Image Credit: Sexpression York Committee
Week Two of summer term was "Sexpress yourself" week. The week was filled with events about “sexpression” in order to help students talk about sex, sexual health and relationships. Events were incredibly inclusive, with the podcast ‘Brown Girls Do It’ kicking off the week, a talk about lad culture, and an open evening run by FetSoc. The Friday panel “Sexposé” wrapped up the week in style.
The campaign was run by York Sexpression. It is a branch of a larger charity, Sexpression UK, which is independent charity is led by students aiming to help young people feel empowered about the decisions they make relating to sex and sexual relationships. They have branches at 26 Universities across the UK including: Lancaster, Cardiff, Aberdeen and Oxbridge among others. The York branch released a survey called the “Great York Sex Survey” to talk to students about their sexual experiences and preferences. Comments from the survey were used as questions to ask the panel for the Sexposé itself.
The panel was the big event of the week, featuring teams and societies from the University with the Wellbeing Sabbatical Officer Steph Hayle and Sexpression member, Rowan Kitchen presenting it. The organisers mixed in formats and styles from various TV gameshows to help make the event even more interesting. Sexpression UK was founded in 2000 after UCL organised a sex education workshop for medical students that was meant to be “exploratory”. They provide lessons for students and the wider community that are “engaging and tailored to [your] group of young people”. Their “core offer” is targeting 14- 18 year olds. Their strengths as a charity come from the fact it is student led which they believe helps strengthen engagement. Young people may find it easier to discuss sex with people closer in age to them than their teachers and parents, which helps boost participation. There is an emphasis on respect within the charity that undoubtedly helps encourage an air of tolerance and empower young people. The charity hopes that as a result of their efforts, they can help push for a society where the youth can find reliable information relating to their sex and sexuality, resulting in lower rates of STIs, unwanted pregnancies and people making uninformed decisions regarding their own bodies and health.