The Student Recreation Center gym was packed with more than 400 students who came out to play bingo on Friday. This wasn’t your typical grandmother’s bingo hall, as students were there to play Sex Toy Bingo during the annual Safer Sex is Sexy Week. The purpose of the event was to spread awareness about safer sex practices such as cleaning toys, self-pleasure and safety.
Sex Toy Bingo is the most popular event of the safer sex week. It continues to be a success year after year largely due to the excitement of engaging with and learning about the taboo yet attractive topic. It’s an educational event that maintains a fun and inviting atmosphere, which is also why students love participating.
Carissa Ruf, program associate of Health Promotion and Campus Recreation, believes it is important to educate students about the subject in a way that they will respond to.
“We believe education on safer sex is important in order to provide students with the knowledge, tools, and resources they need to make informed decisions about their health from medically accurate and reliable sources,” Ruf said. “We also work to provide resources and a safe and affirming environment for all students as a means to learn about sexual health regardless of whether they are currently sexually active.”
Safer Sex is Sexy Week is unique because even though it’s taboo for some people, it’s fun and educational, too. The people at the heart of the program are passionate about student engagement and it’s clear that they succeeded from the event’s turnout.
The gym’s atmosphere was energetic as everyone was engaged in the game of bingo. Most of the students were shouting and cheering when a number on their boards was called. The game consisted of several rounds and after each one, the winners received raffle tickets to put towards a prize of their choice.
About 31 prizes were offered, in addition to free condoms and blue tie-dyed T-shirts given for the first 150 attendees that said “Shag Safely” on the front.
“I got an email [from the school] and I remembered this being mentioned at orientation,” said freshman Nick Brenneisen, who attended Sex Toy Bingo with Jessica Moore, a student from Seton Hall University. “It sparked my interest. Also, a bunch of students from my classes were laughing about it, and I thought, ‘What the hell, I’ll go.'”
In the middle of the game, the hostess paused to draw a raffle ticket so a student could spin the wheel, which also had non-sex related prizes like a printer and an Amazon Fire TV Stick.
Sex toys included a 12-inch California Exotics Smooth Double Dildo, a lipstick vibrator, a Clone-A-Willy glow-in-the-dark kit that makes an exact replica of a penis, a silicone cock ring and a Pipedream Icicles Gold Edition dildo designed to last a lifetime.
Sara Marcus, a freshman music education major, said she was there because she thought it would be fun. She stressed the significance of safe sex because it helps prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
For this year’s event, Health Promotion worked with Weekends at Montclair, the LGBTQ Center, Commuter Student Programs and Services and Campus Recreation along with student organizations like RecBoard, Residence Hall Association, Montclair State Dance Company and Theta Delta Sigma.