What even is it? And, furthermore, what kind of conversations can people have about it?
As health educators sought to prove at the “Ask the Sexpert” event at Dotters Books last weekend, there’s a lot more that makes up discussions of sex than simply sex itself, such as STIs, pregnancy, orgasms, consent and basic knowledge about anatomy.
Lucky Tomaszek — a sexuality educator, writer of the column “MKE SEX,” educator coordinator for The Tool Shed and contributor to “The Ultimate Guide to Sex Through Pregnancy and Motherhood” — hosted the event at Dotters Books to educate locals on the topic of sex by answering anonymous questions from the audience.
Tomaszek works at the The Tool Shed, “an erotic boutique” based in Milwaukee, as a teacher for classes on sex education. The Tool Shed offers sex toys and has a mission driven by an education focus.
Tomaszek said most questions people have, other people are curious about as well.
“I had been doing events with sex education for six years, and they’re all pretty much the same,” Tomaszek said. “I start with a blank card on every seat and people can write down their questions about sexual health and sexual pleasure, and that’s a huge range of topics.”
Tomaszek began the “sexpert” event by listing numerous topics that pertained to her expertise.
“Here’s a list of some topics that might set a list of questions for you: birth control — hormonal and nonhormonal — STI prevention, what to do when you’re diagnosed with an STI, pregnancy,” Tomaszek said. “How to not get pregnant, questions about sex during pregnancy, your period, menopause, male dysfunction, sex after injury, sex during or after illness, sex toys, condoms, lubricants, having sex for the first time or not having sex at all.”
One of the topics that Tomaszek focused on at the event was the basic definition of sex and consent.
“Personally, I have two definitions for sex,” Tomaszek said. “Solo sex is touching your body in any way that brings you sexual pleasure, with or without orgasm. And partnered sex is all the different ways that two or more people can share their bodies with the mutual and consensual goal of sexual pleasure, with or without orgasm.”
“That definition must include all types of people and all kinds of physical contact, as well an affirmation that not only does ‘no’ mean no, but only ‘yes’ means yes,” Tomaszek added.
Those in attendance came with varied questions and discussion topics, from the concept of virginity to slut-shaming and pregnancy.
Tomaszek said she wanted everyone to feel welcome and comfortable by the open discussion. She discussed how college students often struggle with how to ask questions, even when asking potentially embarrassing things can save someone from later problems.
Margaret Leonard and Jill Heinke Moen, the owners of Dotters Books, said they are trying to connect to the community by hosting new events and inviting the public to join the conversation.
“This is a new event and we’re trying to do more of these,” Moen said.
Angell can be reached at [email protected].