Isla Vista Beat Reporter
This Valentine’s Day, the Women’s Center invites students to embrace and explore the medley of love and romance beyond the traditionally heterocentric and non-binary commercialization of the holiday for a celebratory fair inclusive of all identities, preferences, and sexual desires.
“A Valentine’s Day Affair,” will be held on Thursday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Student Resource Building (SRB), offering students an opportunity to interact with the many educational booths. Topics include sexual health, romance, and “other aspects of self-pleasure, forging intimacy, and feminist motivated modes of pleasure,” as described by Jeremy Chow, Graduate Student Assistant at the Women’s Center and doctoral candidate in the English department.
Campus groups including The Health and Wellness Center, The Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity (RCSGD), Womxn’s Commission, I AM THAT GIRL, and Campus, Advocacy, Resource and Education (CARE) will be running themed booths at the fair.
Those curious about orgasmic masturbation and the how-to of sex toys will have the opportunity to participate in and explore the differing means of self-pleasure for all types of genitalia. Anytime during the event, students may anonymously submit their romance or pleasure-related questions to be answered.
Students wishing to learn more about the spectrum of sexuality, romanticism, and relationships — aromanticism vs. biromanticism and polyamorous vs. monogamous relationships, for example — can seek out the RCSGD’s archery booth.
To promote sexual awareness and safety, CARE will be giving away “consent valentines,” grams with powerful images and consensual phrases to highlight the importance of consent when it comes to both platonic and intimate relationships, according to Samantha Vega, CARE peer educator.
For the last hour of the event, Urban Dance Company’s Shante Boudaghi will lead a burlesque dance class to focus on body positivity and self-love — central themes that the Women’s Center highlights in their annual Love Your Body Week carried out fall quarter.
“The [dance class] will focus on body positivity and loving the skin that you’re in, especially when it comes to forging these different intimate connections,” said Chow.
Boudaghi, a third year religious studies and communications double major who has been dancing professionally for seven years, believes sensual dancing empowers others, regardless of prior experience.
“A lot of people feel too shy dancing sensually because they feel like it’s either too much or they don’t want individuals to look at them a certain way,” said Boudaghi. “But at the end of the day, who’s there? You. Why not become more in tune with yourself and let loose for your own sake!”
The dance class, as Boudaghi noted, isn’t a performance or competition, but a space for students to jump out of their comfort zones and have fun with their bodies.
In addition to creative forms of self-love and inclusive Valentine’s Day themed crafts and games, The Women’s Center will be giving away sex toys, external condoms, lube, and, among other treats, grilled cheese sandwiches. Students can attend this free event from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the SRB this Valentine’s day.