‘Sextalk’ Offers Frank Advice

For students who find talking about sex to be just plain awkward, Harvard’s Peer Contraceptive Counselors (PCC) are here to help, although they won’t tell you who to date.

“Guy, guy, girl, girl, partner, partner; whoever you love,” said PCC co-director Justine R. Lescroart ’09, a former Crimson columnist and active editorial editor.

“Or whoever you want to have sex with,” added PCC counselor Marianna B. Tu ’09, to laughter from the audience.

In an open discussion last night in Ticknor Lounge entitled “Sextalk: How to get what you want (in bed),” an intimate audience was given an overview of topics ranging from improving communication with a sexual partner to the basics of hormonal contraception.

Using a variety of visual aids, PCC representatives walked the audience through the basics of sex, relationships, and contraception.

PCC co-director Cesar J. Lopez ’09 said that his organization offers an outlet for students who would rather not talk to medical professionals.

“Sometimes it’s difficult for people to talk about these sensitive issues in the context of the healthcare system,” Lopez said. “A peer counseling system helps lower these barriers.”

Throughout the presentation, the counselors stressed the importance of open communication with a partner.

“Sometimes it can be intimidating to talk about serious things with your partner,” Lescroart said.

The handful of students who attended said they found the presentation very informative.

“I feel like we need more help in knowing how to handle intimate encounters,” one female senior, who asked not to be named, said. “I appreciate that [PCC] presents a matter of fact attitude towards sex: that you can just be yourself and communicate. ”

One gray-haired male attendee stood out among the predominantly female and undergraduate audience. A 1982 graduate of the College, he had stumbled upon the presentation on his way out of another event.

“This wouldn’t have happened 10 to 15 years ago,” he said, referring to the frank nature of the presentation. “Except for ‘Our Bodies, Ourselves’—we would steal our girlfriends’ copies.”

Although she acknowledged the difficulty of getting people to attend a public event devoted to talking about sex, Lescroart said she considered the event a success.

“It’s the kind of thing that people would love to be dragged to, but might not want to come on their own,” she said. “But when they do come, they learn about options they didn’t even know existed for a happier and healthier sex life.”