College Sex Fest Inspires Conservative Bullshit

Despite Rush Limbaugh's efforts, college students continue slutting it up! Their latest bit of scandalous whoremongering: a "Sex Fest" at Pennsylvania's Allegheny College. Luckily, the right-wing media is on the case, spreading misinformation about this alleged college bacchanal.

Sex Fest is scheduled for tonight at the Allegheny College Campus Center — myAllegheny describes it as "a night of food, fun, and games as well as important information about sexual health." Which, according to Ron Meyer of conservative site CNS News, is an outrage — he writes, "here at Allegheny College, feminist groups are treating sexual intercourse like a party." In addition to failing to portray sex as the grim but necessary duty it should be, Allegheny's Sex Fest organizers are apparently going to give everyone AIDS:

Like Slutwalk, SexFest is likely to persuade students to be promiscuous without having to consider the consequences by treating sex as a form of entertainment.

Even though this event that has been featured at a number of campuses across the country, such as Ithaca College, St. Mary's College of Maryland and University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, Allegheny shouldn't want to add its name to the list. One message these events don't advertise is that sexual activity could lead to…STDs! Therefore, what is promoted as an event for sexual health awareness could actually encourage an overall unhealthy environment.

College Sex Fest Inspires Conservative Bullshit

Given that the flyer for the event (left) explicitly mentions both condoms and "sexual health," it's a pretty good bet that the students in charge — Allegheny's Reproductive Health Coalition — will actually be mentioning the existence of STDs. They haven't yet responded to my request for comment, but their website (which appears to be under construction) includes a section on the importance of STD testing. The group has also been campaigning for Allegheny to bring a nurse practitioner to campus bi-weekly specifically to focus on testing, Pap smears, and birth control prescriptions. So the group seems quite aware of the risks of sex as well as its rewards.

A bit more concerning than Meyer's baseless claim that ReproCo has never heard of STDs is this allegation:

In addition to playing games, attendees will have the chance to purchase items from a company called Pure Romance. This organization has a similar party theme when speaking about sexual activity: "Empower. Educate. Entertain." Founded by Patty Brisben, who is described by The Globe and Mail as "a churchgoing mother of four who sells sex toys at private, in-home gatherings not unlike Tupperware parties," Pure Romance sells performance enhancing sex toys and lubricants.

Their website lists items such as "vaginal vibrators," "tie me up tape, "anal play" toys and many other bondage-type products to promote sadomasochism. In Allegheny's Campus Center, this company will be selling its wares in arguably the most frequented location on campus.

Meyer is scandalized by those "vaginal vibrators," but the real issue here is that Pure Romance's history on college campuses is somewhat checkered. Pure Romance sold toys at Yale's Sex Week back in 2008, and some have called the multilevel company a pyramid scheme — even though it pulled out of the event in 2010, Pure Romance's involvement may be one reason Sex Week almost got banned this year. Pyramid-scheme claims aside, letting a company sell sex toys at Sex Fest seems like it might commercialize an event that's supposed to be about health and safety.

It might — except it won't happen. A rep from Pure Romance told me,

Pure Romance is NOT involved in the event at Allegheny College in any way. I believe the confusion came about as a result of early conversations a student had with a Pure Romance rep regarding the event but nothing was ever confirmed and no one from Pure Romance is involved with the event.

So Pure Romance's involvement is rumor, and nothing more. In fact, Meyer's whole CNS freakout may have been precipitated by rumor — an Allegheny student told me that "one of our senior students informed CNS about [Sex Fest] and the article posted is not only misleading, it's trashing the entire school and any woman who is in control of her own sexual identity." If that's true, then basically a pissed-off senior emailed CNS with some hearsay about Allegheny, and Meyer printed it without checking any of it. Which is a great way to drum up outrage, especially if you don't give a shit about the truth.

'Sex Fest' Comes To Allegheny College: 'Food! Games! Condoms!' [CNS]