Last Saturday I talked to a group of around 75 students of a nearby teachers' college about sex. We started off ominously enough, with me quoting a sex talk from Varsity Blues "Penis penis penis, Vagina vagina vagina." Although we didn't end up having anyone give alternative names for the male organ, I certainly was given some real doozey questions.
Most of these kids have already been taught a lot about sexual health, but they haven't really been able to ask anybody questions about it. In a land that is extremely conservative (I never see women wear anything besides skirts that go at least half way past the shin) and very non-pda (in 8 months I haven't seen a single heterosexual couple holding hands once in country), it's tough for these kids to get their answers. The questions, given that they are the ages of 20-23 and are living in a boarding style housing with their peers, are quite explicit, obviously incriminating of their current extra curricular activities.
After I gave them a couple of warm up exercises, I opened the floor to questioning. I spent about 30 minutes giving a small talk, and it then took a little over 2 hours to answer (most) of the questions given. The questions were extremely specific, and 90% of them I wouldn't feel comfortable posting them online. I will say that I dispelled many myths about apparent "safe days" of sex, about virgin women, and about the healing effects of coca-cola.
The coolest thing about this is that I would never have been able to give this talk had I been gently forced to do it by another volunteer in Rakai, Uganda. After completing it there, I realized how easy it was to do, and what an opportunity it was for the boys who came to talk and air out these issues. It also is a great bonding experience for me, and it was amazing to see what these kids would admit in front of their peers. One kid admitted, with serious worry, that his undersized penis wouldn't be able to satisfy women. Luckily, Jon Lesica had taught me a phrase that I said immediately: It's not the wand. It's the magician
Anyway, the talk was such a success (in pay-it-forward fashion, I gently forced another nearby volunteer to talk to the girls) that now I am going to combine the two classes this Saturday to have a talk about gender issues. Well, I think that's what it will be about. I'm basically going to talk about the differences most commonly found in gender roles of America/Uganda, and then I'm going to give both the girls and the boys a chance to ask 3 questions, no rules attached, to their peers of the opposite sex. I know it's only April, but I'm expecting fireworks.