SAMARA BENZA, Features Editor—If there’s one area where the American education system is failing the children of this country, it’s in teaching them about sex and sexual health; only 17-out-of-50 states in the nation require sex education to be medically accurate, and only three ban religion from being taught in sex-ed courses (Ohio is among neither). Since all of us here at Denison are products of this compromised system, it stands to reason our knowledge is lacking in some areas. Thus, two Denison students have joined forces to create Denison’s first comprehensive, inclusive, culturally-sensitive and nonjudgemental sexual health publication: (It’s) My Pleasure.
Nalani Wean, ‘21, studying public health from Wilmette, Illinois and Casey Land, ‘22, majoring in creative writing from Villa Hills, Kentucky looked at the sex education in the United States and realized we need to do better. Wean explains: “every state is different, every county is different, every district is different” when it comes to educating people about sex. There is no consistency, Wean and Land hope to change that.
Wean got the idea when she was “thinking about [her] sex ed, or lack thereof and….[she] was thinking specifically about W101’s.” Writing 101’s are Denison’s way of standardizing the English and literature curriculum. Wean explained she was thinking about writing 101 and question “Why don’t we have that for sex ed?” Thus, (It’s) My Pleasure was born.
Wean contacted Land because of her experience with journalism and publishing and asked her to help. Land jumped on board when she thought of her own sex ed experience: “I started reflecting back on my sex ed experience and I realized how poor it was and how that impacted me coming into college, just like so unaware that I needed to learn about it.”
Land expands on the idea for the publication. “Our idea is to have something that is informative… a place where information can be shared for students and also where students can come and share the information that they have. So it’ll be collaborative.”
Land stresses the importance of knowing about hookup culture, hooking up on a small college campus, and hooking up while drinking — “It can really affect people from different backgrounds who maybe haven’t learned as much as others or who haven’t learned at all or maybe learned a ton but threw it out because it was high school.”
(It’s) My Pleasure had a table at the winter involvement fair and posed the question “What do you wish you learned in sex ed?” The answers were abundant, Wean explained people wanted to know “anything and everything.”
Land “hopes that we’ll create a safer culture environment…Starting a conversation about [STI’s and assault] will hopefully clarify things and make [students] a little more comfortable to talk.”
Wean summarizes the publication by saying, “Essentially the point is to give students the opportunity to access the information and then act out that information in the way they deserve to.” It’ll be “easily accessible and a casual way to get this information out” Land explains.
Denison has a very diverse community and Land and Wean want to make sure all people in the sexuality spectrum have the ability to share their stories too. Wean states, “We don’t want to write about things we don’t have experience in.”
When it comes down to the basics, Wean explains, “It’s also about giving students the platform to make use of it and actually practice it in our daily lives” no matter where you stand on the spectrum or what your experiences are.
They’ll be sending out applications for higher editor positions soon so keep an eye out!
Interested in writing? Weekly meetings are on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. in Burton Morgan room 219. If you have ideas or want to write but don’t know where to begin, Land and Wean want to see you there!
If you want more information you can follow the publication on Instagram @itsmypleasure_du or email them at [email protected]