The Third Annual Sex Positive Fair started off with a bang when more than 200 students arrived at the Student Union to partake in this year’s festivities.
On Feb. 12 crowds eagerly browsed booths containing sex toys and safe sex guides, while colorful prophylactics were made into balloons and flowers at the Condom Crafts table. Words like ‘dildo’ and ‘orgasm’ were heard being thrown about casually amongst the participants.
“I went to all three and this one definitely has much more creativity,” senior Kathryn Hall said, holding up a condom-stuffed plastic fish.
The fair was hosted by the Women’s Health Resource Center (WHRC) for the third consecutive year, in collaboration with Mills club Queer Melanin and San Francisco’s Lyon Martin Clinic. Student volunteers, who wore red and black, fishnet stockings and ‘I Love Consensual Sex’ pins, ran concession stands and handed out fliers.
Outside, baked goods decorated with red and pink frosting were sold to hungry gatherers, the proceeds for which provide funding for the festivities. Organizers said many of last year’s activities, such as the ‘Pin the Clitoris on the Vagina’ game and a sex toy raffle, were brought back by popular demand.
Next to a giant poster of a penis, facilitator Jessi Fischer ran a sex toy booth that quickly became packed with people. Fischer, who is pursuing a Masters in Sexuality Studies at San Francisco State University, is a workshop facilitator for San Francisco sex toy shop Good Vibrations, and blogs about her experience as a self-described “Sexademic”. At the event, she offered advice on how to choose a vibrator and how to make masturbation better.
“The two most pleasurable areas of the body are your skin and your mind,” Fischer reminded everyone, pointing out that experimentation is a big part of having sex.
One of the newest attractions at this year was a green-cushioned massage chair, where participants could relax to the soothing touch of a professional massage therapist. Nearby, Society of Janus, a BDSM education and support group, held bondage demonstrations. Student volunteer and junior Audriannah Levine-Ward, who was bound by saran wrap during the demonstration, said she was excited “to watch people understand that [bondage] isn’t painful, but sexy.”
A highlight of the fair was the burlesque cabaret performance by Amelia Mae Paradise. Paradise, a longtime Oakland resident with seven years of stage experience under her garter belt, is the original founder, director and choreographer for Diamond Daggers Productions. Famous for such attractions as the “Bearded Ladies,” the Diamond Daggers are known for subverting conventional beauty standards by showcasing performers of all shapes and sizes during their events throughout the Bay Area.
As news caught on about the burlesque dancer, a swarm of newcomers from across campus arrived to see her, standing shoulder-to-shoulder to get a better look. Dancing to the song “Come Sail Away” by Styx, Paradise strutted across the floor in red lipstick, wearing white sparkly lingerie and a corset. During a striptease, she removed her outfit to reveal silver glittery pasties. Cheers erupted when she used two big feather fans to imitate the gracefulness of a swan.
According to organizers, this year’s Sex Positive Fair turned out well.
“It was a great success,” volunteer Rebecca Williams, a senior, said. “I’m going to toot my own horn and say it was our best one so far.”
Although the fair only comes once a year, students can visit the WHRC in Cowell year-round to take advantage of the free condoms, lubes and dental dams.
As Audriannah Levine-Ward put it, “Being safe is sexy.”
Nicole Vermeer contributed to this report.