Sex toys is not commonly thought of as a topic for table talk, but during the lunch hour Nov. 19, the Center for Gender Equity once again pushed the envelope to bring the discussion “Let’s Talk About Sex…Toys” to students.

The UC Fireside Lounge wel- comed panelists physician’s assistant and assistant professor at Pacific’s Hill- sboro campus Mary Von, gender and

sexualities professor Angela Towne and a special guest from Portland’s own sex toy shop, She Bop, Melissa Petro.

The Brown Bag Discussion’s em- cee, junior Janae Sargent, first ques- tioned the panelists on the negative stigmas surrounding sex toys and mas- turbation.

She Bop’s representative easily ad- mitted that every day, she sees custom- ers walk into the store with the many negative stigmas in mind. But the most important thing to keep in mind about the negatives to masturbation and sex

toys, according to Petro, is that they are all temporary.

“Sex toys cannot make you dinner and watch a marathon of Breaking Bad with you,” she laughed.

Other concerns discussed were the possibility of not being able to orgasm with a partner after becoming accus- tomed to masturbation and sex toys.

“You can learn to orgasm from all different kinds of stimulation,” Towne assured the audience.

Towne went on to explain that the negative stigmas revolving around mas- turbation can be traced all the way back to the 18th and 19th centuries. She said during these time periods, purity was of the utmost importance and with that movement, it was necessary to eradicate all impurity, including masturbation.

Towne said this abhorring of mas- turbation and striving for purity went to extreme lengths as well. Doctors would even go as far as to perform clitorecto- mies on patients, meaning they would remove the clitoris to further prevent women from feeling sexual pleasure.

“Anything about sex outside of reproduction was seen as deviant,” said Towne. “When we started to have sex without reproduction, things started to unwind.”

But amidst some of the miscon- ceptions and close-mindedness toward sex toys, there are also many benefits to be seen, according to the panelists.

“Orgasms are better for you than puzzles,” said Petro. This is because or- gasms stimulate blood flow to the brain, causing increased brain activity.

And, as Petro explained further, sex toys can make the transition into in- tercourse more smooth.

“I really credit sex toys with enjoy- ing sex,” said Petro.

Although they may be used for pleasure, sex toys must still be used wisely. This was agreed upon by all of

the panelists.
“You need to learn how to use it,”

said Von. “Education is power.”
This education included knowing how to properly clean sex toys. Panel- ists said that sex toys are better when made out of a poreless material such as silicone, glass or metal. This way they can be cleaned simpler with soap and

water.
Furthermore, using sex toys re-

sponsibly and smartly, for Towne, means “if something hurts, stop doing

it.”
A recurring topic in the discussion

was sex toys’ role in relationships.
“I think the topic is interesting,” said senior Colleen Hunter who attend- ed the discussion with her boyfriend,

senior Chris Hale.
Petro explained that sex toys can

be used in many different ways with a partner; they are not made simply to be used solo.

Furthermore, Towne shared that statistics have shown men are far more comfortable using vibrators with their female partner than their female partner had imagined.

Even more importantly, Petro stressed that sex toys’ use are not based on sexual orientation. A sex toy used on a female can just as easily be used on a male.

This was again addressed when Sargent posed the question, “is it ‘gay’ to use a strap-on or be ‘pegged?’”

Simply, Petro answered, “If you like something in your ass, you like something in your ass. It’s not orienta- tion-based.”

Petro followed up the last ques- tion by sharing several toys that are sold at stores like She Bop. She encouraged audience members to “look for a sex toy that is versatile.” A perfect example of this was a small vibrator that was USB rechargeable. 

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