Friday, November 4, 2011

Get Freaky Recap!

via Windy City Times, by Blair Mishleau

Everything from anal cleanliness to the benefits of kissing and cuddling before sex—and many tangents in between—were covered Oct. 25 at "Get Freaky: A sexual health forum for Men who have Sex with Men."

Approximately 50 audience members gathered for the event, held at the Center on Halsted with hosts/bloggers Feast of Fun moderating it.
It was an opportunity for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, to learn and ask about the parts of sex not covered in health class.
The forum was hosted in conjunction with Project CRYSP and LifeLube, which are both gay men's sexual health projects, as well as the Chicago Black Gay men's Caucus.
The forum is likely the last to be held in the series, which has run four times a year for the last four years, as the grant that funds the program has ended.
"We've covered all different topics," said Jim Pickett, director of prevention advocacy in gay men's health at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. "We've covered things from alcohol in the gay community to sex online to homophobia to 'what is justice for gay Black men' [ and ] trans rights—we've had a number of topics."
The three "sexpert" panelists included Gary Bucher, an anal-health specialist and director of the Anal Dysplasia Clinic Midwest; Debby Herbenick, a sex researcher and sex columnist for TimeOut Chicago; and John Stryker, a nurse practitioner at the Howard Brown Health Center.
The event started with light snacks, mingling and a series of vendors demonstrating sex toys. The panel commenced after that.
To make the panel more interactive, audience members were given clickers and asked various questions that appeared on-screen, with the audience results appearing in real time.
Some questions asked included preferred position in sex ( top, bottom, versatile, doesn't apply ) . The audience was mostly bottom, followed by versatile and then top.
Other questions asked about anal cleansing, getting tested for HIV and more. Panelists were then called upon to talk about these poll numbers, alongside greater national information.
"We try to make them feel interactive, so people feel engaged and they have the forum they want to have," Pickett said. "It really depends on the people who show up and how they interact with our panellists."
Audience members were also encouraged to ask questions, with topics like HIV prevention, anal douching and the difficulty of finding a boyfriend as gay men, being discussed.
"One of the things we always get criticized for not bringing up is 'how to get yourself a man,'" said co-host Fausto Fernos of Feast of Fun, as he introduced a question from an attendee.
Herbenick, who teaches a sexuality seminar at Indiana University, gave some advice regarding young gays trying to find long-term relationships.
"There's no easy answer, but I do think that young people do want relationships," said Herbenick. "I've been teaching college students for eight years, and I haven't seen that change at all. I think the vast majority of men and women of all orientations talk on and on about wanting relationships.
"That doesn't mean they don't have periods of sexual exploration and that sometimes people want to have one night stand. But ultimately, the majority, if not all of them, really want relationships. I think it's difficult for people to be honest with what they want and to share that."

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