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‘Sexy in a safe way’: Sextravaganza discusses sexual health, inclusion, positivity

De Neve Commons, where the Sextravaganza event was hosted, is pictured. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Nick Levie and Molly Gurland

Feb. 17, 2024 6:47 p.m.

Tuesday’s Sextravaganza kicked off Valentine’s Day festivities with a sex-positive start.

Sextravaganza is a resource fair distributing information on safe sex, sex education and campus services for UCLA student residents hosted by UCLA’s Resilience in Your Student Experience Center, said Wayne Nichols, leadership development coordinator at UCLA’s Residential Life. Campus organizations came together at De Neve Commons to offer resources, contraceptives, activities and more just in time for Valentine’s Day.

The sex positivity event aims to help students navigate love and sexual relationships in a fun, interactive way, said Kayla Bryant-Dunmire, assistant resident director of UCLA Residential Life.

Nichols said students from all backgrounds struggle to find spaces, events and programs that openly discuss and celebrate sex. He added that sex education is particularly important in college because many students experience more freedom than before.

“This isn’t something to shy away from. You’re all becoming adults, you’re all growing up, you’re all getting your first life experiences with a lot of this stuff,” Nichols said.

Jocelyn Granados, a first-year statistics student, said she did not have adequate resources and information regarding sex education in high school, adding that she thinks it is great that UCLA is addressing these topics through events such as Sextravaganza.

Sextravaganza also included representation from the LGBTQ Campus Resource Center and other student organizations that supply sexual health resources and products, Nichols said.

Organizations like UCLA’s Health Education and Resource Team and Campus Assault Resources and Education handed out contraceptives, informational pamphlets and stickers to attendees, while RISE hosted activities including a tasting of aphrodisiac foods and bouquet making.

Granados said the word of free glow-in-the-dark condoms was one of the factors that motivated her to attend.

In addition to the many organizations holding informational booths, Sextravaganza also hosted a panel amplifying diverse student perspectives on sexual health, inclusion and positivity.

Featured in the panel, Augustine Udukumbura, a fourth-year gender studies and sociology student and advocate for the LGBTQ Campus Resource Center, said queer-identifying labels are not meant to limit students or deny their existence, but to create a space for expression and self-acceptance.

“Creating an inclusive environment for everyone: a lot of it is centered around language,” they said. “I think we should be mindful about how people have sex, their various positionalities, their lived experiences.”

Chelsey Lu, a resident assistant and second-year human biology and society student, said she often needs to approach conversations around sex because it is such a common feature of dorm life and the college experience.

Lu said the table that resonated with her most was the one hosted by CARE, which promoted a confidential aftermath resource for students dealing with sexual trauma.

“A lot of residents need to know that RA’s ourselves are non-confidential in terms of reporting to Title IX,” Lu said. “CARE is a really essential resource in giving residents the chance to say everything they need to say, but know that they get to choose what they do with information that’s revealed.”

By bringing together different groups in an on-campus event, Sextravaganza offers students an opportunity to access resources, continue their personal education and discover their own sexual identity, Nichols said.

Bryant-Dunmire added that a way UCLA could spread more awareness on the topic is by promoting resources such as Be Well Bruin, a new resource list the university is endorsing to connect students with sex education and mental health resources. She added that overall, the event aims to promote inclusivity and support.

“A fun, cheeky side of it makes it easier to digest and kind of call out the elephant in the room that sex is okay,” Bryant-Dunmire said. “Sex is great, and here are some tools and resources to help you be sexy in a safe way.”

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