“The Big O”: A discussion about sex and sexuality attracts hundreds of curious students

A packed auditorium listens as Dorian Solot and Connor Timmons discuss sex and female orgasms.

A packed auditorium listens as Dorian Solot and Connor Timmons discuss sex and female orgasms. Photo by Lauren Prescott.

On Thursday, Sept. 18, Ohio University’s Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium filled to the brim with attendees interested in learning about sex, sexuality, masturbation and the primary focus of the event, the female orgasm.

Assistant Dean of Students for Campus Involvement Charlene Kopchick said that the program was a way of presenting positive sexual behavior to the students in an enthusiastic environment.

“We need to role model what healthy sexual behavior is,” Kopchick said. Instead of using a program that discussed sexual assault in the traditional sense, they decided to approach it with a positive outlook. “We wanted to do it in a way that made sense to people.”

According to Kopchick, the campus leadership program POWER / GAMMA, which consists of OU fraternity and sorority students certified to speak to people about health-related issues, researched various speakers to come to OU who could give a healthy presentation on sex.

In their research, POWER / GAMMA came across “The Big O,” also known as “The Female Orgasm.”

The Big O

Dorian Solot and Connor Timmons presented the program. Solot, along with her partner Marshall Miller, co-authored the book “I Love Female Orgasm,” which discusses and illustrates how to have consensual sex and how to come to terms with individual’s sexualities and preferences.

Dorian Solot takes an audience poll during "The Big O" presentation at Memorial Auditorium on Sept. 18. Photo by Lauren Prescott.

Dorian Solot takes an audience poll during “The Big O” presentation at Memorial Auditorium on Sept. 18. Photo by Lauren Prescott.

Solot and Miller originally toured together, but after starting a family it became difficult for the two to do so. The couple wanted to continue the tour while maintaining the male-female speaker dynamic, which resulted in the addition of Timmons to the program.

Although he only joined the tour a year and a half ago, Timmons had been participating in talks such as that since 2006.

“There’s not a lot of healthy venues for men to talk about consensual sex,” Timmons said. He explained that this motivated him to get involved and speak about these issues with students and others who were interested.

While the presentation is aimed at female orgasms, it provided opportunities to answer questions about any sex, gender or sexual orientation.

Attendee Nate Garza, a sophomore studying public relations and communications, attended the program for intellectual pursuit. He considers himself a man “well-versed” in the topic of sex but also interested in furthering his knowledge.

“I try not to be selfish,” Garza said. “I can learn something else that someone can appreciate down the line.”

Gender Neutral

Solot and Timmons clarified in the presentation what they define as female and how they would be referring to female orgasms by the terms that they used throughout the discussion. Phrases like “people with vaginas,”  “socialized women and men” and “women” were among the most commonly used terms. Both Solot and Timmons recognized that everyone who has a vagina may not identify as female  or those with a vagina may identify as male.

“We try to make this program as neutral as possible,” Solot said.

Audience members raise their hands in response to a question asked by speakers Dorian Solot and Connor Timmons during "The Big O" sex talk.

Audience members raise their hands in response to a question asked by speakers Dorian Solot and Connor Timmons during “The Big O” sex talk. Photo by Lauren Prescott.

The presentation retained a positive and open environment throughout the night. Solot and Timmons presented questions and answers for their audience while also including anecdotes and lighthearted jokes during their discussions.

The program went on to discuss the way sex is presented in today’s culture. From magazine portrayals of “better orgasms” to basic high school sex education classes (or lack thereof), Solot and Timmons pointed out the flaws of society’s image of sex.

Timmons suggested that anyone who had a sex ed class in high school was probably familiar with the diagram of the fallopian tube, which he delighted in posing as as a humorous way of refreshing the audience members’ minds of what the diagram looks like.

He continued with an anecdote that asked what it would be like if driving was taught in a similar manner as sex is taught in schools, saying that students wouldn’t be able to find the lights, adjust their mirrors and probably spend a great deal of time “fastening a banana into a seatbelt.”

Solot discussed the learning process of infants, who tend to explore everything, including their own bodies.

“Often when babies put their hands on their genitals, parents will move their hands away,” Solot said. “Babies learn that something’s different there.”

Solot suggested that this can affect people well on into adulthood.

Solot and Timmons also went over anatomy in their talk. Solot in particular explained that many women are often unsure about what their genitals look like.

“Many women remember what they looked like as kids but they don’t realize that things change after puberty,” Solot said. She went on to say that having a “va-jay-jay with character” is nothing to be worried about and that “women have curves everywhere.”

Audience Participation

Dorian Solot points out the unoriginality in magazines discussing orgasms. Photo by Lauren Prescott.

Dorian Solot points out the unoriginality in magazines discussing orgasms. Photo by Lauren Prescott.

Audience members were given the chance to participate several times throughout the discussion by sharing their input on their perceptions of sexual topics and what they have heard or experienced, one of which was masturbation.

For women, some of the answers on masturbation were that it wasn’t as normal for women to do, that it hurt, that it’s a stress-reliever and that it was something women could to do to entertain men. The most popular answer was that women simply did not hear anything about female masturbation growing up.

In regards to male masturbation, men have heard that they need to “wash their sheets,”  that they would “go blind” or that if they do it too much, their penises would fall off.

Because of the opportunity for audience members to share their masturbation rumors, Solot and Timmons were able to display how obscure the topic of masturbation is in today’s culture.

The program came to its finale with, as Solot phrased it, the “nitty-gritty section,” which discussed how exactly people, specifically those with vaginas, could have orgasms. She discussed her findings from a simple survey that she had conducted, which found that many women found oral sex to be the most stimulating way of having an orgasm. Others spoke of vibrators, both obvious and obscure, such as the famous Hitachi Magic Wand or even the Harry Potter Nimbus 2000, which is an electronic broomstick that vibrated and made flying noises (needless to say, it got raving revues before Mattel stopped selling them).

Healthy Interactions

Solot and Timmons also provided seven steps for the audience that demonstrates a healthy way for people to have orgasms:

1. Start by yourself.

2. Befriend your own body.

3. Befriend your vulva.

4. Touch yourself experimentally. No goal!

5. Keep touching everyday. Experience what happens. Don’t give up!

6. Try some good vibrations.

7. Use fantasy.

At the end of the night, Solot and Timmons wrapped up their presentation by advocating healthy, consensual and ultimately enjoyable sex and sexual behavior. As college students filed out of the auditorium, possibly either to try some of the tips they learned during the program on themselves or others, their minds were inevitably filled with thoughts of sex, aphrodisiacs and all sorts of new approaches to their own sexualities.

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