Sex, dating and love might be one culture’s norm, but another culture’s taboo.
Gannon University’s Campus Ministry and Office of Student Living have teamed up once again to bring International Sex Night at 9 p.m. Tuesday at The Knight Club at the corner of Fourth and Sassafras streets.
The night will be part of the fifth Sex Education Week in the Halls, which will be held Monday and Tuesday of Valentine’s Day week. No events will be held on Ash Wednesday out of respect to the Catholic tradition, said the Rev. Steve Washek, a deacon in the Roman Catholic Church.
Puddy Agans, a resident associate campus minister, said resident directors, campus ministers and the resident assistants worked together to bring a diverse array of students who would be willing to talk about their countries’ traditions regarding relationships.
“It’s an opportunity to have a dialogue with students and look at what love and relationships look like all over the world,” Agans said.
Kelly Kubiak, a senior biology major and a resident assistant at Finegan Hall, said the discussion is presented through fun methods and games, in order to make it easier for students to participate.
“We talk about sex in a more scientific way, covering statistics and STIs in a game show format to see who knows the most and will win a prize,” Kubiak said. “We look at what the typical romantic relationships are in the United States and hope people will talk about how they can differ from this norm either culturally or personally.
“In general we try to create a space where people feel comfortable talking about sex and the realities that go with it in our culture today.”
Washek said the program is always received very well, as it rectifies some misunderstandings people might have about the Catholic way of teaching.
“There’s a misconception that we’re not allowed to say anything about our sexuality,” Washek said. “We want people to understand their sexuality and ask questions about it and that’s why this program was developed.
“We want students to ask questions that they are afraid to ask the opposite sex.”
Washek said the event helped correct some false impressions people had about other cultures by discussing how women perceive men and vice versa in different cultures, including the American one.
“It’s kind of breaking down the misconceptions and myths that are out there,” Washek said.
Kubiak said events in previous years examined the portrayal of dating and relationships in the media.
“I believe last year they looked at how today’s entertainment culture portrayed sexual relationships by looking at some TV shows on MTV as well as other media outlets,” Kubiak said. “I believe they also did a dating around the world night where the courting and marriage practices of America were shown by skits and the audience discussed what was seen in the skits.
“International students were encouraged to speak about the practices in their own country as well as to comment on the American system and allow American students to better understand other traditions.”
Leen al-Hamarneh, a sophomore finance major, said her experience with the International Sex Night last year was amusing.
“I listened to a lot of people talk about dating in their own countries and talked about how dating is in Jordan and the Arab world,” al-Hamarneh said. “What was even more interesting to me was to see how Arab countries differed in things I thought they were similar in, like marriage.
“I am going to participate again in next week’s night to see what other cultures do and talk about mine as well.”
For more information about the event contact Washek at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 814-871-7439.