In which I preview an exciting new project that I'm working on with my colleagues at UMass Boston!
Welcome back to another school year, friends!
I’m excited to share a very cool initiative that myself and my colleagues at both Wayside Youth Coalition and Harbor Health, as well as the College of Nursing and a grant from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration have been working on all summer—we’re calling it Sex Arcade.
You read that correctly—Sex. Arcade.
We are gamifying the way you learn about, talk about, and interact with conversation about sex and sexual health. We are expansively including mental health in this game as well, but the name Sex Arcade is just too perfect to pass up.
The point of the Sex Arcade is, like in any arcade, to earn points!
You earn points by simply attending events that we have listed on our awesome website, UMBSextalk.com. These events are all related to either sexual health, sexuality, or mental health. Many of them are conversations, but there are also health fairs, guest speakers, performances, and random Q&A sex question tabling events that we will hold all semester.
UMB Sex Talk is the larger umbrella initiative for the Sex Arcade, so whenever you see a poster, banner, or social media post with our UMB Sex Talk logo on it, you know will know that’s us!
The points you earn go toward prizes of which you can redeem your points. The first prize plateau is merely 100 points. These 100 points go toward a raffle ticket that you can reserve for the semester-end event, Sex in the Dark on November 30. At Sex in the Dark, there will be raffles for sex toy vouchers, coupons, gift cards, and the grand prize, an iPad!
We know that some people might not be able to attend Sex in the Dark, which is why, starting at 3,000 points, you will be able to redeem your points for Amazon gift cards, with the top redemption being 7,000 for a $50 gift card! So you’ll have to put some time in, but you will have learned so much about sex and sexual health that it will all be worth!
But to get those points, you’ll have to attend some events—each week you can get 300 points just for attending a sex or mental health talk that will be led by me and one of my colleagues. These talks are on Wednesday afternoons at 1pm in the Point Lounge on the third floor of the Campus Center. These are open-air conversations in hopes of truly destigmatizing the conversations around sex and mental health.
You get 500 points by just registering on our website, UMBSexTalk.com. And then you can get 10 points each day you log-in thereafter. Just for logging in! And you’ll get 500 points for attending any of our major events like You Gave Me What? on Sept 28, and Sex in the Dark.
You can also earn 300 points by attending any of the five health fairs will be putting on this semester! When we have our Sex Q&A table set up in the Campus Center, you’ll be to earn 100 points for each question you get correct!
You also get 100 points just for following @UMBSexTalk on Instagram or Twitter. And another 100 points for each meaningful post you send out with us tagged in it!
But that’s not all!
The absolutely biggest and best way to earn points is to get tested to STIs and HIV. You get 1,000 points JUST for getting tested. And you get an extra 1,000 points for simply taking a selfie with one of our “I Got Tested” stickers right after you get tested—thus, helping shatter the stigma of getting tested.
We have many testing dates this semester and you are welcome to check out those dates on our website as well!
So, you might be asking why is sexual health so important?
Well, that’s a good question. We feel it’s important to engage college students in conversations about sexual health because studies have proven that when young adults are properly educated about sex, that both pregnancy rates and rates of infections drop dramatically. And when people know their HIV/STI testing status, it is much safer and freeing than engaging in sexual activity without any knowledge of that information.
We also find that there is a lot of misinformation about sex and sexual health in our society, so we want to smash any of those myths and stigma with open, sex-positive conversations that are meant to educate and empower you sexually.
I hope you all will check out the Sex Arcade. We’ve already had a few events and folks are already earning points, so make sure to catch up by attending some events and by getting tested! Sex arcade!