In defense of sexpert

To the Editor:

The Williams Record editorial board took issue last week with student involvement and expertise on the new sex and relationship website from the Gender and Sexuality Resources Center (GSRC) and Health Center.

All Sexpert answers are responded to by a committee. One individual cannot sign answers because a group wrote them. As a committee we seek out the facts through the same research skills that we hope all students will leave the College with. Besides a sex positive undertone, there are no opinions or political stances taken. We hope to take this information and make it easy to digest and apply.

I take serious issue with the idea that students lack professionalism. Do the student writers of the Record lack professionalism, or does the College Council board that manages a half a million-dollar budget? I argue that Williams students often are the very definition of professional. I am continuously amazed at the level of professionalism of our student body.

On the issue of professionalism, it is about time that we as a campus recognize the expertise we have here at the College. Many of our staff members are overqualified for the tasks we do. According to his bio on webmd.com, Dan Savage, famous sex columnist, “has no professional qualifications, just lots of common sense, a sense of humor and a pronounced inability to suffer fools gladly.” In fact, many “sex therapists” lack training as well. Sexpert has a nurse practitioner and a health educator as part of the answering committee, and all three of us continue to seek professional development through conferences and trainings. Williams is privileged to have such wonderful professionals as part of its staff who are willing to lend their expertise and answer students sex and relationship questions in addition to their normal work tasks.

To the issue of student anonymity, there is nothing shady here – just good ol’ common sense. Going online as a contributor for a sex and relationship website is great; having that googled by your future employer is another thing all together. What do you want popping up for that consulting interview next week?

Lastly, Sexpert is not the only tool that the GSRC and the Health Center are using. For the past three years Laini Sporbert, health educator from the Health Center, and I have been facilitating “Sex Jams” about one to two times a semester (these were previously run by Donna Denelli-Hess, health educator from the Health Center). One-on-one meetings only reach a small population, and it is difficult for many students to reach out face-to-face, especially when it comes to relationship and sexual questions. Not everything is a one-size-fits-all solution, so we bring in speakers, we have office hours and we provide sexual and relationship information in the GSRC and the Health Center. This is all part of a concerted effort from students, staff and faculty to increase discussions about sex, abstinence and relationships. Sex is a normal and huge part of our lives as humans. It is time we discussed it, in all venues possible.

– Justin Adkins

Assistant Director, Mulitcultural Center

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