Free food filled the Den; wine and beer were sold at reduced price; condoms littered the tables. What event am I describing? None other than Sex Trivia hosted by Residential Life and the Feminist Collective.
This past week has been Bates College Sex Week, a week full of events and activities meant to spark conversation regarding consent, safe behaviors, and positivity. Already, the week involved a sex-positive a Cappella concert, an aphrodisiac cooking class, and several informative conversations.
Around 8:50pm Saturday night, the Den started to fill with eager trivia participants forming sex-themed groups. Team names were creative, such as “Dirty G,” “Academic Challenge,” and “The Nasty Women.” Giggles and light chatter filled the air as the Trivia coordinators Taryn Bedard ’18 and Anna Luiza Mendonca ’18 signed people up, distributed response cards, and talked with friends.
Part of Sex Week is getting students excited to talk about sexual health, behaviors, and preferences; Sex Trivia expertly covered all of these topics. Bedard and Mendonca led 6 rounds of 10 questions each with themes varying from “History” to “Fun Facts” to “Non-traditional Sex.” Questions addressed many aspects of sexual life, such as “What proportion of European babies were conceived on an Ikea bed?” (10%) and “What percent of the population has sex once a day?” (5%). The questions also addressed the orgasm gap among heterosexual couples by asking the percent orgasm rate for both male and female partners in such relationships (men orgasm 78% of the time, women orgasm around 26% of the time). Other questions asked “In which state do you need parental permission before getting a wax if you are under 18 years old?” (Missouri).
Between rounds, trivia participants took breaks to get drinks and free food, while volunteer table-runners counted points and tallied results. Dining Services provided mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers, spanakopita, and pigs in a blanket; these snacks were quickly consumed by participants and observers alike.
While many participants may have been motivated by food, others may have been motivated by the prizes. Fleshlights, lubricants, a sexy card game, sensual wax, sex tape, vibrators, dildos, and vibrating rings were all in the running to be won by a team or individual. Bedard and Mendonca explained that they had so many toys that each member of the winning, second place, and third place teams could win an item! Batesies walked away with some prizes worth up to $49.99; all trivia participants could grab the free condoms on tables (provided by Planned Parenthood), so each person walked away with something useful in addition to the knowledge gained through trivia.
While I was observing the festivities, I noticed many people who were not playing all the rounds but had happened upon Sex Trivia on their visit to the Den and wanted to join in the fun. These groups had sat down at the high tables in the den, faced towards the TV where questions were displayed, and chatted amongst themselves trying to figure out the answers. Though they weren’t in the running to win any of the prizes, these Batesies still wanted to learn and discuss sex and health in a casual atmosphere.
As I walked away from the Den towards the rest of my evening, I contemplated the success of Sex Trivia; it is inclusive, fun, student-lead events like these that make me proud to be a Bobcat.