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University's 'Sex App' Promotes Kinky Sex

University's 'Sex App' Promotes Kinky Sex

[Warning: This article refers to explicit content that some readers may find offensive.]

The University of Oregon has developed some creative strategies to keep its students happy. In partnership with the University’s Division of Student Affairs, the Office of the Dean of Students, and the Sexual Wellness Advocacy Team (SWAT), among others, the University Health Center plans to unveil a new smartphone app called “SexPositive” on October 15.

The sex app provides students with “sexual health information” that is “shame-free” and “judgment-free.” It will be launched through a series of “sex positive” campus events, including a talk by Dan Savage–the sex columnist who sparked controversy in 2012 with a rant against “bullsh–in the Bible” during a speech to high school students and then ridiculed Christian students who protested. (Savage later apologized, sort of.)

According to the University website, the sex-positive approach “makes no moral judgments… and promotes all forms of sexuality and consensual sexual experience” on “equal footing” with the decision to abstain from sex. The app emphasizes an array of sexual choices and delivers information about STI risks, “safer sex” practices, communication, and “healthy advice.”

A demo shows features of the full “SexPositive” app–and it is graphic and explicit. Users first select a particular body part (such as mouth, vagina, finger, or anus) from a spinning wheel of options. They match it to “another body part or object,” choosing options that range from body parts to things like “restraints,” “vibrator,” “anal plug,” or even “stuffed animals.” Once the match is made, the app offers the user a menu of choices to learn more about that particular sexual behavior.

The app claims to promote sexual health by offering students a list of STIs “associated” with the chosen behavior, with touch-screen access to specific information about each STI. Viewers receive a pop-up prompt suggesting they call the University Health Center and set up a confidential appointment. The “Safer Sex Practices” tab shows the “latex barriers” needed for the chosen sexual behavior, offers communication tips for talking about safer sex, and gives practical advice such as: “See/smell some funky discharge? Don’t put your mouth down there.”

The spinning wheel approach–which presents all sexual behaviors as equally “shame-free” options–is not the only feature of the app likely to generate controversy. The app includes crude, kinky video demonstrations of “safer sex” practices, along with student volunteers role-playing ways to obtain consent, negotiate boundaries, or inform a sex partner of possible STI risks.

For example, the “Communication & Advice” tab emphasizes the need for a partner’s consent to sexual activity and includes a list of “sexy” ways to get consent, including questions such as: “Do you like it when I pull your hair?” or “Is tonight a missionary, doggie, or mantis night?” or simply, “Wanna F—?”

The videos, which feature lesbian and gay pairs as well as straight couples, also demonstrate ways to request “safer sex,” initiate “awkward” conversations (telling a partner you have herpes) and negotiate “boundaries.”

The “boundaries” vignette shows a female student surprising her male partner with a pair of handcuffs and suggesting they use them for “super hot” sex. The male student (demonstrating appropriate use of the recommended “I” statements) sets boundaries by expressing concern that handcuffs might make sex “less personal.” He proposes instead that they visit a “sex shop” together and find “toys” they both like.

The University of Oregon has a history of welcoming the “sex positive” approach. It offers students two credits per semester (up to three semesters) for joining the University’s Sexual Wellness Advocacy Team (SWAT). The student-led SWAT team, which produced many of the videos in the SexPositive app, provides “fun, sex-positive workshops” for “classes, residence halls, clubs, and other student groups.” The guiding principle? SWAT “believe[s] in all kinds of sex, including (but not limited to): homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, transgender, queer, multiple partner, choice of no sex, as long as it is consensual.”

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