires I might ask my partner about male contraceptives.”

Green said she would want to know more about the effectiveness and the side effects of a male contraceptive pill. Specifically, she would want to make sure it would not affect the sex drive of her partner or have long-lasting effects on reproductive health.

Archer said that he is aware of the side effects and how birth control can negatively affect women.

“I think I would be pushier on the subject if I had issues with my current birth control,” Green said. “However, I think a lot of women who have not

“I think it is important to have this open communication with new partners about current birth control usage, as well as the use of contraceptives and any history of STIs. Getting tested regularly is important for oneself and your partner's long-term history,” Archer said, giving his view as a single man. According to Archer, he does not have much knowledge on the male pill itself, so he does not know the side effects or how it would essentially work, i.e. stopping sperm production, etc.

found the right type of birth control would be thankful for this new technology. I thought the

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Austin Archer, a sociology student at OSU, said a safe relationship involves mutual trust and respect for each other, with open communication on a variety of topics.

“I would be open to trying a form of male birth control if [I were] in a relationship where one is not in a position to have children for whatever means, then it may be a good decision to both be on forms of birth control to eliminate this from occurring,” Archer said.


As the woman in her relationship, Ireland shared how having a contraceptive in her body influences her relationship satisfaction. That she is more than satisfied with her relationship. She has been on contraceptives for five years so, at this point, she is able to accept and live with it—“I will say that a lot of the side effects do affect my mental state and personal satisfaction. That being said, as far as my relationship goes, it’s perfect for me.” Ireland thinks male contraception pills will be very exciting, especially if what she has read is true about there being little to no side effects. If she didn’t have to take a pill and neither partner had to experience negative side effects, she said it would be amazing. “I’m very excited by the idea because it offers the same protection. I’m most curious about how it would affect the male body and if they would suffer any of the same cons,” Ireland said.

WRITER:

AGRIZHA PUSPITA SARI PHOTOGRAPHER:

SHANE LYNETTE

empathy is the most important thing. He urges men to empathize with all the women who have been on birth control for years and had terrible side effects. “I’m sure the first male birth control will be more advanced than the first female birth control,” Kemper said. “We should all consider it and give it a chance.”

Kemper said he would recommend that other couples experiment with the ‘male pill.’ “I’ve already told people about this interview and I think that it’s great that modern technology is finally paying off,” Kemper said, adding that in the world of equality,

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RESOURCES SEX, ONE OF THE great “taboo” topics. For so long, sex and sexuality were hush-hush and not to be spoken of in polite company. But lately, society has become so much more open and accepting of this thing that, in some way, affects everyone. With acceptance comes media and maybe that media helps drive acceptance and conversation as well. These TV shows talk about sex, a lot, and we love that. FLEABAG Created, written and starred-in by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, this irreverent, Golden-Globe winning comedy deals with heavy topics like sex addiction, death, toxic relationships and genuine love over the course of 12 episodes. The bittersweet ending is sure to leave viewers both satisfied and longing for more. “Fleabag” is available to stream on Amazon Prime. SEX EDUCATION This articulate British comedy series follows Otis, the son of an acclaimed sex therapist, as he learns to overcome his own sexual holdups and begins providing his own sex therapy services to the students at his school. Between all the hijinks and chaos, this show deals with a ton of important topics like sexuality, abortion, trauma and of course, sex. “Sex Education” is available to stream on Netflix. YOU’RE THE WORST This romantic comedy series follows self-destructive narcissist Jimmy and stubborn cynic Gretchen, both of whom have no interest in a relationship… until they end up falling for each other. This story shows how a one-night-stand can turn into the love of your life, even if it is a little toxic along the way. “You’re the Worst” is available to stream on Hulu. MASTERS OF SEX This show follows William Masters, a brilliant but detached scientist, and Virginia Johnson, a divorcee and mother determined to have a successful career. The unlikely pair go from being invisible to being on the cover of Time magazine and, along the way, their relationship evolves from strictly professional into a three-way “marriage” with Masters’ wife, Libby. “Masters of Sex” is based on Thomas Maier’s book of the same name. “Masters of Sex” is available for purchase on Amazon, Apple TV, Vudu and more.

WRITER:

ZEVA ROSENBAUM

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Photos courtesy of: Amazon (Catastrophe, Fleabag), FX Networks (You’re The Worst), HBO (Sex And The City), Hulu (Normal People), Netflix (Sex Education, The Ultimatum: Marry Or Move On), Showtime (The Affair, Californication, Masters Of Sex)

NORMAL PEOPLE Based on Sally Rooney’s novel, “Normal People”, is a love story about the complicated reality of intimacy and the way one person can change your life unexpectedly. This show follows Marianne and Connell over the course of multiple years as their relationship becomes an on-and-off romance. “Normal People” is available to stream on Hulu. CATASTROPHE A one-week stand between an American man and a British woman ends in an accidental pregnancy, leading to Rob moving to the U.K. to figure things out. Chaos ensues as the pair’s cultures clash and they’re forced to rapidly learn everything about each other. “Catastrophe” is available to stream on Amazon Prime. THE ULTIMATUM “The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On” is Netflix’s latest trashy reality dating series — and wow is it chaotic. The show brings together six couples in which one partner has given the other an ultimatum: get engaged or get out. Over eight weeks, each of these people must choose a new partner from a different couple and see if their new arrangement drives them closer to their original love or wrecks the relationship completely. “The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On” is available to stream on Netflix. THE AFFAIR The Affair delves into the complex emotions of an extramarital relationship. Noah, a schoolteacher and wannabe novelist with a wife and four children, finds himself entangled with Alison, a waitress and wife trying to pick herself back up after a tragedy. “The Affair” is available to stream on Showtime. SEX AND THE CITY “Sex and the City” follows a New York writer and her friends through their tumultuous relationships, single life, sex and friendship as women in their 30s. This series is based on the book by Candace Bushnell. “Sex and the City” is available to stream on HBO Max. CALIFORNICATION Washed up novelist Hank Moody has lost himself seeking pleasures in L.A. His personal life is a disaster, and he makes terrible choices in just about every area of his life in this salacious dramedy. “Californication” is available to stream on Showtime.

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EDUCATION

WHY YOUNGER GENERATIONS

ARE HAVING LESS SEX

WRITER:

ADIA WOLTERS PHOTOGRAPHER:

JESS HUME-PANTUSO

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IN 2007, 38% of young adults participated in casual sex, while in 2017 the numbers dropped to 24%. What is causing this decline? A study done by researchers from Rutgers University and the University at Albany presents a variety of cultural and societal aspects that contribute to these trends, highlighted by Insider. Historically speaking, sex and sexuality were not concepts openly talked about, according to Robert Nye, Emeritus Horning Professor of the Humanities and Professor Emeritus of History at Oregon State University. Nye was also the editor of the Oxford University Press 1999 book “Sexuality.” “Speaking, writing, talking and representing sexuality has been, from earliest times, limited to the rich and the elites,” Nye said. Nye noted that religion and traditional moralities were some reasons why it was forbidden from openly discussing sexuality, as censorship played a significant role in society. Nye said that today, while less enforced, censorship still exists. According to Nye, sexuality was a concept heightened by the patriarchy. Nye said, “A man who could control his wife’s sexuality and his children’s sexuality had a better chance of passing on his land and wealth to legitimate heirs.” He added, “Illegitimacy, adultery or other deviations from sexual norms threatened male power and authority.” In terms of when these ideas began to change, Nye said, “It was not until the 18th century, and then only among the most enlightened parts of the population, that some concessions to pre-marital sex, same-sex relations and gender non-conformity were tolerated.” He added, “States generally strictly enforced anti-sodomy laws, punished pre-marital sex, and regulated all aspects of public sexuality.” Movements such as women’s suffrage and LGBTQ+ liberation helped to spark a greater openness of sexuality and has allowed it to be more openly talked about in society, according to Teresa Ashford, instructor in Human Development and Family Sciences at OSU. “Women’s sexuality was especially impacted by women’s work advocating for access to better reproductive health care,” Ashford said. “With this, we saw more women entering into higher education and consequently the workforce. This shift allowed women greater access to choose their own life paths. We also began to observe a shift in the interpersonal

relationships between genders. Sexual pleasure is now considered something women are equally entitled to.” In terms of LGBTQ+ rights, Ashford noted that the events of the Stonewall riots of 1969 pushed forward activism for the community. As LGBTQ+ movements continued and samesex marriage was legalized in the United States in 2015, there became larger discussions on what sexuality means to society and how it is accepted. These historical perspectives influence generational viewpoints on sex and sexuality. Today, according to Ashford, “Sex and sexuality are infused throughout the media, impacting our daily lives. Consider the music we listen to, social media, the programs we watch, our clothing and the products we buy.” According to Nye, the “watershed” period of openness towards sexuality was experienced by Generation X. “Baby boomers may have started the so-called sexual revolution in the late 60s, but it was confined to the most radical elements of that generation.” Nye said. “It became virtually universal in pop culture by the late ’70s and later generations (millennials and Generation Z) are growing up with it from earliest years.” Julia Zeigler, a third-year student at OSU, said her perspective is that millennials and Gen Z are thinking of sex as a more intimate experience because the younger generations are not just having sex to procreate. She thinks that more people are not wanting to have kids in the newer generations and now, sex is viewed as a way to connect on a deeper level with your partner. Whatever the different viewpoints may be, younger generations are showing a different trend in regards to sex. “While there is a growing openness about talking about sexuality, and sexuality in the last 25 or 30 years, including sexual orientation and sexual fluidity, there is evidence that younger generations are having less sex and less sexual contact with other people,” Nye said. According to Nye, reasons for this could be the availability of pornography to entertain sexual desires as well as greater experimentation with sexual orientation and fluidity in Western popular culture. Ashford agreed, saying, “Our personal sexual and relationship values are affected by our self-exploration (or lack there-of).” Research from Rutgers University and the University at Albany suggest other factors contributing to the lack of sex in younger generations. These include high amounts of time spent on

21


social media and gaming platforms, a decrease in alcohol consumption by the younger generations and young adults living with their parents for longer periods of time. Studies presented by a New York Times opinion piece from the Pew Research Center, show that many young adults have a pessimistic outlook on dating, based on the fact that over the past 10 years young adults say it is getting harder to date. The article notes that many women attribute this to harassing or objectifying behaviors from their dates. Another aspect was that people felt that sexual culture was too open and hard to navigate. The article argues that it’s important our society sets boundaries besides just consent when it comes to sex, such as getting to know people first in order for people to have happier and healthier sex lives. Despite the pessimism and societal changes young adults face regarding sex, more people are comfortable discussing the topic with an open mind. "Based on my experience, younger people appear to be more open to the diversity of the human sexual experience,” Ashford said. “There is a greater ease of sharing pronouns, talking about formerly taboo topics and approaching human sexuality with an authentic curiosity.”


THE IMPORTANCE OF SEX EDUCATION IN SCHOOLS

EDUCATION

WRITER:

TAYLOR BACON

PHOTOGRAPHER:

ASHTON BISNER + CONTRIBUTED

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n o i t a c u ex Ed n o i t a c u ex Ed n o i t a c u ex Ed n o i t a c u d ex E n o i t a c u d ex E n o i t a c u d ex E n o i t a c u d ex E n o i t a c Sex Edu n o i t a c Sex Edu n o i t a c Sex Edu n o i t a c Sex Edu n o i t a c Sex Edu n o i t a c u Sex Ed n o i t a c u Sex Ed 24

EDITOR’S NOTE: Source Jennifer Carter is the mother of Beaver’s Digest Editor-in-Chief Jaycee Kalama. Jaycee did not edit this article THE TOPIC AND CONVERSATION around sex education is one of slight discomfort—students at school dread the awkward classes and teachers try to keep classes engaged and learning. According to an article published by the Harvard Political Review, only around 38% of high schools and 14% of middle schools teach the topics that are deemed as critical for sex education standards set up by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only 13 states even require it to be taught in any capacity. Although these numbers are low, it isn’t because many parents don’t want their children to be taught about the topic, in fact, it is the opposite. Many parents want their children to have the ability to learn about sex in a way that is age appropriate and correct. Sex education is more than just talking about having safe sex and its different methods. Good sex education also helps students understand what consent is and the importance of it, what a healthy relationship should look like and even cover the topic of sexuality. When Jennifer Carter, a mother, compared her 10-year-old daughter’s sex education class to her own sex education class from years prior, Carter said, “They teach them how to say no, what is right and wrong. What's appropriate and what's not. They never explained that when I was Sadie’s age.” After reaching out to multiple schools here in Corvallis, Ore. and Albany, Ore. school districts, Beaver’s Digest was unfortunately unable to get any direct comments or information about


their schools’ protocol for teaching sex education.

it, they should just do it—and do it right.”

With that said, in Oregon, schools are working on improving their sex education, going beyond the basics. According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, since the #metoo movement, there has been more emphasis on teaching about consent and sexual awareness, and what to do in situations where you might feel unsafe.

In states where sex education is taught, most of it is left up to the state or the school to decide what’s important to teach and what isn’t, according to University of Southern California’s department of nursing. Certain topics get left out or aren’t properly explained, giving an uneven level of education regarding sex across the country. Worse, most of the of the U.S. isn’t even required to teach sex education.

The point of having these lessons that go over more than just protected sex is to create an environment where students feel comfortable asking for help and learning about natural life events, both in school and at home. “It was so ‘hush, hush’ when I was growing up, I was so scared to tell my mom that I started my period,” Carter said. “I was embarrassed and ashamed, but for my daughter, I have already discussed it with her as she has gone through this class. I want her to feel like it is okay to come to me and not be scared, afraid or ashamed.” Some parents argue that schools should just teach standard school curriculum like biology or math and give parents the chance to talk and teach to their children the importance of sex education.

Teaching proper sex education at school may allow for more open communication when discussing it at home. Getting correct information at school in a comfortable manner gives kids a chance to talk to parents with more ease, as they have a better understanding of the topic. If children and teens are taught about it in school, they can also have the chance to ask questions anonymously or without worrying about what a parent might think. “Having open conversations about sexuality is crucial if parents care about kids being safe and respectful as they emerge into their own sexuality,” St. Jacques said. “If you're okay with your kids getting their information through a process of trial-and-error, then you’d better be okay with the errors—and

some errors could cost a child their life. The comedian George Carlin once said we shouldn’t ‘underestimate the stupidity’ of people around us. It’s staggering how much ignorance there is about matters of consent, consequence and sexual difference beyond social norms. Good people are still paying for their sexualities with their lives. As a journalist, I see this happen every day.”

Some schools create an opt-out system, where parents can opt their child out of a sexual education class, or will send heads up letters home. When asked about the topic, Jillian St. Jacques, a journalism professor at Oregon State University, said, “I don’t need to be contacted or informed about sex education in classes because sex education should be intrinsic to good education. We don’t receive a letter from school each time our kid takes a class in math or physical education, so why the big deal about teaching sex? They shouldn’t send me a letter about

25


EDUCATION

SEXUALLY SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTION, OR STIGMA TOWARDS INFECTION?

WRITER:

COLIN RICKMAN

26

PHOTOGRAPHER:

SHANE LYNETTE


HOW NEGATIVE VIEWS ON STIs AND STDs ARE DETRIMENTAL TO SEXUAL HEALTH EFFORTS AND IMPACT EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL HEALTH ON FEB 20, SEDONA PRINCE, a star University of Oregon basketball player who led the team this year by shooting 54% from the field, stepped away from the court to talk about something much more personal than basketball.

you have mouth herpes, we all have mouth herpes. I take meds. I use Abreva. It’s just a part of life, man—it’s natural. It’s just the human experience, baby. So, educate yourself, be nice and try to comment nice things.”

Prince posted a TikTok addressing some comments she received concerning the cold sores around her mouth that were visible in some of her previous videos. The specific comment she responded to simply read: “Herp?”

Stigma, the mark of disgrace associated with particular circumstances or qualities, has been attached to the STIs and STDs that are part of many lives around the world for a long time. This shameful culture that Prince and others have experienced is well known by sexual health professionals— they deal with it every day. Some educators within the Oregon State University community have noticed it be detrimental to the promotion of sexual health and the cause of emotional and mental effects that pile on top of the physical symptoms.

“Hell yeah I got herpes, hell yeah,” Prince said in the TikTok. “Every time I post when I have cold sores I get all these comments that are like ‘Whoa, your mouth is crusty bro. You’re nasty. You’re disgusting.’ This is why people with herpes are embarrassed and [why] there’s a massive stigma around it.” The video goes on with Prince citing data from the World Health Organization on herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), an extremely infectious and incurable STD that is most commonly passed orally and causes those cold sores Prince is being criticized for. Its older sibling, herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact and causes genital herpes. The data Prince references state that 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 are infected with the disease, just like her. A look further into the data revealed that in America, 178 million women and 142 million men have HSV-1–that is nearly 50% of all women and nearly 40% of all men. It doesn’t end there either. One of the most common STIs is human papillomavirus (HPV). It is contracted by around 13 million Americans every year and usually goes away by itself within two years, but can last longer and cause cancers of the cervix, vagina, penis, vulva, anus and throat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—these cancers are avoidable through an HPV vaccine, which the CDC recommends for anyone under the age of 26. “So, you know what, we’re normalizing it here,” Prince said in her TikTok video. “I have mouth herpes,

One person who has noticed this is Amanda Stevens, OSU Student Health Services’ sexual health coordinator, who has been working in the field for over five years. She oversees all sexual health, consent and healthy relationships education on the OSU Corvallis, Ore. campus along with advising on policy related to sexual health and violence prevention. “ T h e re absolutely is a stigma against people with STIs or those who have contracted one in the past,” Stevens said. “These stigmas can be incredibly harmful to our prevention efforts. In an effort to prevent the spread of STIs, sex educators have created a culture where discussing protection, testing and any history of STIs is incredibly shameful. Some students report that when asked by a new sexual partner to get tested, they felt offended that the other person would think they would have an STI. This is the opposite of what we want.” What they want is for people to be open, for people to not be scared, to be honest with their physicians. If someone is too ashamed to speak up about the fact that they might have contracted an STI or STD, it might go untreated, leading to more serious issues. Or, it might cause people to not get tested at all, causing them to spread the infection to others. “Health educators like myself are always trying to find the perfect balance between preventing the spread of STIs and normalizing the experience of those who have contracted an STI so that more people in our

27


community have open and honest conversations about their sexual health,” Stevens said.

infected as a result of being sexually active with you.”

Another health professional who has experience combating this stigma is Georgeanne Windisch, a health educator with Deschutes County Health Services, who has worked with students at our OSU-Cascades campus and high schools within the county.

In other words, take a deep breath, everything is going to be okay. More people have experienced that situation than you realize. You are not alone.

“Different people respond differently to having an STI, but STIs are just a part of being sexually active,” Windisch said. “As health educators, we work hard to decrease the stigma associated with STIs and ensure that people know how to access testing and treatment. It is crucial that all people have access to quality, compassionate reproductive and sexual health services that are free from stigma.” It's only one part of the puzzle for the patient to have the courage to be open about their concerns. The other part is the environment they are in and whether or not it is a welcoming, safe place to discuss the topic. Windisch and other health professionals at DCHS have been working on creating a safe space that encourages people to open up and be honest.

“Prevention of STDs/STIs is incredibly important, but should not be used as a fear tactic to prevent all sexual activity,” Stevens said. “For so many, their first experiences learning about sex center almost entirely on all the bad things that can happen when and if you become sexually active and how to prevent those things. There is no doubt preventing STIs is vital for sexual health, but it is entirely possible to prevent contracting or spreading an STI without abstaining from sex altogether.”

When someone does get tested and it comes back positive, an entirely new layer of mental and emotional effects can rain down on them because of the negative stigma towards STIs and STDs.

Condoms are still the most effective method for preventing STIs when used correctly and consistently, according to the WHO. Some vaccines are also available and critical to prevention, like the HPV vaccine mentioned above and the hepatitis B vaccine.

“Lots of students can experience shame and embarrassment after learning they’ve contracted an STI,” Stevens said. “This can be challenging on their mental and emotional health, and can impact their relationships as well.”

“While you should do everything in your power to protect yourself and avoid contracting an STI, many STIs are easily treatable and can be cured in a matter of days or weeks,” Stevens said. “If you test positive, it is important to follow all of your physician’s recommendations and abstain from sexual activity until you are cleared. If you do contract an STI that is not curable, it is also important to work closely with your physician to learn how to best manage your infection, and learn how to prevent spreading it to any of your current or future partners.”

Remember the episode of The Office where Michael Scott gets a cold sore and has to track down all of his ex-girlfriends to tell them they might have herpes? Of course you do. Imagine having to do that yourself. It is an incredibly difficult and stressful situation to be in. When someone tests positive, this situation might pop into their head, along with all the relationships it will possibly endanger. While it is stressful, telling past sexual partners about a positive test is an essential step of sexual health— everyone deserves to know if they have been exposed. “The most important thing to remember after receiving a positive test is to focus on the present and the future, not the past,” Stevens said. “You cannot go back and change your own actions or the actions of others, but you can ensure that you follow all your physician’s instructions to the best of your ability and that you take the steps to ensure no one becomes

28

Normalizing STDs and STIs is one step towards creating a more nurturing culture that promotes sexual health over shame and embarrassment. But this shouldn’t be confused with thinking that they shouldn’t be prevented at all. Prevention is still one of the most crucial steps for sexual health.

Contracting an STI or STD doesn’t mean you can’t still be sexually healthy, it just means that you might have to start using a different definition of sexual health—a definition that works for you and keeps you and your sexual partners safe. “My favorite definition of sexual health is from the WHO,” Stevens said. “It calls sexual health ‘a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.’”


IDENTITY

x e S ‘

understanding asexuality

was apparently the talk of the town and i missed it’ WRITER:

ZEVA ROSENBAUM

ILLUSTRATOR:

CYAN PERRY

29


ASEXUALITY, LIKE MANY sexualities, exists on a spectrum. Some ace people may experience some sexual attraction, some may not experience it at all, but wherever they fall on that spectrum, they’re valid. According to The Trevor Project: "ASEXUALITY ISN’T: • Abstinence because of bad relationships or religious beliefs • Celibacy • Lack or loss of libido • Being unable to find a partner • Being afraid of intimacy • Sexual aversion, repression, or dysfunction ACES MIGHT: • Desire friendship, empathy, and understanding • Fall in love • Become aroused and experience orgasm • Masturbate • Decide not to partake in sexual activities • Be any age, background, or gender • Have children and/or a spouse" An Oregon State University student, who prefers to remain anonymous and will be referred to as “A,” said they realized they were somewhere on the ace spectrum while in high school. A said that when they sat through the sex talk, they found they couldn’t identify with the struggle to resist temptation. “Was it really so difficult to simply not have sex?” A asked. “Are people actually ‘horny?’ Sex was apparently the talk of the town and I’d missed it.” They said they still get “blown away” by the environment around sex even now as an adult. A admitted that they went down the “Is there something wrong with me?” rabbithole that many LGBTQIA+ people experience, but figured they were just a late bloomer. However, A explained they realized they skipped that part of puberty, and they never really wanted it. “It’s surprisingly easy to be fake ‘horny,’” A said. “I somehow ended up being the only sexually-active person in my friend group.” A said their current partner is understanding about their sexuality. They said being ace doesn’t mean they’re sex repulsed or not at all interested, it mostly manifests in never initiating sexual activity because it “just doesn’t occur to me.” Instead, A said they find intimacy in truly “knowing a person inside and out,” and sharing mutual love.

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“Part of my asexuality is truly not being able to picture having sex with someone I’m not romantically invested in,” A said. “This isn’t the case for all ace people.” In terms of being “out,” A said they’re essentially out as bisexual to most people and their asexuality is something they keep between themself and their partner since it really doesn’t affect anyone outside of their relationship. A admitted they haven’t sought out support in the LGBTQIA+ community partly due to their relationship appearing very cis/het normative, but partly due to fear that they won’t be accepted within the community. But according to A, they don’t feel they need a ton of external support thanks to their relationship’s presentation and they haven’t experienced any direct hate or discrimination, only indirect biased comments directed at the community as a whole. “I do find OSU to be supportive,” A added. “I have seen no reason not to believe that all presentations and orientations are accepted within OSU.” A Western Oregon University student who also wants to remain anonymous and will be referred to as “B” said she thinks she was showing signs of being ace in high school, but wasn’t aware that asexuality was a sexual orientation, so she had no way to recognize it in herself. B said it wasn’t until the past year that she started considering and researching asexuality as a possibility for herself and, after talking with friends and other members of the ace community, realized they had a lot in common. According to B, she never saw the appeal in even the most minor actions like kissing her significant others, but thought she would eventually enjoy it if she went along with it when they wanted to kiss. “I never did and it would often lead to me being confused and unhappy because I saw I was making my significant other happy, but was still not understanding why I didn’t feel the same way,” B said. According to B, being ace had the biggest impact on her most recent relationship since, toward the end of it, she was just discovering her asexuality and her partner didn’t understand. She said they even told her she was confused and needed to talk to a therapist to be “fixed.” “It was a major factor in the end of that several-year relationship because my sexuality isn’t some problem that needed to be fixed, but that’s what they saw it as,” B said.


B went on to say that, while it was “a bit of an adventure” sorting out how to separate sexuality from romance, she isn’t aromantic and still wants to be in a committed relationship at some point. “Based on everything I saw about relationships around me and in media, I was torn about how I could respect my sexuality and still want to be in a romantic relationship because everything around me told me those things came hand-in-hand and couldn’t be separated if you wanted a healthy and strong relationship with someone,” B explained. But she said she talked to her ace friends and connected with an ace Facebook group and eventually realized that, though romance and sexuality often go hand-in-hand, they don’t depend on each other. “You can have a romantic relationship and be happy and secure in it without having to be sexual if you aren’t comfortable with that,” B said. In terms of coming out, B said it depends on who she’s talking to, how close they are, and how they view the world. She has come out to the majority of her close friends, some of whom are also ace, and some people in her poetry club. She said some of those friends helped her through the process of figuring herself out, so they were already aware anyway. “I don’t really come out or mention it unless it comes up in conversation somehow though,” B said. She continued, “I haven’t told a lot of the people I am related to about it—not because I think they wouldn’t accept how I think or feel, but I don’t think they would really understand, or would try to tell me I am just confused because I haven’t found ‘the one’ yet or something. And I know some of my cousins and extended family would for sure judge me or treat me differently, so I just don’t want to deal with that...” According to B, asexuality hasn’t affected her relationship with religion, though B said she was initially concerned by how her sexuality might not align with her Christian beliefs. But, after doing research and making sure to focus on herself and her beliefs, she came to the conclusion that she didn’t have anything to worry about. “I am still a strong Christian, and I can still love the Lord and love, support, and respect everyone around me, which is the most important aspect of my religion,” B said. “Nothing about my sexuality really stops me from doing those things. I can still support and accept everyone around me and spread kindness.” B said that, in addition to her friends, she’s found support in a Facebook group for people on the ace spectrum. “...So far everyone there has been incredibly welcoming and supportive of me—it has been amazing interacting with all of them,” B said. “I haven’t really explored much more into any LGBTQ+ and ace communities aside from that though.”

Asexual people have often experienced a lack of acceptance and understanding within the queer community and beyond, according to an article by Alice Olivia Scarlett in “Stonewall.” “Love without sex is a difficult concept for society to grasp,” Scarlett wrote. “‘Just friends’ still holds a sting, ‘friend zoned’ is the punch line of far too many jokes and there are still people who believe that sex is a biological need of the same importance as food and water.” A study by Tamara Deutsch titled “Asexual People’s Experience with Microaggressions” delves into the struggle asexual people have within and beyond the LGBTQIA+ community and the way some ace people are, at times, looked down upon due to their lack of sexual interest, as if sex drive is the thing that makes a person valid. “[Asexual people] often managed [invalidation] by trying to be sexual or trying to fit into the norm, and then, if an asexual identity was accepted, struggling to figure out how to find a relationship that suited their needs,” Deutsch wrote. “Asexual people often responded to this invalidation by refraining from disclosing their orientation to social contacts, a pattern that can result in feeling isolated or having to put up with explaining asexuality each time it comes up in conversation.” “The Invisible Orientation” by Julie Sondra Decker discusses the challenges many ace people face, such as the isolation that can come with a lack of interest in sex. This excerpt from Decker’s book attempts to help people identify whether or not they’re ace: “HOW DO I TELL? • Do you find other people sexy—in a way that makes you feel sexual desire or arousal, or a way that makes you think sex or sexual touching with that person would be satisfying (regardless of whether you’d actually do it)? If you don’t feel this with anyone, you may be asexual. • Do you develop sexual attraction every once in a while, but don’t find its pursuit or satisfaction intrinsically rewarding? Some people would call that asexual. • Do you think having sex (or the idea of having sex) is okay, but not very interesting or important? Could you take it or leave it, and find leaving it more convenient or preferable? Some people would call that asexual. • Do you feel sexual attraction sometimes, but only rarely? You may be graysexual and you’ll have a lot in common with asexual people if you are. • Do you sometimes develop sexual attraction when you’ve already developed other important connections with someone, but never feel sexually attracted to strangers, celebrities, or mere acquaintances? You may be demisexual and you’ll also have a lot in common with asexual people if you are.” Students can seek OSU’s Pride Center.

support

and

community

at

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EDUCATION

DESTIGMATIZING MASTURBATION HOW HARMFUL MYTHS ABOUT SELF PLEASURE REPRESS SEXUAL EMPOWERMENT

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MASTURBATION MONTH IS here. The month of May was declared national masturbation month in 1995 by a famous sex shop, Good Vibrations, in response to the firing of sex-positive U.S. surgeon general Dr. Jocylen Elders and has only grown traction since. As national masturbation month rolls around this year, it is time to highlight the importance of self-pleasure, emphasize many of its benefits and break down any walls of shame or discomfort around the topic. For centuries social institutions have hindered us from embracing our sexualities flooding the world with messages of shame surrounding our own personal pleasure. These messages are often centered toward women and people outside the gender and body norms. Religion, spirituality, culture, government, regulations and laws are all systems that have historically filtered what messages we hear about sex. For example, female pleasure has been historically overlooked and under researched. The full anatomy of the clitoris was only officially mapped out in 2005 by Australian urologist Helen O’Connell. Javay Frye-Nekrasova, also known as Javay da Bae or The Millennial Sexpert, is a sexologist, sex enthusiast and sex educator working toward her doctorate in human sexuality. She explains how the lack of education around masturbation makes it even more stigmatized because “How can you find pleasure in something you don’t understand?” Frye-Nekrasova said. On top of this, the media has a significant influence over people’s ideas of pleasure. When the majority of what is shown is cisgender, heterosexual, white and slim bodies experiencing pleasure, it sends the message that these bodies are bodies deserving of pleasure. However, when people don’t see someone who shares similar identities as them experiencing pleasure it can ingrain

these narratives that they don’t deserve pleasure. Surrounding yourself with inclusive media can help break down these narratives because “It is a human right to experience pleasure!” exclaimed Frye-Nekrasova.

WRITER:

NATALIE SHARP PHOTOGRAPHER:

JESS HUME-PANTUSO

She Bop is a local sex shop in Portland that is women-owned and centers its mission around achieving sexual empowerment for every body. They work to live out this mission by creating an inclusive space centered on education, equity and the celebration of all bodies. Amory Jane, the General Manager at Portland’s She Bop, tries to live by their mission every day. “There's a lot of cultural baggage around sexuality and gender, so when people come in, we just try to create a safer space for them to just show up as themselves, wherever they're at,” Jane explained. Unlike classical sex shops that are often designed for the male gaze, She Bop approaches it from a feminist queerfriendly perspective where people from any identity or background can come in and feel like it's a place where they can belong. Another avenue to find an inclusive space to explore your sexuality is at Oregon State University. Shannon Lipscomb, a professor at OSUCascades, teaches a class called Human Sexuality (HDFS 240). Taught on both OSU campuses, Human Sexuality is designed to help students examine how social institutions affect sexuality and invite students to explore what sexuality means to them. To help her students overcome discomfort they might have surrounding sex and masturbation, she starts by asking students to anonymously name their feelings, creating a word cloud that captures “a whole range of responses from freedom and empowerment to shame to fear anxiety and uncertainty,” explained Lipscomb. By talking about these emotions, it helps to normalize them.

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As a member of the LGTBQ+ community, Lipscomb approaches the class from a sex-positive perspective, which intentionally diverges from the typical approaches to sex in education. “I approach it by acknowledging, respecting and wondering to create an environment of curiosity for people about their relationship with sex, not assuming that everyone's in a sex-positive place,” Lipscomb said. Lipscomb explains how in the United States and in particular subcultures within the U.S., some individuals have developed a lot of shame around sex and masturbation that often has roots in childhood. Most children masturbate and if children are shamed for that early on they can internalize it and develop negative emotions towards the act. Lipscomb suggests being open to those feelings in order for healing to begin. Over time, many myths about sex and

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masturbation have circulated the world and can often additionally contribute to personal feelings of shame around the subject. It is important to name these myths to begin the destigmatization. For starters, there is no right age or normal amount to masturbate. All people are different and whatever feels best for you is what is normal. In addition, it is a common belief that people in relationships don’t masturbate. Yet, in reality, masturbation can be an excellent way to connect with your partner and learn more about their pleasure. It can also be a great tool to compensate for potential differences in sex drives. Toys are not genital specific so try using different toys and explore a variety of sensations to discover what feels good. Another myth Jane talks about is the myth of the one size fits all approach. “Just because somebody else likes a toy or likes masturbating in a certain way, doesn’t mean that is what will fit best for another person,” Jane said.

Many institutions have spread the myth that masturbation has no seen benefits. However, quite the contrary is true. Masturbation can have incredible benefits ranging from reducing stress and releasing endorphins to enhancing self-esteem and self-care. Jane explained, “In addition to unlocking creativity and it being good for selfempowerment and self-exploration, masturbation and orgasms can help with sleep, mood and pain.” You can take a look at She Bop's educational blog post that debunks a bunch of masturbation misinformation. It is never too late to start embracing your sexuality. This is where sexual empowerment comes in. Jane said that, “it is going to be different for each individual, and that's where the empowerment comes from. It's not about following a script—it's about figuring out for each person what makes them tick and what brings them personal power and joy. When you have sexual empowerment, it then spills out into other parts of your life.” Having the freedom to discover who

p


pleasure we are as sexual beings is an act of empowerment. “Just as we as humans have various forms of sexual orientation towards others, we also have differences in sexual orientation towards ourselves,” Lipscomb said. However, the process of accepting and unlearning is a difficult journey. Jane said, “I want to acknowledge how hard it is for people who have grown up with certain kinds of messaging that has made their first instinct to feel shame or embarrassment around masturbation, that can take some time to undo. Even people who are working on it, those messages will still sneak in there every once in a while.” Some ideas to create a more sex-positive environment include surrounding yourself with people who are comfortable discussing their sexuality in everyday life, reading and following accounts online on Instagram or TikTok from inclusive sex educators or looking at inclusive sex toy blogs. These steps can be a great start in unlearning anti-masturbation media. With so much misinformation out there, places like She Bop and sex-positive

classrooms are part of the process of helping people unlearn some of the damaging messages they've received and start getting a more comprehensive and inclusive sex education.

Here are some beginner tips and important things to remember about masturbation from the sex experts: Tip number one, Frye-Nekrasova suggests starting in the shower where you are already naked so that it is less intimidating. Tip number two, Jane suggests that beginners start by trying a few different positions. “There’s the ‘classic’ lying on your back, but try standing up, sitting up, or try being on all fours (if possible).” Tip number three, always use lubricant, no matter what your genitals are, it will probably make things a lot more comfortable and protect against tearing. Tip number four, when it comes to exploring toys, it doesn't have to be a huge collection, but explore what different sensations feel like on your own body and remember toys are an

investment so start small.

Tip number five, if feeling extra bold, introduce the idea of having a mirror involved so you can see what your own pleasure looks like and further your sexual education. Tip number six, always wash your hands or any toys and pee afterwards no matter your genitals to prevent urinary tract infections. Finally, tip number seven, don’t make orgasm the goal of masturbation. When it is your goal it adds stress and attaches pressure, which are not helpful. Go into it wanting to feel pleasure and try using different stimulants but remember that, “Relaxation is key!” according to Frye-Nekrasova. “Masturbation in and of itself can be really empowering, healing and useful to learn about our bodies and about the things we like and don't like,” Jane said.


RESOURCES

How to Make Room for Sexual Health in Your Space

WRITER:

JEREMIAH ESTRADA

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PHOTOGRAPHER:

OLIVIA METCALF


WHAT IS THERE to do when you are scrambling for a condom in your nightstand or misplace your favorite toy? To make your space more comfortable for yourself and for others who may be in it, organizing your room to suit your sexual needs can be a solution. According to Shelagh M. Johnson, Oregon Health Authority’s school health and youth sexual health team lead, it can vary from person to person the kind of items necessary for their sexual health. More importantly, having the skills and ability to communicate to others about sex and sexuality is an item that can’t be bought. Just being able to talk with your friends and partners has value along with having items like condoms or contraceptives handy for any emergencies. “Having items convenient and accessible means having them for yourself or others to use as needed, and also to destigmatize/normalize the use of condoms or other safer sex methods,” Johnson said. Oregon State University fourth-year student Maija Pham said that it’s important to have toys, toy cleaners, support items and an unscented/pH balanced soap in addition to a variety of condoms and physical contraceptives. It’s important to have these accessible to be prepared and comfortable in a sexual situation, according to Pham. She also noted that you get to decide how sex is best for you and having these things available will help promote your expectations and needs at any given time. The soap specifically serves to help keep you clean and healthy afterward, since maintaining your sexual health and wellbeing is important. “If you are sexually active, it’s important to have the appropriate safer sex supplies on hand to protect yourself and others,” said OSU Sexual Health Coordinator Amanda Stevens. “For example, if you’re someone who can become pregnant and you’re having vaginal intercourse with someone who can impregnate someone, but you do not wish to become pregnant,

then it would be important to be utilizing contraception in addition to barrier methods.” Stevens added that it’s important for most sexually active individuals to have lubricant. This helps decrease the chance of spreading or contracting an STI by reducing friction and tearing. When concerning oral sex, it’s important to have barriers on hand. Depending on the activity, either dental dams or external condoms are good to have. “Honestly, just being able to have a space that makes you feel safe is most important,” said fourth-year OSU student Emma Caple. Caple said that making sure you have things around that help or support you to make you feel comfortable in engaging in these activities is great. She noted that many people tend to be embarrassed or don’t feel comfortable with themselves which is why it’s important. “Feeling comfortable in your own and others’ spaces is very personal,” Johnson said. “Neurodivergent folks can have specific needs about lighting, sound and temperature; for example, to feel regulated and more at ease. For some folks, seeing a rainbow flag or books about shared interests might make them feel more comfortable. Cleanliness too!” Johnson said communication also makes guests feel more comfortable. This includes asking guests about their wants and needs around comfort. This would be a high priority along with following through with their requests. According to Pham, she has a really cute box where she stores all of her sexual health items. This is on her nightstand and having it there helps to keep them accessible, as well as being in a special and decorative place in her room. She said her box has a lid and isn’t super out in the open to make it discrete for guests who may not be comfortable seeing those things. “Another thing that makes my room comfortable is that I have a fair amount

of sex and sexuality positive art in my room!” Pham said. “It is a way that helps my friends and partners begin to understand my feelings about sexual health and sexuality. Other items that aren’t necessarily related to sexual health but really help me to feel comfortable during those times or otherwise are candles, lots of pillows and soft blankets, soft lighting and a calming pillow spray. When taking a look at how Caple decorates, she said that she likes to put fun things on the wall to look at. There are also fun lights in her room which can set the mood and make it entertaining. She added that she likes to have the colors purple, green and pink around her in that space. To keep these spaces comfortable, Johnson suggests putting away prescription medications or sensitive medical information before guests arrive. She said that some people have different levels of comfort around privacy which is why one should consider where things are stored. Pham believes that some of these decisions are up to the discretion of those individuals. She said that someone’s safety is always the most important consideration, so taking out any items that could potentially put someone in a harmful or uncomfortable situation should be avoided. “Depending on your experience and comfortability with a person, it may be good to set the toys aside somewhere that could be brought out at a later time,” Pham said. Stevens said what makes each person comfortable in a space is going to be unique to them. This is why communication is going to be the most important thing in these situations. She advised talking with your friends or partners to see what their preferences of comfort are. “Always remember consent and having conversations with partners about boundaries, interests and any needs that will help promote a safe and pleasurable experience!” Pham said.

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RESOURCES

WRITER:

TARSA WEIKERT

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PHOTOGRAPHER:

RAFAEL QUERO JUAREZ


FROM SEX TOYS TO sexual reproductive services, Corvallis, Ore. has unique opportunities for people to obtain resources that encourage positive sexual health. CORVALLIS BIRTH & WOMEN'S CENTER

friendly doctors that they can recommend people to. Check out their Facebook or Instagram for more information. Read page 10 for more information about the Mid-Willamette Transgender Support Network.

At the Corvallis Birth and Women’s Center in Corvallis, women can seek out healthcare and birth services in a safe environment. The center offers prenatal, birth and postpartum services. In addition to birth-related service, the center offers annual exams, pap smears, as well as other sexual and reproductive services. The goal of the center is to minimize interventions during birth to allow a woman to have a child as naturally as possible in a caring environment. The center is located at 2314 NW Kings Blvd., minutes away from Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center.

EMBODY OSU

OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY STUDENT HEALTH SERVICES

EVA’S BOUTIQUE

Oregon State University offers comprehensive health services to students at OSU. One section of their services specifically covers sexual and reproductive health. Student Health Services cover gynecologic care, testing, information and sexual health care. The SHS is non-biased towards gender and encourages all students to check out their services. In addition to the service provided on campus, SHS will deliver free safer sex kits right to student doorsteps to encourage safe sex. From lubes, condoms and more, the OSU free sex kit sends out deliveries every Wednesday. CARDV The Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence is a nonbiased organization that provides services that support individuals who are victims of sexual and domestic violence regardless of race, gender, sex, religion, age, class and more. The center offers a 24-hour crisis support line and a crisis response team. They also have support groups available for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. CARDV services are confidential and safe for individuals in need. The center is located at 228 SW Third St. in Corvallis. MID-WILLAMETTE TRANSGENDER SUPPORT NETWORK The Mid-Willamette Trans Support Network is a nonprofit organization that offers a variety of resources to community members in the Corvallis area. It has been specifically designed to help transgender, nonbinary, gender diverse, gender nonconforming, intersex and questioning individuals and family members. The organization offers a microgrant fund, where individuals can apply for help if they need rent support, grocery assistance and more. The Mid-Willamette Trans Support Network also offers three different support groups with two more in development. The group also has other resources for therapists or trans-

Embody at Oregon State University is a student-led team that fights anti-fat bias, discrimination and diet culture. The organization focuses on body positivity and developing an acceptance for food instead of a negative bias, looking at the positive aspects of food and how it brings joy to individuals. Embracing your body and who you are is what this group is about. For more information on how to join or check out their Instagram @embody_osu.

If you find yourself in need of a few items to spice up your sex life, Eva’s Boutique provides a wide array of sex toys, masturbators, lingerie and more. The adult sex store is enveloped by a welcoming well-lit environment to encourage a comfortable shopping experience. From products for couples to heighten sexual consciousness, to clothing for plus-size women and even a few bondage options. A healthy sex life is completely natural, and Eva’s Boutique provides options for those who want to make their adult play time more enjoyable. OSU WELLNESS AGENTS Oregon State University’s Wellness agents is a student-driven organization that focuses on wellness within the community. The group hosts support groups, yoga, community projects and more. The wellness agents host free craft nights and other events for students to check out on campus. Check out their Instagram for more information @osuwellnessagents. OSU COUNSELING AND PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES Another great resource OSU provides is their access to trained professionals to help with health issues. The counseling services has psychologist social workers and more on staff available to help students with any problem that may occur. CAPS also provides emergency crisis counseling to those who may demonstrate the need for immediate services. For more information or to book an appointment call 541-737-2131. OSU SAFER Oregon State Safer is a community of individuals who collectively condemn rape. The student organization is actively fighting for the end of rape. The organization focuses on building healthy consensual relationships and community support. Education through assault awareness and healthy boundaries is at the core of OSU Safer’s work. Community members looking for support or to get involved in the movement can contact the group through their Instagram @osusafer.

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EDUCATION

FORUM:

period shame, puberty and the sex talk for girls WRITER:

TAYLOR BACON

THE ONE THING that keeps the human population going is also something that is usually avoided in conversation or in public settings. Rarely will you ever hear someone who experiences periods talking about it in public, and even less so will you hear women talking about sex or their bodies. This is because from a very young age, girls are told that these topics should be kept to themselves. Usually it is seen as rude or impolite to talk about periods, sex and puberty freely. A lot of people have not considered how the lack of discussion on sexual health topics can impact the way females think and perceive their bodies. Puberty and periods are usually referred to as a matter of hygiene for girls, as if going through them, talking about sex or having a period makes you clean or unclean. Historically, society was made to benefit men and this is still an ongoing struggle for women. It makes sense that these topics aren’t commonly brought up, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be. In school, when the time of year comes around for sex education, it is very different for boys and girls. When asked about the topic, Teresa Ashford, a Human Development and Family Sciences professor at Oregon State

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ILLUSTRATOR:

H. BECK

University, said, “while young men are being taught about sexual pleasure, young women are being taught the shamefulness of bleeding, and it never seems to get better.” The thing is, getting a period isn’t the only thing that happens when girls go through puberty, but it's the primary focus, and even then it isn’t taught as something that keeps life going, it's taught as a “hygienic crisis,” as Ashford explained. Another emphasized part of girls’ sex education is birth control. There are many different kinds of birth control for women. Yet, there is really only one common birth control for men—condoms. Since women carry the egg and the child in utero, it seems as though it automatically became their problem to prevent pregnancy. Instead of education about how girls’ bodies are changing and learning ways to make it easier to handle, women get told how to hide what is happening to them. Another societal issue is how women are viewed when talking about sex. For guys, having sex or getting around is usually celebrated in some fashion, or at least not looked down upon.

When asked her view on the topic, Catherine Bolzendahl, PhD, an expert on Gender, Society and Politics here at OSU, said, “one of the ways in which femininity has been constructed in our society is that it's a lot of double binds or lose-lose situations. Women who are too sexual are criticized for being too sexual, women who aren’t sexual at all can be criticized for not being sexual.” Seeing as sex is something that involves (at least) two people, everyone, no matter how they identify, should be treated equally when it comes to talking about sex or learning about it. However, in the past few years, it has become more common for women to talk about it thanks to the uprising of empowering feminists who want to make the topic more approachable. Sex or puberty, though, are not the only things that girls are traditionally taught to not talk about. Talk about periods or the menstrual cycle, also something we have absolutely no control over, are often avoided. One of the reasons that men tend to get uncomfortable around the topic of periods is because they aren’t usually taught about it, another problem with K-12 schools’ sex education and health classes. But the problem comes when girls feel like because men are uncomfortable about it, they have to be secret about



being on their period, when in reality, it’s something that happens to millions of people every day and is totally normal. Without the proper information, like anyone, they aren’t comfortable with the topic. According to an article about whether boys should be taught about periods by Natracare, 72% of boys have never been taught anything about the menstrual cycle. The article also states that if periods are talked about in schools, boys are taken out of the room. Teaching boys about periods can not only help them understand what girls are going through, but also help normalize the topic all the way around. Helen Hersey, a student who attended an all-girls high school, stated, “although, at first going into the school, I was nervous about the prospect of others knowing I was on my period, I quickly learned in an all-girl environment that everyone was going through the same thing, and there was no need to conform to the societal pressures of feeling embarrassed about an uncontrollable, normal, bodily function.” Comparing the two types of schools, an all girls school and a typical co-ed American high school, there is a clear difference in the stigma around periods. In co-ed schools, girls are often used to hiding a tampon or pad as they go to the bathroom, and often having to use different terminology, such as “that time of month,” “code red” or “monthly visitor” when in the presence of others. In an opposite setting, one with a majority population being women, the talk around periods is much more relaxed and open. As someone who came from a co-ed high school, my experience was somewhat of the opposite. I have vivid memories of being in school during my period and constantly worrying about

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“bleeding through” or figuring out which classes I would have to leave to go to the bathroom and finding different ways to discreetly bring a tampon with me without people around me seeing, even though in reality it isn’t that big of a deal. It wasn’t usually uncomfortable to ask a girl for a tampon, or to check me, however if I asked, I always tried to do it when my guy friends weren’t around, just to avoid any potential awkwardness. There was also a difference in how some teachers responded if I asked to go to the bathroom. Male teachers were usually less lenient in allowing me to go, while all my female teachers almost always allowed everyone, but especially girls, to go to the bathroom whenever. We see that with many things in today's society, if we don’t know about something or it makes us uncomfortable, we ask others to not talk about it or discuss it around us. Women's health and biological processes shouldn’t be one of those topics. According to KidsHealth.org, girls typically begin puberty around the age of 12, however, girls can get their periods and start puberty as young as around 10 years of age. From that moment on, they get treated differently in society and are told many different things about this new

stage in their lives, but are often taught to, at the same time, not talk about it. When talking with Bolzendahl, she brought up an article that Psychologist Deborah Tolman wrote about young girls and their sexuality. Bolzendahl briefly explained the main concept of the article and Tolman’s research, saying, “[Girls] do experience sexual desire, but they often feel they find their own desire frightening because they don’t know how to talk about it and they don’t know what their sexual desire means, and it’s not legitimated or something that’s seen as a normal part of growing up… Some of these young women that [Tolman] talked to told her that she was the first adult that’s talked to them about these things.” When these topics are pretty much put on lock down or are viewed as something inappropriate to talk about, it can be hard for young girls as they grow up to come to terms with learning about that part of themselves and to be comfortable with it. Being able to break the stigma of keeping these normal, natural and developmental topics secret can help improve girls’ mindsets and create a comfortable environment when learning about them.


FA R E W E L L & H E L LO

Dear readers,

Hello readers,

Beaver’s Digest, Orange Media Network, our community— your readership and support—has changed my life. I have been working for OMN since the winter of 2018 and have found a family on campus. Now, in my fourth year at OSU, I joined BD and found my calling. This job and this team helped me realize that lifestyle journalism is where I want my career to take me. I have learned so much from my time with OMN, and I have so many people to thank. First and foremost I want to thank Jennifer Moody, Steven Sandberg, Velyn Scarborough and Markie Belcher for being the most supportive advisors I could ask for. Thank you Delaney Shea for being the first student leader and mentor to encourage me to reach higher and realize my own self-worth. Thank you Alex Luther, my BD predecessor, for believing in me and trusting me with your beloved magazine—your love for this publication inspired me to strive for the best for BD. Thank you Luke Reynolds, Jeremiah Estrada, Alan Nguyen and the entire BD team for sharing the same passion to make this the best publication it’s ever been. If you have worked with me in some capacity these last four years—thank you—you have helped shape my love for this work. Finally, thank you Sukhjot Sal for your dedication to leading BD next year. I have nothing but the utmost respect and confidence in you. I know I am leaving Beaver’s Digest in strong, passionate, capable hands. I believe in you.

I am honored to lead Beaver’s Digest into a new era and build upon Jaycee’s amazing work with BD this past year. This magazine is a testament to the BD team’s passion for serving our community, as well as Jaycee’s steadfast efforts to ensure BD continues to tell stories both online and in print. When I think of BD, I think of Alex Luther and Jaycee, two amazing leaders who always pushed me to believe in my best and reach for more. I joined Orange Media Network more than two years ago as a freshman and was lucky enough to work with Jaycee at The Daily Barometer when she was campus editor and later, Editor-in-Chief. Last spring, I got the chance to work as Assistant Editor with the 2020-21 EIC, Alex, back when we were still writing and publishing magazine content remotely. I’ve learned invaluable lessons from Alex and Jaycee—what it takes to be a good leader, what it means to have journalistic integrity, how to stand my ground, and why having a lifestyle medium is essential for storytelling. Looking forward, I am beyond excited to work with my assistant editor, copy editor, BD contributing staff, Alan Nguyen, and the entire OMN Creative Team to raise this publication to new heights. I hope to continue making BD a real resource for our community— something that is useful to all of you, something that enriches your lives, something that answers your questions but also piques your curiosity about the world around you and your place in it.

And to you, Beaver’s Digest, I love you.

Finally, for the first time, BD will be active through the summer. Stay tuned for updates.

You can read my full farewell letter on our website—trust me, I have a lot more to say.

Best, Jaycee Kalama EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Best, Sukhjot Sal INCOMING EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

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