Some topics are politely left out of the classroom, but one group on campus encourages conversation on those normally taboo topics.
FemSex is an 11-week workshop on female sexuality, and it covers a wide range of topics throughout each semester. It is an initiative by the ETSU Counseling Center’s OASIS, Outreach and Advocacy: Sexuality Information for Students, and it is in its 14th semester.
On January 25, an interest meeting for the workshop was held to explain what the course is and how to apply.
“It’s really just like the only safe space of its kind to have conversations about these topics,” said Kate Emmerich, ETSU senior counselor. “It’s so important to women’s empowerment and just finding a comfortable space to be honest about what’s really going on for women without feeling like they’re doing or saying something wrong.”
Emmerich and Jessica Cook, a graduate assistant with the counseling center, led the interest meeting. Fourteen people attended, which was far more than the facilitators anticipated.
“Last semester was my first semester doing this, and we had maybe eight people, so this was wonderful,” Cook said.
Those interested in participating were given a schedule for the group and invited to fill out an application, so the facilitators can get to know more about the applicants and see if they are a “good fit” for the class, according to Emmerich.
The workshop discusses topics like body image, gender identify, boundaries, sex and more. Each week has a new topic to discuss and activities to go along with the discussion. Participants are also added into a D2L class for the workshop, where they are encouraged to write journals for additional discussion.
The group meets on Thursday nights, usually for 2.5 hours.
The group is encouraged to not bring friends to meetings to keep the space private for conversation. Participants are also asked not to discuss what other participants have said in class without that person’s permission.
Emmerich and Cook want the group to be a safe environment for students.
“I think it’s important to have a safe space—especially now,” Cook said. “Considering everything going on politically and socially—not that it’s a dangerous time, but it can be tough to talk about these things, especially when you see everything that’s going on in the world.”
Anyone interested in the course can apply during the next session in the fall semester.