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http://www.nr.uc.edu/read.asp?ID=13337

LOVE THY SELF

Annual celebration promotes masturbation

Amanda Heironimus

Senior Reporter

A young woman shouted cheers for self-love as students congregated on McMicken Commons for the Third Annual Masturbation Celebration Tuesday afternoon.

Students Supporting Sexual Expression hosted the event, inviting local groups to set up displays and present information to UC students.

"It's a celebration of self-love," said Student SSex president and third-year student David Seifert. "But its also an opportunity for local organizations to speak with students about sexual health and sexual awareness."

Representatives from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Alliance, AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati, the Power Exchange & Erotic Play Group and Planned Parenthood of Greater Cincinnati were among those handing out information and give-aways.

"We're really trying to get our name out and giving away copies of The Listings," said Emily Joy, a second year student and president of the LGBTA said. The Listings is a compilation of the gay-friendly businesses in the Cincinnati area. "It's basically the gay phone book," she added with a laugh.

With the B.O.X Trio providing a backdrop of jazz music, many students showed up for the free pizza and stayed to listen to speakers and play games. Games included a raffle and clever take on the ring toss.

Hustler Hollywood provided a variety of prizes including erotic toys and key chain whips. The Undergraduate Funding Board and the UC MainStreet initiative provided additional funding for the event.

While opinions of the event varied, most onlookers either approved enthusiastically or found the event harmless and humorous.

"I think it's great," said fourth-year student Danielle Korb. "It's the first event like this that I've seen here where people actually stopped and listened."

A small group of first-year students stood nearby after finishing their free pizza. "It's kind of weird," said Rick Durchholz. "The band's good," he added.

Seifert said that, in general, the celebration has been well received by the UC community. "A lot of people think it's funny, but every once in a while some get a little upset," he said.

Seifert described incidents in the past when students had ripped up flyers for the event in front of the organizers' faces. He also mentioned Enquirer columnist Peter Bronson's attack on last year's celebration.

"We just want to help people loosen up and talk about sex, to be a little more comfortable with themselves," Seifert said.

Joy agreed, adding she thinks it is important for people to learn about masturbation and how to get the most out of it. She lauded masturbation as the safest form of sex. "I'm a big fan," she said.

Student SSex was established on UC's campus in 1999. The group aims to educate students about the diversity of sexual expression and to promote acceptance and understanding of all forms of sexual expression.

The Masturbation Celebration was a part of the activities and informative events recognizing National Masturbation Month. According to its founders, National Masturbation Month emphasizes masturbation is natural, common, healthy and fun.

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Web-posted 5/20/2003 10:01:12 PM

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