As I walked in a took my seat in the Jeffords Aditorium I couldn’t help but wonder if the whole presentation was going to turn out to be a joke. A sex educator? We had healthy living classes in high school, what else did we need? Jay Friedman began talking and my jaw almost dropped open. His opening lines were a story that seemed to be an explicit moment between a male and a female in the bedroom, but there was an explosion of laughter when the story revealed itself to be about a woman and her four month old baby.
This light, fun, joking air would carry on throughout Friedman’s J-Spot presentation.
“Sex is fun to talk about,” he said after the laughter from his story faded out.
People, he said, have a natural desire to understand, and enjoy sex and one of the easiest ways to gain knowledge is to talk about it.
“Sex is good,” he said, earning whistles of appreciation from the audience.
H had the crowd from that point on as he began to explain sexual myths, rules of readiness, and more.
How do you know when you and a partner are truly ready to have sex? He held up three fingers and said the three A’s are a good way to tell. A number one: affirm. You should know the name of your partner, he said, saying that means last names too. You should also be able to do it with the lights on, and you should be able to look your partner in the eyes while making love.
A number two: accept. Accept responsibility for your actions, gaining consent, and using protection. The third A is mutual pleasure. Learn about your partner so that the experience is good for both of you.
Friedman continued on to talk about same sex couples versus heterosexual couples and the sanctity of marriage. What are the heterosexual couples so concerned about anyway? Perhaps they are worried that the same sex couples will get “it” right, he said.
Perhaps their relationships will last longer and be more fruitful than the heterosexual marriages of this day and age are. All the talk about same sex marriages linked in nicely as he described the issue of homophobia, one of the three main pressures on men regarding sexuality. And he meant homophobia, not in the sense of being afraid of gay people, but in the sense of being perceived as a gay person, hence the males need to prove their masculinity.
The next pressure is the myth of “blue balls,” he said. Laughter again filled the room as he explained that men will not explode if they did not have a release. If men got blue balls did that mean the women got “pink pelvis?” he asked.
He also talked about “locker room talk,” referring to sex as a sport with bases and scoring.
And while talking about sexual arousal, Friedman began jumping around drawing imaginary graphs in the air to demonstrate how men are more easily aroused than women and how their arousal plummets after sex whereas a woman’s arousal can plummet or drop slightly and peak again allowing her several orgasms compared to one.
Woody Allen once said, “Masturbation, don’t knock it: It’s sex with someone I love.” Using this quote, he launched into the next part of his program detailing sex in different areas of the world, censorship, and politics. In Europe, especially the north, the rates of STD’s, pregnancy’s and sexual assault are all lower than the rates in the United States. But why? At a young age European children learn about their bodies, sex, and protection. In America, he said, our Victorian attitudes towards sex make it hard for us to discuss the topic with other people leading to a lack a good sex education. Sexual censorship here is a bigger deal than the censorship of violence in movies, he said. President Bush wanted to change condom boxes to say dangerous on them and he nominated Susan Oar to the head of family planning even though she looks at birth control as bad, even evil. In southern states slogans like “Pet your dog, not your date,” can be found all over the place, he said.
The laughter from his examples of an abstinence-only curriculum died away when he said that it’s not the sex itself that gets people sick or pregnant, it’s the ignorance that many of us have about our own bodies. Sex is a positive aspect of life. It is healthy and natural. His serious tone was lightened as he smiled and announced that it was time for a movie, but be warned it was a little explicit.
The movie was designed for Scandinavian middle school children and it was fairly graphic, but once viewers got over the initial shock, they seemed to soak up the positive information it included. It would never be allowed to be shown in class rooms in the United States, he said, because of how sexually explicit it was and because of the government’s censorship of sexual material.
The J-Spot was a hit. The audience was engaged and seemed willing to absorb the information that Friedman put out there for us.
“Great and provocative,” student Yvette Furnia said of the event as the crowd filed out.
Furnia said she would like to see the U.S. change its policies to be more liberal about sex, like in Scandinavia for example. Following his talk, Friedman said he started his work after going through a rough spot when he and his girlfriend dreaded teen pregnancy.
He travels the college circuit in the U.S. and beyond, reaching from Nova Scotia to Asia. One of his main points and concerns is that yes, sex does sell in the media, but good information about the responsibilities and protection does not.
For teens here today, finding a good source of information can usually be done through the Internet. His parting words included pitching his Web site Jaytalk.com, which includes his bio and a sample press release.