Julia Bond '09 wants Bowdoin students to start using the words "healthy" and "sex" in the same sentence.
To move along the campus conversation on healthy sex, Bond has begun a series of discussions called "Taboo Topics." During the talks, Bond presents on one aspect of sex and sexuality and then invites informal discussion from those attending.
The series has been designed as an outlet for advice and conversation about sexual topics not usually discussed on campus. Though Bond has always felt strongly about talking about sex, her interest in neuroscience also led her to start the discussion.
"I've always felt like talking about healthy sex is really important," she said. "This year my academic interest has really been solidifying in the field of sexuality. Because there's really no outlet for me to study it scientifically, this is the only outlet I've had on campus."
In addition, as an RA for Residential Life, Bond is required to do one campus-wide program every semester. This semester, she conducted an event called "Sex 101," which started the momentum for Taboo Topics.
"I used it as a launch pad about having healthy sex on campus," she said. "After that, it's been me and the people willing to help."
Following the successful "Sex 101," Bond held a talk on female masturbation at the Women's Resource Center, which, like her first talk, was well-attended.
Though groups such as Safe Space and BMASV are active on campus, Bond said that there also needed to be an outlet for talking about sex in a different light.
"I think that groups on campus for sexual assault awareness and prevention and support are really great, but that's only one part of what sex should be on a campus."
Bond said that although Bowdoin students generally value open discussion, sex could be discussed far more than it is.
"Even on campuses that may be perceived as more 'liberal,' I think it's still important to have a semi-structured forum to talk about healthy sex," she said. "How to achieve really good sex isn't really talked about here, at least not in a public way."
Thus far, Bond has found that people have enjoyed the small, informal discussions, and have also been comfortable sharing their experiences.
"I think that this sort of environment provides the opportunity for people who want to learn and are interested in sharing to expand their horizons," she said.
Though some can be hesitant to participate at first, Bond said that the atmosphere at the talks is fed by the fact that the people who attend the discussions are all eager to be there.
"The general feeling is that those who come to the discussions are people that really want to talk about it."
In addition to participating in the talks, Bond said she would also like it if others stepped up and wanted to lead as well.
"I don't want to be in control of this all the time because it's a campus issue," she said. "I sort of started it before I set up a base for it, so hopefully I'll evolve a core of people who are interested in keeping it going."
Even if students are just interested in listening, Bond said she wants to hear what the campus is interested in learning about in the future.
"I would really love to have feedback from people on campus," she said.
Thus far, Bond said that she has received only positive responses, and that she has enjoyed Taboo Topics as well.
"I have had a blast," she said. "I learned stuff too. People spoke up, and I thought there was just a really good atmosphere and space."
"There's a whole lot of information about sex out there, but you've got to pick other people's brains," she added.
Dates and times of upcoming talks are posted on the Peer Health bulletin board in Smith Union. The next talk, focused on oral sex, will be held on Tuesday, November 13 at 8 p.m. at Quinby House.