Many Kirkwood Community College students dawned glow bracelets and packed Iowa Hall for food, games and expert advice at Sex in the Dark at Neon Night on Thursday, Oct. 20.
No question was off the table as a diverse panel of “sexperts” tackled questions from the student body ranging from the humorous, “Is there such a thing as a dangerously large penis?” to the serious, “Am I asexual, or am I just not attracted to my boyfriend?”
Heidi Vogel, counselor, served as the moderator for six panelists consisting of Kirkwood faculty, medical professionals and residents of Cedar Rapids and its outlying communities.
Students attended for a variety of reasons. Some were eager to receive professional advice, some were drawn to the taboo nature of the subject matter, others just wanted to attend an event. One student said, “I was just curious, and I wanted to see what it was all about.”
The initial mood was one of anticipatory nervousness, but as students ate pizza, socialized and played rounds of corn hole they relaxed and settled into their seats for the evening’s question-and-answer portion. To alleviate some of the awkwardness that some students may have felt, questions were submitted anonymously through Kirkwood’s MyHub app.
Be it curiosity or specific concerns, the panel was ready to discuss any topic the students asked.
The importance of this frank openness was not lost on the panelists. Panelist Judith Wightman, psychology professor, said, “On one hand, sex is everywhere, but on the other hand we don’t talk about it in an open way. A lot of people only have the internet, and that’s a problem.”
Panelist Laurel Roberts of Planned Parenthood noted, “Talking about sexuality can be difficult for some due to their backgrounds so events like these are important.”
The panel focused on inclusion across the entire spectrum of human sexuality.
Corey Jacobson, president of CR Pride said, “It’s important that LGBTQ students are represented in today’s political climate. When public universities have events like this, do not forget about the LGBTQ students.”
Panelist Oliver Wennman, also of CR Pride, explained that he chose to participate because “it was important to have a trans voice on the panel.”
The reaction from students in attendance was overwhelmingly positive, and the anonymity proved to be a boon to the experience. Kirkwood student Reece Nelson said, “The event was interesting. It felt safe, it wasn’t awkward and they kept it low-key.”
Student Grace Miller said she enjoyed the neon theme, adding, “It was nice that it was anonymous. I felt like people could ask more questions that way.”