Students talk sex at Residential College forum

By Rachel Premack, Daily Staff Reporter
Published January 24, 2013

LSA sophomore Adam Molnar is the leader of Sex Forum, a Residential College student forum that discusses masturbation, fetishes and a myriad of other topics that would make most high school sex education teachers blush.

His parents are okay with it.

“They’re all for it; they thought it was a good idea,” Molnar said. “They also don’t understand why it’s so hard to receive sexual information that’s not from an awkward, older adult figure.”

That’s just one goal of Sex Forum which is in its seventh year. The group educates its members on contraceptives and safe sex practices, often using demonstrative condoms and dental dams. There are also occasional field trips to Ann Arbor’s Safe Sex Store.

“Last meeting they asked us what we wanted to learn about," Irani said. "Topics varied from BDSM to asexuality to sexual fetishes, and it all sounds so interesting to me.”

At each meeting, the 10-person group discusses a few issues selected by forum members. Molnar said an upcoming meeting will discuss rape, hook-up and college sex cultures. In the past, the group has watched documentaries on various topics including BDSM as well as videos in the media that portray gender roles unfairly.

RC forums are student groups that focus on an interests including art, LGBTQ issues or film. RC students can get credit for their involvement, and most courses meet for an hour a week.

“It’s also a place where you’re not receiving opinions or, ‘This is what I think,’” Molnar said. “We’re trying to give each other facts. It’s not just like talking with your friends like, ‘So, what do you think about this?’ and just getting an opinion that could be unsubstantiated.”

One event at the forum is the Gender Panel. The panel consists of members of one sex who respond to anonymous questions from members of the other sex.

“(It included) a bunch of very sexual questions that I feel like a lot people — especially young people — think about but have essentially no outlet to find an answer and then have educated peers to receive the opinions of.”

Molnar said it’s important that the group is comfortable with each other. Anything said at the meetings does not leave the room.

“The idea is to get the atmosphere comfortable because everyone is very exposed at the moment.”

With less-somber topics, it’s common to keep the environment light — cue decorative condoms. Last semester, the group made pins out of condoms decorated with magazine pictures for backpack decoration.

“There are many innuendos that come up,” Molnar said of discussions in general. “It’s a funny topic.”

LSA freshman Katherine Irani joined the forum this semester, but is looking forward to the learning opportunity.

“I'm interested in sexuality as a whole and am thinking about studying it so I kind of wanted to learn as much as I can through as many resources as possible.”

Molnar said a discussion-based sexual-health student group is rare on campus, describing other sexual health groups as “more pedantic.”

“It’s a safe place to learn and ask about sexuality that you normally wouldn’t be able to,” Molnar said. “(Members) gain a sort of security within themselves in the fact that they know about sex more. I’ve learned things that I’ve always wondered about that had I not been given that opportunity to learn those things that I would still be confused about.”