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College hosts discussion on sex

Sarah Mayer | Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Resident Assistants at Saint Mary’s Holy Cross Hall hosted a dorm-wide event called “Sex & Candy” for all residents Monday. Guests dined on chocolate-covered strawberries and M&M’s as they listened to a panel discussion of sex.

Health Center staffers Cathe DeCleene and Cindy Horton-Cavanaugh were present to help end myths women have about sex and sexually transmitted diseases.

The event was spearheaded by sophomore resident assistant Mary Beth Gizinski.

“We wanted to have this event because we feel like students are so uninformed and perpetuate the myths they hear,” Gizinski said.

DeCleene cited television shows as reasons many myths are created.

“Shows like ‘Gossip Girl’ often have misinformation about sex.” DeCleene said. “It is not just recent shows, ‘Seinfeld’ often presented many myths. If you just came to the counseling center or health center you would realize these myths are not true.”

Horton-Cavanaugh discussed the dangers of STDs.

“Certain STDs you may have symptoms with,” she said. However, “HPV very rarely has symptoms unless it is the high-risk kind that causes cancer.”

HPV vaccinations are now given to girls as early as age nine because if women receive the vaccine between ages 9-25 it is covered under insurance, Horton-Cavanaugh said.

“There will be an STD screening at Saint Mary’s in the near future,” Horton-Cavanaugh said. “It will only cost $10 whereas normal screenings cost over $300.”

STDs usually surface three years from the day they are contracted. STDs won’t appear right away in 93 percent of people who don’t smoke.

The panel also discussed the emotional aspects of being sexually active.

“Being sexually active is a learning and growing process,” Horton-Cavanaugh said.

The panel said it is important to be empowered when it comes to sex. Women are not objects to fulfill someone else’s pleasure.

“A good age to have sex is when you are emotionally ready,” Horton-Cavanaugh said.

Ultimately it is important to form a relationship, Horton-Cavanaugh said. She said it is important to have face-to-face contact without the texting and instant messaging. Sometimes a friendship is needed before any kind of sexual relationship begins.

At the end of the evening, before a hall-wide “Gossip Girl” watch, Holy Cross Hall Director Terrie Paul encouraged everyone to “check into the Health Center if you have any problems.”