‘Masturbate,’ Amber Madison chanted, raising her left hand in the air as if angels were upon her. As one of the many concluding statements she made to her first all-female audience, Madison enlightened the 110 or so women who watched her presentation Tuesday, Oct. 16 in the Crystal Cove Auditorium. A 24-year-old graduate of Tufts University with a degree in American studies and community health, Madison is communicating with young women throughout the country at various schools including UC Irvine. For two years she wrote a Sexual Health and Relationship column as part of her school newspaper, informing readers about safe sex, relationship issues and sexuality.
The goal of Madison’s presentation was to promote a sex life that young women can enjoy, but she also placed great emphasis on safe sex to prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. She stressed the importance of young women being relieved of the sexual stereotypes that society currently holds.
She began with a discussion about body image, stressing that each and every person has flaws. One girl’s feeling that her big butt is unattractive may be the subject of another guy’s lusty thoughts. Although this may seem like a simple subject, it is only until girls realize this that they will be able to feel comfortable with issues relating to sex and sexuality.
Next was the talk about the vagina. Madison showed a basic diagram of the many parts of the female vagina, including the mons, the vaginal opening and everything in between.
At this point, the reactions from the all-girl audience were of shock and reverence for how openly Madison approached the topics and how she considered herself to be equal to her audience.
Then there were tips for the big ‘O,’ or orgasm. According to Madison’s presentation, many women do not experience an orgasm until they are in their 20’s, even if they had sex in their teens. This is partly because many women are not properly educated about the anatomy of their vagina. It is not easy for most girls to openly ask their mothers, ‘Mom, where is my clitoris?’
Madison wants to make girls feel good about their vaginas. Just as a guy feels insecure about the size of his package, a girl worries about the way her vagina smells, the way it looks and the way it works. To become familiarized with one of the most important parts on a girl’s body, Madison encouraged the audience to straddle their mirrors when they got home.
Not surprisingly, many girls can go about their day without actually having to look at their vaginas. As long as nothing funky shows up on toilet paper and as long as their vagina does not hurt, everything is fine, right? Well, that is not necessarily the case. Many sexually active girls (and guys) unknowingly carry STDs as many of the signs and symptoms are not visible or are too mild for them to take notice until conditions become severe and more difficult to treat. Knowing what a healthy vagina looks like allows for comparison.
Madison also included pictures of penises with herpes and genital warts. Although those pictures represented the most severe cases of STDs, it does not have to get to that point, as long as people get tested for abnormalities.
This cannot be said enough: be cautious and get tested. As Madison wittily said, ‘You can’t just pull down his pants and say, ‘Oh, look, there are no barnacles on your dick.”
Madison examined many sexual stereotypes, including the one that women do not enjoy sex, but as she reminded the audience, ‘Women get just as horny as guys do. It’s important to remember you’re horny!’
Megan Tice, a second-year arts undeclared major commented that ‘it was comforting to hear a woman who has been through so many things that we go through confirm that you’re not weird because you think about sex, you’re not weird because you want sex and you’re not a slut because you have sex.’
The presentation was followed by a Q-and-A, with girls asking questions ranging from the G-spot and urinary tract infections to emergency contraception and relationship commitments.
‘The fact that no boys were there made it more comfortable,’ said Sandra Chavez, a third-year English and political science major.
Madison’s book, ‘Hooking Up: A Girl’s All-Out Guide to Sex and Sexuality,’ reflects the colloquial tone that she used in her presentation. Although the book is aimed at females ages 15 to college age, there is no age limit because until something unwanted happens, people think they know everything there is to know about sex education.
It is important to note that Madison is not a doctor, and while various medical practitioners endorse her book, girls should not use the book as their sole reference regarding sexual health. Consult a nurse practitioner or doctor for more specific information.
As widely praised as Madison’s book may be, there are those who believe that Madison is promoting sexual activity. However, rather than encouraging young girls to engage in sexual activity, Madison is informing them of safer sex and the choices for contraception they have.
When asked about what she thinks when people say that she is encouraging sex, Madison said, ‘There is a discussion about abstinence in my book, but throughout the whole book, it stresses so much to only have sex when you’re comfortable; for example, these are the reasons that are good to have sex, these are the reasons you shouldn’t have sex and it definitely talks about really making a conscious choice and outlining good decisions and bad decisions. What I tell them is that it empowers people to make their own choices