Sextober- An Honorary Month of Sexual Health Education at UNH.


Photo Courtesy of Health & Wellness.

Stefanie Kistler, Staff Writer

DURHAM, NH – Sextober, a month of events hosted and supported by the University of New Hampshire’s (UNH) Health & Wellness, is in full swing as UNH strives to educate students about sexual pleasure and safety in fun and interesting ways.

Sextober is a month-long event created by UNH’s Health & Wellness to spread awareness about sexual health and reproductive rights. The variety of events will be held on dates throughout October, on a multitude of topics such as overall sexual health education, sexual pleasure and reproductive justice.. 

Dawn Zitney, Health & Wellness’ wellbeing educator and counselor, hopes that the month can a be time for students to learn more about sex and the services Health & Wellness provides

“Sex isn’t just a physical act, it is also a step into social, emotional and spiritual well-being,” Zitney said. “If students choose to have sex or not, Health & Wellness is here to support them.”

She elaborated on why she thinks Sextober and its events are important saying that it is Health & Wellness’ duty to provide medically accurate and supportive sex education.

“Many students come to UNH with little to no real sex education. Some of them were taught, but it was based around abstinence and fear. We aim to change that,” Zitney said.

While the events cover a wide range of topics surrounding sexual health, the vulva appreciation workshop aims to destigmatize the vulva and help students to appreciate their bodies. Attendees will design their own vulva, complete with glitter and rhinestones. The vulva appreciation workshop will be held on Wednesday, Oct.12. at 5 p.m. in the Memorial Union Building, room 336.

Sam Ansart, a fourth year student and sexual wellbeing intern at Health & Wellness, is hosting the vulva workshop and is excited to have fun doing crafts with curious attendees.

“Students are kind of hesitant about it because it is such a taboo topic,” Ansart said. “But the arts and craft aspects are meant to be fun and the whole event is meant to decrease shame. I think it’s very important.”

When asked why she chose to do a vulva appreciation workshop, she laughed and shared that in her opinion, genitalia are one of the more taboo topics surrounding sexual health.

“We need to be open to having conversations about sex and sexual organs. Students should know that they are not alone and should have no shame about these things,” Ansart said.

Jumping ahead a week, run by Oyster River Equity and Justice, another event to look forward to is The Future of Reproductive Rights in New Hampshire. The event will be a way for the local community to come together and discuss the fall of Roe v. Wade, and what it means for reproductive rights in the local area. It will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 6p.m. in the Community Church of Durham. Students can contact [email protected] for more information and register on the Health & Wellness website.

Zitney says that she believes conversations about reproductive rights are incredibly important and go hand in hand with sexual health education, especially considering the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade.

“We want students to know that abortion is still a legal medical procedure in NH,” Zitney said. “We need to bring conversation of abortion into the forefront to reduce stigma and provide students information about how they can access abortion care, should they need it.” 

An event closer to the end of October, the signature one in fact, is Sexpo, which aims to teach students about sexual health and the services UNH offers, all the while enjoying free food, sex supplies and giveaways. In the last few years many students have noticed flyers around Sextober promoting an event called a ‘pleasure party,’ but this year it has expanded and been renamed. The event will be held on Thursday, Oct. 26 at 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Hamel Recreation Center first floor court.

Photo Courtesy of Health & Wellness.

Olivia Arangio, second year student, and sexual wellbeing intern at Health & Wellness, is involved with Sextober not just from an organization standpoint, but also as a student excited to attend. She encourages all UNH students to take advantage of the extra events being held in October, and keep an eye on Health & Wellness events year-round.

“These resources are here for us,” Arangio said! “We all pay the health fee, so might as well utilize the amazing opportunities and services that Health & Wellness has.”

To learn more about Sextober and see a full list of events offered, click here