On Monday, Oct. 7, Hindle Auditorium was filled to capacity as the Sexual Health Advocates Group (SHAG) presented “The Down Low on Hooking Up” with Laci Green. Known for her education program, “Sex+!”, Laci Green is an avid YouTuber (or vlogger) from the San Francisco Bay area. She also hosted and produced “A Naked Notion” sponsored by Planned Parenthood and presented and wrote for “Discovery News” in partnership with the Discovery Channel.
A 2011 graduate of UC Berkeley in Legal Studies and Education, Green can easily relate to the collegiate atmosphere and resulting relationships. According to Green, 91 percent of college students believe that “hook-up” culture is a “big part of their college campus.” While the meaning of the term “hooking up” varies according to the person using it, Green underscored the general attitude of a “casual” and “careless” relationship, one in which alcohol is often involved. On average, a college student will have seven hookups throughout their academic career, a number slightly skewed by those who have more than ten and the nearly one-quarter of students who do not have any.
Green admitted that she was “a little worried” about the hook-up culture, especially the discrepancy between what someone actually wants and what they tell their partner they want.
“One of the big problems is our fear of connecting with someone,” said Green. “We think it’s not okay to acknowledge that we have something with this person, even if it is just sex.”
Additionally, Green emphasized the importance of communication (especially verbal) in any type of sexual relationship. Though there may be some embarrassment or nervousness about how one’s partner will react, Green advised the audience “to be okay with the awkwardness” as the potential benefits of improving the relationship would likely outweigh that brief moment of discomfort.
Green also exposed the disparity between male and female satisfaction in heterosexual encounters, while noting that females in lesbian relationships were much more fulfilled than their straight counterparts. She discouraged the females in the audience from faking their orgasms, as she sees this as a form of poor communication that will only perpetuate bad sexual experiences.
Not wanting to overlook the “ugly” side of sex, Green talked about some of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Wanting to remove the stigma of STIs, Green emphasized that often they are not different than any other type of infection, saying “people get sick all the time.”
Green stressed the importance of taking protective measures, such as using dental dams, condoms, or even getting the Gardasil shot in addition to the importance of getting tested. From relatively mild STIs like chlamydia to incurable HIV/AIDs, finding out that one is infected is essential to procuring the proper treatment. For instance, Green shared the shocking fact that over the past two years, a strain of gonorrhea has developed that is anti-biotic resistant and now composes approximately one-third of all cases.
Reactions to the presentation were generally positive. Caroline Costa ’17 noted, “Laci Green is a really good representative of the new era of sexuality. She’s to the point and honest compared to high school sex education.
This sex-positive stance also directly connects to Green’s efforts as a third-wave feminist. In the following Q&A session, Green was asked about how she dealt with the typically misogynistic environment on YouTube and her campaign against slut-shaming.
She admitted that while she does not upload as many videos as she did in the past, she found that as long as she does not read the comments after two days, she avoids most of the animosity. From her experience, her very first viewers were her supporters or subscribers, but after the time span of two days the negativity proliferated.
With regards to her campaign against slut-shaming, Laci Green acknowledged that it is a “process of unlearning.” It takes society a conscious effort to not place women into a certain category due to the decisions they make with their bodies or their personal style. Although to some this may appear to be an insurmountable task, Laci Green shows no sign of slowing her efforts.
“I do this because it pains me to see these problems go unresolved,” she said.
And judging by the large amount of people at Hindle Auditorium, Wheaton students don’t want these issues to fade into obscurity, either.