Not your typical sex talk

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Alexis Gardner | agardner5@radford.edu

For some crazy reason, I thought it would be cool to go to this sex talk (okay so I had to go for a class), but I was totally surprised by the presentation Justine Shuey gave. It was honestly so funny and uncensored, but unfortunately, the majority of the things she said cannot be printed. I would say that my jaw was dropped for pretty much the whole time because I was just in shock of what she was saying and how she was saying it.

Shuey’s unfiltered presentation, “Not Your Typical Sex Talk,” drew a crowd of more than 60 students to Radford University’s Bonnie Auditorium at 7 p.m. April 11. The audience included mostly women; only four men were in attendance.

Being a sex doctor is not common, but when Shuey found out such a job existed, she was immediately engrossed. She took a human sexuality course at college and could not help thinking how cool it would be to be a sex doctor. That’s how it all began.

Fast forward to present day: Shuey holds a doctorate degree in human sexuality from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality and is a certified sexuality educator and consultant.

Shuey mainly talked about sex, love, healthy relationships, and communication. From the beginning, Shuey was excited and ready to go. The first thing she talked about was sexuality. On the screen behind her there was a chart called “The Circle of Sexuality.” Some may think sexuality is just about sex, Shuey’s chart showed that it includes sensuality, intimacy, sexual identity, and sexual health and reproduction. She then moved on to talk about love. “I think it’s really important to understand the three stages of falling in love,” Shuey said.

The first stage? Lust. “Lust is your body trying to get you laid,” Shuey said. The next stage: romantic attraction, when one is usually love struck. “When you’re in this stage of falling in love, it’s like your brain is on cocaine.” Finally, the last stage of falling in love is attachment.

Shuey also talked about love as it relates to healthy relationships. Shuey gave the acronym S.H.A.R.E. to help define healthy relationships: safety, honesty, acceptance, respect, and ­­– lastly – enjoyment. “If you’re not having fun in a relationship, what’s the point?” Shuey emphasized that while in relationships, one should be able to speak up, compromise, and be supportive. “You want to make sure you are both pushing each other to be your best selves,” Shuey said. At the same time, Shuey talked about how the need for boundaries, personal time and space that allows for both togetherness and individuality. Most importantly though she said that, “you just need to be honest with your partner.”

The opposite of a healthy relationship is the one portrayed in the novel “50 Shades of Grey.” Shuey refers to the book as “50 shades of horrible writing,” and said the book promotes unhealthy relationships and paints abuse as normal. People ended up using the book as a how-to manual and got hurt trying to copy what was happening in the book, she said. People need to know what a healthy relationship looks like, and they need to understand consent. “Consent is not a conversation. It’s about people doing things that they clearly desire,” she said. “Consent needs to be clear, coherent, willing, and ongoing.”

“You need consent every time,” Shuey said. And it cannot ever be given when someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. “I want you to have the most mind blowing sex every time,” so just wait to have sex until being sober, because chances are the memory of it probably will not be that clear. The issue of consent is important, Shuey said, because we live in a rape culture. “The conversation shouldn’t be ‘don’t get raped’ it should be ‘don’t f******’ rape people.” Shuey said she often thinks of an image on the screen she had of a woman holding a poster filled with phrases common in victim blaming: “I drank too much. I flirted. My shorts were too short. I was asking for it.”

Even where there is consent, Shuey said, people need to know about safer sex and how to practice it. The information had to be new for some members of the audience. There were audible gasps as she ran down a list of topics: condoms, abstinence, contraceptives, celibacy, dental dams, and finger clots.

At the end, Shuey took questions anonymously via text. The audience was clearly engaged as they sought advice about relationships, sex, masturbation, threesomes, and oral sex.

Before Shuey began her talk, freshman Morgan Lesesne attended Shuey’s talk because she wanted to lean more about what sexologists do. The freshman hopes to be a sexologist someday. Lesesne said she enjoyed the presentation and it taught her information she didn’t know.

It may have been a sex talk, but Shuey did not leave out those who are virgins or who choose abstinence. Even though sex can be an uncomfortable topic, sex is not everything. It is important to remember that, “You can have a totally healthy relationship without having sex.”