Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
As Swarthmore students, like anybody living in a small, insular community, we indulge regularly in reflection on what makes us unique. And while our take on sex is just that (unique), often in ways progressive and positive, Swatties are no less susceptible to the difficulties of discussing sexuality and being sexual than the general population.
Resources like the SMART team and Worth Health Center are well-known, but there’s another group on campus looking to fill a different niche in meeting Swarthmore’s sexual (information) needs: the Sexual Health Counselors. We’re a small group of Swarthmore upperclassmen who want to be conduits of sexual information and instigators of sexual dialogue. We’re invested in the idea of reaching out to freshmen and the rest of campus, recognizing that everybody enters Swarthmore with different ideas of and experiences with sexuality.
To that end, we want to create spaces where people can get the information they need, or ask the questions they have, while feeling safe and affirmed in their own feelings about sex. We offer several options for contacting us and learning about sex at Swat. Check out our bulletin board on the first floor of Parrish, opposite the women’s restroom, where contact information for the SHCs and resources available at Worth are listed. Or, find that information and more on our blog, http://swarthmoreshc.tumblr.com. We encourage you to submit any questions you have, anonymously or openly, to this website, or to just peruse the proliferation of Internet memes and useful links we’re posting there.
There’s no end to information about sex on the web, but it’s hard to know what sources to trust; we promise to supply information that’s well supported and fact-checked. But we’re also here to provide what fact sheets and Wikipedia can’t: personalized, in-depth responses to questions ranging from sex toys to relationship issues. We hope that if you want help anywhere along that spectrum, you’ll reach out to us through the several channels we offer.
We make it our business to be informed about resources in the Philadelphia area, and make that knowledge available to you, so if you need/want treatment or advice outside of Swarthmore, please ask us about the Planned Parenthood services found in nearby towns like Media and West Chester, or the Mazzoni Center in a Philadelphia, a health-care center catering especially to the LGBT population. Later in the semester, look out for free van rides to Passional, a store near South Street in Philly that sells outfits, sex toys, and books on sex.
But we’ve got plenty happening on campus too. We just screened the movie Saved! at the first of our monthly film showings, called Cake, Condoms and Cinema, this past Friday. After fall break, we’re planning our first Sex Week at Swarthmore (Oct. 24th-28th), featuring a speaker, Parlor Party, and a Pub Nite takeover (you should probably start studying for Sex Quizzo right now). More events are in the making, and we welcome additional ideas.
Finally, we SHCs are fellow students, living in the dorms, easily identified by the condom pockets on our doors. We’ll be making our presence known by posting essential information in the dorms and, on occasion, thought-provoking and relevant posters. You can always talk to us there, and though we are connected to resources within the administration, we aren’t beholden to them – conversations with us are always confidential.
Also, we’ll be reaching out to Swatties on a consistent basis via a weekly column with the Daily Gazette. We’ll be answering questions we receive or addressing contemporary, topical issues, and we eagerly anticipate the opinionated maelstrom that is the Daily Gazette discussion boards.