Some people say sex is like air: you only worry about it when you’re not getting any.
An on-campus event Wednesday will provide a breath of fresh air for both heavy breathers and those holding it in.
The UCSB Sex and Relationship Interns will host the “Sex Affair,” a sexual health and diversity fair, Wednesday on the Women’s Center lawn from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will feature interactive exhibits and student groups providing information on topics ranging from birth control to sex toys.
“This is not just for people who are having sex,” said Michelle Lemire, a member of Sex and Relationship Interns. “Even if you’re not sexually active, you could take the knowledge back to your friends, and you could use it should you decide to become sexually active.”
All exhibits will be inside the “Tunnel of Love,” 30-foot tunnel made with adjoining tents. Inside, participants will be able to handle sex toys and birth control devices while reading about them. This is the first time the event has been held in this format. It was previously known as the Safer Sex Fair and held in Storke Plaza.
The tunnel will also include an exhibit on sexually transmitted infections. More than 12 million new cases of STIs occur every year in the United States, and approximately two-thirds of people who acquire STIs in the U.S. are under the age of 25.
Lemire said she hoped the exhibit on anal sex could change a common misconception on the subject.
“Many people think only homosexuals have anal sex,” Lemire said. “But actually, 20 percent of heterosexuals on campus engage in it, and for the most part, condoms are not used. That’s why it’s important to inform people on how to do it correctly and safely.”
The first 500 people through the tunnel will receive a “goody bag” that contains a free condom, lube and instructions on how to use both. The bag will also include a resource sheet of places on campus where students can receive counseling on sex or relationship matters.
“We’re hoping everyone can use the bags to take home info from all the other exhibits and groups who will be there,” Lamire said.
Among the groups tabling will be Planned Parenthood, Queer Student Union, Students Stopping Rape, Men Against Rape and the Healthy Eating and Living Interns. Other groups include the Sex-perts, who run a sex information website through the Sociology Dept., and the Santa Barbara Helpline, which provides counseling on everything from relationship crises to rape.
The event, sponsored by the Sex and Relationship Interns, the Residence Hall Association and the Women’s Center, will also feature condom and dental dam races, where participants will learn to use the items properly and then race against one another in applying and making them.
“Speed is obviously not the issue when you’re actually using these things,” Lamire said. “That’s the main message: Don’t skip steps, don’t take shortcuts.”
The Women’s Ensemble Theater Troupe will give a live performance of student-written monologues. Naked Voices and Planned Parenthood’s Breakthrough Theater will also perform.
Lemire said she hoped the tunnel would encourage people to participate who otherwise would have been too timid.
“With the tunnel, it’s something where you can go inside and not feel like someone’s going to accost you and scream, ‘Let’s talk about sex!'”