Show the “Ordinary Radicals” film in Common Grounds and get a good eight people to attend. Hold an event discussing sex and you will get standing room only. Sex: 1. Shane Claiborne: 0.
Last Thursday I went to a facilitated discussion in Common Grounds entitled “Let’s Talk about Sex, Baby”. Hosting these talks is a part of Deanna Durham’s Group Facilitation and Dynamics class. The talk featured four different speakers, Junior Chris Parks, Senior Nicole Groff, First year Isaac Schertz, and Applied Social Sciences Professor Carolyn Stauffer.
Each speaker shared his/her own experiences and viewpoints about the correlation between sex and commitment with the larger group. Then four smaller groups, with a facilitator, discussed how their opinions resonated or differed from the speakers. It opened a space, one that is not often created on this campus, to talk about our own personal fears, opinions, and experiences with sex.
Each speaker had a slightly different take on sex and commitment, fostering an environment that made me feel comfortable sharing my opinion, even if it was different than others in my group.
Nicole Groff spoke about sex being a privilege of marriage, pushing forward the idea that, until you have this type of lasting commitment, you should wait. There were people in my group who felt the same way. While I feel that sexual activity yields the best results in a relationship — not necessarily marriage — I recognize that this is not the ideal for everyone and so sometimes strong commitments serve the purpose of marriage and other times commitment is not necessary.
One thing that I appreciated about the event was that they chose strong speakers with deep convictions, who also possessed the ability to listen to others respectfully even if their opinions differed. This made it easier for the audience to do the same.
Schertz offered a differing opinion from Groff, believing that marriage wasn’t a requirement for sexual relations, reiterating however that there was nothing wrong with waiting for that commitment. He raised an excellent point about marriage in general and how it can mean different things to different people. This discussion continued in our group, something that I found refreshing.
Parks got the most personal out of all the speakers, which is probably why he was one of my favorites. He discussed his issues with intimacy and how you can balance a need for physical touch with not always engaging in sexual activity. As a campus, I believe this is something that we could explore further.
If the CLC prohibits sex outside of marriage and you are part of the group that adheres to this contract, how do you fulfill your sexual needs without breaking your contract? Furthermore, what exactly is sex these days? This was a good point brought up by Stauffer and building off of that she explored the question: Why do we have sex? What do we get out of it? These were the types of questions that were riddled throughout the whole night, prompting strong conversation from the groups.
My only critique of the night was that discussions like these are facilitated because of a class and not because EMU as a student body is actively engaging these kinds of questions and issues.
-Devon Fore, Style Editor
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