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Sex talk at UNH draws a passionate crowd

Union Leader Correspondent

October 03. 2013 9:56PM
The crowd waits for the start of Thursday night's "Orchestrating Orgasms" lecture at the University of New Hampshire. (JASON SCHREIBER/Union Leader Correspondent)

DURHAM — Hundreds of students packed a lecture hall at the University of New Hampshire Thursday night to learn everything they ever wanted to know about orgasms — and maybe walk away with a free sex toy.

A controversial presentation called "Orchestrating Orgasms" brought an estimated 500 students to the Memorial Union Building to hear from Megan Andelloux, who calls herself a "clinical sexologist."

She said she's been working in the field for 17 years and designed her lecture to educate students about different types of orgasms, sexual response systems, and how to have more orgasms. Andelloux said the presentation would feature "no live sex acts on stage."

It began with a humorous video of a turtle breathing heavily, appearing to have an orgasm.

Videos showing facial expressions of men and women during orgasms were shown later, and at one point Andelloux brought four student volunteers on stage to wear sex toys while she performed a demonstration.

The Student Activity Fee Committee unanimously OK'd the request to hold the lecture, which was hosted by the Memorial Union Student Organization and has drawn criticism from some who felt it wasn't the best use of student activity fees and that it was designed to promote sex.

When asked about the demonstration with students wearing sex toys, Andelloux said she asks for volunteers.

"These are adults and if they want to come up on the stage and get that thrill, then that's fine," said the 37-year-old from Rhode Island. UNH spokesman Erika Mantz said the lecture was "just one event in a month of programming for students around healthy, safe and respectful decision-making related to sex."

She added, "Many offices and organizations around campus played a role in developing the programming. The health and well-being of our students and the greater campus community is important to university leaders and that includes their sexual health."

Sophomore Dan Stevens, 19, said he was offended when he heard criticisms from some people who felt the topic of orgasms wasn't appropriate.

"Last I checked I'm 19 and that's an adult. As an adult it's my right to learn about whatever I want and sex happens all the time, especially on college campuses. It's really important for psychological and physical relationships," said Stevens, of Boston.

Jessie Jenks, 19, of Nottingham, said she feels it's better to talk about sexual issues.

"I think suppressing the issue and not talking about it at all is worse," she said.

During the presentation, Andelloux handed out sexually explicit gifts to students in the audience, saying they were from manufacturers who value sex toy education.

"I really hope people walk away from this and recognize that there's a community, that sexuality can be talked about and it's varied," Andelloux said after the lecture.

As hundreds of students lined before the event, UNH student Joshua McGraw, 27, sat on a sofa away from the crowd reading a newspaper. The former Marine had no plans to attend.

"If they had a guest speaker on genocide in Syria and 100,000 people dead, you couldn't get 10 people to show up," he said.

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