Health & Wellness hosts annual ‘Pleasure Pop-ups’


Melanie Matts, Staff Writer

DURHAM, NH- There’s nothing like strolling around campus on a beautiful Monday afternoon and discovering a table full of condoms, lubricant and a whole bunch of sex toys! 

At the University of New Hampshire (UNH), this is a regular occurrence. On Monday, Oct. 18, UNH’s Health & Wellness held a “Pleasure Pop-Up” in celebration of “Sextober.” The pop-up was run by two sexual well-being interns at Health & Wellness – junior Cassandra Eppler and senior Olivia Harrison.  

“[We’re] showing off some inclusive sex toys, talking about the importance of pleasure when it comes to sex and sexual wellbeing, giving out condoms, dental dams and lube. We’re telling people about upcoming events and just answering questions,” said Eppler. 

At the pleasure pop-up, students are not only provided with the resources to have safer and more pleasurable sex but Eppler and Harrison also provide demonstrations on how to use external condoms, internal condoms and dental dams. 

The importance of a pleasure pop-up is quite simple according to Wellness Educator and Counselor Dawn Zitney; “We want to normalize talking about sex and the fact that sex is meant to be pleasurable – whether you have sex with yourself or others.” 

Part of Eppler and Harrison’s job as sexual well-being interns is to do just that. 

“I feel like a lot of our role is educating our peers and promoting safer sex and more pleasurable sex,” said Harrison. 

“A big part of our role is just being a face for sexual well-being for students,” said Eppler.  

Heads turned with curiosity, and people wandered over from all different directions at the sight of the  table filled with dildos, vibrators and a giant plush condom. 

Briana Sullivan, a passerby, was intrigued and made her way to the table to see what it was all about. 

“It’s so cool to see young people have no shame of natural occurrences in our life,” said Sullivan. 

The pleasure pop-ups are not  a one-time occurrence. They’ve been happening every Monday for the month of October in celebration of Sextober. 

Zitney said, “Sextober is month that offers students the opportunity to learn medically accurate, inclusive, shame-free information about sexual well-being. The month is designed to benefit all students, including students who aren’t sexually active. This event is really important because we recognize that many UNH students are coming to campus with varied levels of knowledge about sex and many have not had comprehensive sex education that includes identity, pleasure, communication, sexual decision making, consent, and safer sex.” 

When the clock strikes midnight on Oct. 31, the talk and education around sexual well-being and pleasure doesn’t stop when Sextober ends. According to Zitney, it’s Health & Wellnesses goal to continue conversations and sex education throughout everyone’s UNH career. 

“Don’t be afraid to talk about sex, ask questions about sex, learn about sex and sexual pleasure and how to pleasure yourself,” said Eppler. 

There is still one week left of Sextober and plenty of events to attend! A full list of events can be found here.