Condom Conversation: Debunking Taboo With Salacious Fashion

The Writer's Bloc

A typical, awkward sex talk between a teacher and student or parent and child differed from the dialogue that occurred at this university’s 3rd annual Condom Fashion Show held in the Grand Ballroom of Stamp March 2.

The Condom Fashion Show featured models from nine different clubs, organizations, fraternities and sororities decorated in outfits made mostly from condoms.

UMD’s Sex Week held the event in anticipation of National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on April 10. Sex Week is a student-run organization that provides sexual health and wellness information to students and aims to create meaningful and healthy dialogues.

Talia Hoch (Community and Behavioral Health) celebrating a job well done as the judges deliberate her second place win. (Joe Duffy/Bloc Reporter) Talia Hoch (Community and Behavioral Health) celebrating a job well done as the judges deliberate her second place win. (Joe Duffy/Bloc Reporter)

Kellen Weigand, sophomore biomedical engineering major and vice chair of public relations of Sex Week, said that although most STIs  are curable, the event seeks to promote STI testing and…

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That awkward moment you realize sexuality is fluid.


I remember the first time I told my mom that I liked girls at sixteen years old, and one of the first things she said was “I mean Katy Perry kissed a girl, and she liked it sooo.” She wiped my tears, and we giggled. I still cried, but we giggled nonetheless. Back in high school, I thought I was just bi-curious and assumed it was a phase I would grow out of. Well, I was wrong. Though I went to a liberal high school, and my peers were pretty accepting of others, I just wasn’t secure enough in myself to come out. At the time, I felt as though I had an image & reputation to uphold: pretty, long hair, dancer.

Today, at 21 years old, I realize that sexuality exists on a continuum – it’s fluid. Not all women who like women have to be masculine with short hair. They can have long hair, and wear high heels too. Gender expression and sexuality are two separate entities. My fear of coming out stemmed from being put into a rigid category where people viewed me as the term “bisexual” and everything that comes along with that term, rather than Sydney. I would hear things such as “oh you’re just confused”, or “oh, you’re just a freak.” Or..I’m just human, no?

It amazes me how people equate the interest in both sexes with being confused. I know exactly what I like, both males and females, no confusion over here. It’s called self-awareness. If I marry a man, cool. If I marry a woman, cool. Truly, I appreciate my ability to give and accept love. I use the term fluid because my attraction shifts based on a number of factors, some of which I can’t even begin to explain nor have control over. But that’s the beauty in being human – having the freedom to explore sexuality.

I am not trying to say that everybody’s sexuality is fluid or that everyone has some level of attraction to their own gender, but I do believe that it is natural to have those inquiries. Going back to the sexual education I received in high school, sexual orientation and gender were not a part of that discussion. I received all of that information either from the internet, social media, or my friends – all of which are not reliable sources. Yes, my mother and I would talk about it from time to time, but this was before she knew that I was bisexual, so it didn’t seem like a dire conversation we needed to have. I hope that healthy conversations around sexual orientation will one day be taught in classrooms, because they are so important. Understanding that gender is a social construction and sexual orientation is not always dependent upon one’s gender expression creates more open-minded, educated, and accepting citizens. Granted, I am not taking such factors such as one’s religion or political views into account, but maybe it’s time we re-evaluate the curriculum. Like my mother always says, it takes all types to make a world.

Mini Reflection: Being a black woman + being a sexual health peer educator


Overall, you could say I come from a fairly liberal household. My mother and I used to have conversations about sex during my puberty phase, and she would tell me I could come to her for anything. All I really knew was that because I had my period, I could become pregnant, and that the first time would hurt..a lot. So, that was that until my freshman year of college when I took the basic health class all freshman were required to take.

This health class was taught by a heterosexual white male and it only covered the sexual organs of males and females. That’s pretty much it..we didn’t learn about sexual orientation, gender, STI’s (not in-depth anyway), or any of the other gray areas under the sexual health umbrella. Granted, it was high school, so teachers were not allowed to go too far with us, but it still felt like I as being robbed of so much more information.

To that end, I knew very little about feminism. I had heard that word before, but at 15 years old, I didn’t know how to articulate some of the frustration I felt. For instance, I remember having conversation with a “friend” of mine about the qualities that men found attractive in women. One of those traits was having a low body count because if it were higher than that of a man, then she is a “hoe.” I had another conversation with a male “friend” that told me there are two reasons why women become hoes..1. they just broke up with their boyfriend 2. they just like sex. So in my 15/16-year-old brain, I equated the word “hoe” with a woman isn’t afraid to own her sexuality. I became a part of the problem, and didn’t even realize it.

But something that always stuck out to me was the this: my white friends seemed to care less about other’s sexual experiences, while my black friends seemed to soak it all in. It was almost like I was living in two separate worlds, and I’ve always wondered why that is? As a black woman and a sexual health peer mentor, I’m interested to learn more about the cultural differences when it comes to talking about sex. I understand that misogyny exists in some way, shape, or form amongst all communities, but as I reflect on my high school years, I realize that there was and still is a larger issue at hand.

As a peer mentor, I feel like it is my job to be a role model for other black women who may feel embarrassed or ashamed to have these conversations. Every time I give a presentation or workshop, I always make it clear that there is NOTHING shameful about sex, regardless of race or gender. And with that, I will continue to spread my knowledge to help lessen some of the stigma that exists within my community!

Sex: Let’s talk

The talk. The excruciatingly awkward conversation when parents explain to their kids, um, how sex works. But … why is there just one talk? Sex ed teacher Al Vernacchio (TED Talk: Sex needs a new metaphor. Here’s one … ) and entrepreneur Cindy Gallop (TED Talk: Make love, not porn) believe that good sex should be an open, honest and ongoing conversation. In this exclusive TED video, they meet at Cindy’s house to talk about how to talk about sex — and the dangers of letting porn and movie sex do the talking for us. Because as Vernacchio says: “Talking about sex is no different than talking about anything else — no matter how much you want it to be.”

Below, some other quotable moments from their conversation:


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A Woman Live-Tweeted Her Teen’s Abstinence-Only Sex Ed Class / Huffington Post

Written by Nina Bahadur for The Huffington Post. Originally published on April 16th, 2015.


A woman named Alice Dreger sat in on her son’s sex ed class, and the experience sounds completely horrifying.

Dreger, the author of Galileo’s Middle Fingerand a medical humanities and bioethics professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, attended her son’s sex-ed class in East Lansing, Michigan. While she tweeted that the curriculum at her kid’s school is “not technically abstinence-only,” the class involved horror stories about sex and drugs, constant claims about the failure rates of various contraceptives, paper “babies” handed out to students and no information about oral or anal sex. One instructor told the class that a “good girl” is one who says “no” to sex — and that’s the only kind of girl you should want to be with, per Dreger’s account.

Dreger told HuffPost that she’s glad she…

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Queer Monologues Brings Inclusive Discussion of LGBTQA+ Experiences

The Writer's Bloc

Featured is (left to right) Ashley Douglas, Vita Pierzchala and Charley Goldman. (Maya Pottiger/Bloc Reporter) Featured is (left to right) Ashley Douglas, Vita Pierzchala and Charley Goldman. (Maya Pottiger/Bloc Reporter)

A night for sharing stories on stage turned into an interactive experience as the crowd laughed, cried and snapped to the words spoken at the Queer Monologues.

For Madeleine Moore, the LGBTQ intern at MICA and also co-organizer of the event, this was the type of reaction she said she hoped to see.

“This night is a very vulnerable night for people, it is an exciting night for people and it is a scary night,” Moore said. “There needs to be a lot of trust with the audience, there needs to be a connection and there needs to be a shared experience.”

The seven performers did touch on vulnerable topics throughout the spoken word or poems. Issues such as beauty standards, name crisis and identity and how to come out as an LGBTQA+ person…

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5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Mighty Menstrual Cup!!

The Mighty Menstrual Cup Project: coming Fall 2015 to the University of Maryland Health Center!


A menstrual cup is a type of feminine hygiene product that is typically made of a safe, flexible, bell-shaped silicone. It’s worn inside of the vagina to catch menstrual fluid (blood). It can be worn during the day and overnight, and only has to be removed/cleaned twice a day or every 12 hours. Sound interesting and want to learn more? Well click on the picture above and take a look at our newest Buzzfeed post that gives you some fun facts on the Mighty Menstrual Cup!!