Cur Non talk about it? Sexology comes to Lafayette

Alyssa Braver

Jill McDevitt, a nationally recognized sexologist, came to Lafayette College as part of the school’s Sex Week this past Wednesday.

McDevitt is one of the few to earn all three sexology degrees, including a PhD in Sexology. “It’s a real thing!” she assured Lafayette students as she began her lecture about communication when it comes to sex.

She stressed that while sex is pleasurable, it is something that should be taken seriously. Communication is important not only for consent, but also for a variety of other reasons including better sex.

“If you don’t communicate with your partner you can also miss out on sharing positive experiences,” she stressed, citing a Post-Secret post in which a woman talked about watching her husband’s porn. “If they only communicated they could have watched it together!”

Communication, according to McDevitt, can also lead to avoiding potential arguments if you tell your partner when you are feeling upset or worried as well as leading to better sex if you are open about what you like and dislike.

McDevitt said that while there are many positive outcomes of communicating, it is not always the easiest thing to talk about. Many people feel anxious about discussing sexual topics, as they fear rejection, disappointment, or judgment. With McDevitt’s help, students that attended the lecture were able to brainstorm several different ways to deal with anxiety and ease into the topic of sex.

One way to start communicating is by simply asking hypothetical questions to see how your partner feels about certain concepts. If you are watching a movie or television show together and a more sexual topic comes up, use it to bridge the gap when it comes to communication with your partner.

The most important rules to end the cycle of weirdness that sometimes defines talking about sex is to be confident in yourself and trusting that your partner will accept what you say as well as letting your partner know that you will accept what they will say.

McDevitt continued with saying that communicating aloud and listening to what your partner says is very important, but it is equally important to pay attention to vocal tone and nonverbal cues in order to make sure you really know what your partner wants. To demonstrate this point, McDevitt displayed a series of “gifs” in which people made different facial expressions and asked students to text in (through an anonymous system) what they thought the person was trying to communicate. While there were a few inappropriate responses, which is to be expected at a sex lecture, some of the times the responses were quite clear when it came to recognizing when a person was sarcastically agreeing to something.

Other times the non-verbal clues were not so easy to understand and thus the responses were all over the place emphasizing the importance of verbal communication as well.

Overall, the lecture was highly educational and entertaining. “It very interesting with hands on aspects and I learned a lot,” Abel Kidane ‘15 said.

“Lafayette has had a couple of young charismatic people talking about sex, but I definitely appreciated talking to an actual sexologist the most,” Costanza Davis ‘16, who attended multiple sex week events, said. “Definitely my favorite event.”