Friedman endorses enthusiastic consent, rejects “shitty sex”

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Jaclyn Friedman, American feminist writer and activist from Boston, Mass, came to Baker Ballroom on Tuesday. Author of books: “What You Really, Really Want,” and “Yes Means Yes: Visions of Sexual Power and a World Without Rape,” Friedman came to talk of the seriousness of consent when engaging in sexual activity. Photo by Lauren Prescott.

Talking about consensual sex does not need to consist of stiff, awkward lectures like the the Sex Ed talk from the gym teacher in “Mean Girls”.

Instead, Ohio University took an alternative route by inviting Jaclyn Friedman to instruct students and faculty about enthusiastic consent in a casual, interactive manner during the third Campus Conversation.

Tuesday in Baker Ballroom, Friedman presented a keynote address, “Beyond Consent: How Reclaiming Sexuality Combats Sexual Violence”.

“I am really impressed by the community turnout. I don’t see this a lot… The spirit of the community coming together and caring for each other,” Friedman said.

Friedman herself was sexually assaulted during her junior year of college. From there she jumpstarted her lifelong passion of promoting healthy sexuality. For over 20 years, Friedman has been an activist and writer about preventing rape.

“This can be a challenging topic. Have your feelings. I want you to take care of yourself,” Friedman said.

Friedman welcomed laughter and commentary by the audience. She poked fun at herself and the whole stigma of sex. Her personal anecdotes allowed ease when talking about the often-hushed topic of safe, communicative sex.

“It’s okay to laugh during sex. Some of the best sex I have had is when I laughed,” Friedman said.

Sexual communication between partners is key. Yes, this dialogue can be awkward, but in the end the experience is more enjoyable. Open communication promotes a healthier sexual life.

Friedman encouraged practicing sexual communication. Talk about your desires and practice continuous consent during intercourse.

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President McDavis and Mrs. McDavis came to show their support at the event, even laughing at a few jokes. Photo by Lauren Prescott.

“I know at this fine institution you don’t want to be having shitty sex,” Friedman said. (President Roderick McDavis was sitting in the front row, by the way.)

She kept the audience’s attention with quippy slides and relevant news media.

On one slide a game controller was connected to a scantily-clad woman’s belly button. The image endorses the commodity model. Women are often objectified as sex toys and not permitted to enjoy sex.

On another slide, Friedman displayed a cartoon image of a light switch with the words “on” and “off.”

“Stop speaking about consent like a light switch. Clearly think about consent during sex. Communicate with your partner,” Friedman said.

Many times the current generation is referred to as the “hookup generation.” However, Friedman pointed out that the concept of casual sex has existed for past generations too. More so, there’s a stigma around hooking up that is entirely sexist.

“There’s nothing wrong with having casual sex. However, if you feel like you don’t have a choice, that’s where you are having an emotional problem,” Friedman said.

Rape continues to be a conversation on this campus ever since the alleged 2013 Homecoming rape on Court Street. Where is the line when drinking alcohol and giving consent?

Enthusiastic consent is ideal before and during sex. If either person displays hesitation, then either person or both should probably wait or become more sober before having sex.

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Activist Jaclyn Friedman shows a sexist image of today’s society. Photo by Lauren Prescott.

“If you aren’t sure if your partner can give consent, that’s your answer. Isn’t it better not risking raping someone?” Friedman said.

Many audience members asked media-related questions, including what she thought about the rape joke in a “Family Guy” episode referring to the song “Blurred Lines.”

Friedman responded by wishing the media would take responsibility surrounding sexual abuse and not taking aim at victims.

“Journalism should comfort the afflicted. Journalists have a responsibility to properly cover rape cases,” Friedman said.

The Ohio University student body and faculty responded very well to Friedman. Hundreds of students, faculty and community members attended the keynote.

“She broke down enthusiastic consent,” said Jenny Hall-Jones, Dean of Students. “She was very inclusive. Not at all like the stereotypical man-hating feminist.”

“I wish you all safe and happy sex lives,” Friedman concluded.

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