Program focuses on sex

By Jen Bland

Let’s talk about sex.

“Sexual Assertiveness for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual People” will do just that. The discussion begins at 12:30 p.m. today at University Resources for Women on the corner of Normal Road and Lincoln Highway.

Barb Zuber and Susan Powell, psychologists at the Counseling and Student Developing Center are presenting the program. They will help inform students how to deal with various sexual situations, such as how to get a partner to use a condom, and how to say no and get the message across.

Brian Turkaly, co-president of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Coalition (LGBC), said the program was triggered by the upcoming World AIDS Day.

“We wanted to do something in cooperation with World AIDS Day and this was the best thing we could think of with the time constraints,” he said.

Powell said sex is something that is not often addressed in society, so people tend to rely on nonverbal communication, which is dangerous. When people rely on nonverbal communication too many questions go unanswered.

She said the topic of sex is discussed even less in the arena of homosexuality.

“We have a difficult time talking about sex and, in relationships, it’s important to get through these barriers. If someone is considering becoming sexually active, it’s important to understand safe sex,” Zuber said.

There is a lot of information being offered about safe sex and many organizations hand out condoms, Turkaly said, but how many people listen to this information or use condoms?

The discussion will present information and conduct experience exercises to help students learn how to be assertive, Powell said. She said the purpose of the discussion is to learn where students are coming from and to offer suggestions.

Turkaly said the discussion will help students learn how to negotiate safe sex with partners and, if students choose to abstain, how to be assertive.

If someone is considering becoming sexually active, it is important to learn how to recognize barriers and to learn how to communicate their needs and what they want from a partner, Zuber said.