It was on the news for days. It was passed from website to website, featured on radio shows everywhere, featured on talk shows, and finally, picked up by the national media – CBC news, The Globe and Mail, and Macleans. First posted on Reddit on r/UWaterloo under the title “UofT is holding an orgy, and you’re invited!” and then on r/UofT, it was adopted by local media and took off like wildfire in the social media scene. People everywhere were talking about the “U of T Orgy”, though it seems not many of them got quite the right impression.
It was booked for Monday, January 21st to kick off the sex awareness week hosted by U of T’s Sexual Education Centre (UTSEC). The group planned this “Sexy Social”, which had been hosted in years past, at Oasis Aqua Lounge. A plethora of concerns were raised, among them that taxpayers were paying for this event, that the event was “inappropriate,” and that anybody who walked in would inevitably walk out with STIs.
To discuss some of these concerns, I spoke with one of the event’s coordinators:
SEC has recently been under fire for hosting an event at Oasis night club, that some people have been labeling as an “orgy”. It has been stated numerous times both by SEC and Oasis representatives that this is not, in fact, in any way true. What was the “Epic Sex Club Adventure” and how did it really go?
It went about how we expected it to – that being said though, we weren’t really sure what to expect. Between noon, when we opened, and six when it started getting busy, we had maybe twenty to thirty people come through. A handful of them stuck around. A few people in particular really got to know everyone and we all made some great new friends. As the event continued, the crowd changed a bit; people had a certain thing on their mind and that was clear in their behavior. We had a handful of individuals come in and stand around wondering why women were not hanging off of them. That was actually really reassuring to see, that people who’d been drawn in by some of the media’s misrepresentation of the event were disappointed. Things really began to pick up after the Kink 101 talk we had in the dungeon. After being able to openly talk and ask about sex, people seemed a lot more comfortable. The demonstrations we had in the dungeon afterwards were also popular. By 10 or 11pm the party really kicked off, with the most popular areas probably being the porn room, where we had a carefully selected array of very very bad porn, and the hot tub and outdoor pool.
There was a rumour that there was police intervention at the event. Is this true?
I was inside the club volunteering the whole time, so my knowledge on this is secondhand, but I think around midnight we had police show up to disperse the line, which was around the block and almost 200 people long. It wasn’t violent or even unpleasant, just a sort of, “Guys, you’re not getting in.”
There were many concerns that the SEC/Oasis collaboration would be a large base for students to easily have unprotected sex, engage in sex acts out in the open, and/or contract sexual diseases and infections. How does SEC feel about these allegations?
We’re the Sexual Education Centre. We give out condoms. That’s our job. Ninety per cent of what we do is give out condoms and teach people how to put them on properly. If people think we of all people didn’t create an event that encouraged safe sex, I don’t know what to say. While we couldn’t and more importantly wouldn’t force people to have protected sex, every room had a bowl of condoms, lube, dental dams and gloves that had a large sign over it pointing to it.
The question of whether or not people had sex at the event is best left to individual participants to divulge. The Red Room provides facilities such as private rooms, the red room and a space for public sex on the third floor. These facilities are offered as a safe space for consenting adults to voluntarily engage in sexual activities.
What are SEC’s thoughts on how the University handled the permissions for the event itself?
The University issued two statements I believe, one saying that they did not interfere with club’s events as long as they weren’t unsafe or illegal, which they released the day the news got big. We were extremely grateful that the first news article to hit big about the event had the university taking a neutral stance on the event. As the news got bigger they released a second statement saying that SEC was not run by the university, and while we got funding and some support from U of T, we are an independent organization, which I think was fair of them considering the publicity.
Many people were concerned that their tax dollars and student fees were funding this event. What were the costs of this night, and what was the money spent on?
Renting the venue cost 00. Over the course of the night we made 00. So not only did the event not cost anyone any money, it actually raised money for several charities, such as Maggie’s, AIDS Action Now, and TRIP. In any case, SEC is not funded by taxpayers’ money, but by a 25 cent levy that comes from the fees of every student. There is an option to opt out of the levy.
So what is SEC all about? How does one become involved, and/or learn more about SEC?
SEC is a Sexual Education Centre: we primarily distribute safer sex supplies and do workshops on safer sex. To learn more or make use of our services, stop by our office on the sixth floor of 21 Sussex, or sign up to have a safer sex talk happen on your floor, building or any other group. If you’re at New College, stop by room 318 on the third floor of Wetmore; I have a bag of safer sex supplies on my door and will also gladly answer questions as my floor’s safer sex representative.
Here are some links to our website and social media.
So there you have it. The “Orgy That Never Was” actually never was. It was just a fun time for a lot of people, and hopefully lifted the curtain a little on the sexual taboo that runs through our society. Sex positivity is a good thing. If anything, this event shows that sex is natural, and nothing to be ashamed of. This event was educational while being fun and exciting, and brought a lot of folks out to socialize with like-minded people.
Hey. If I were 19, I woulda gone.
What do you think of UTSEC’s Sexy Social? Comment on Facebook and tell us how you feel.