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Devils in the Bedroom destigmatizes sexual education, focuses on creating safe space

Let's talk about sex!


“I really think that our main mission is to make sure everyone feels included and safe, not just from STIs or from pregnancy, but in their community."

A comforting atmosphere fills the room with tables covered in free stickers, condoms and dental dams, lollipops and Julie, an emergency contraceptive. Chairs are packed with people freely talking to one another. The Devils in the Bedroom club session has just started.

The Devils in the Bedroom is an organization that aims to give inclusive sexual education to the ASU community and serve as a welcoming and safe space for anyone.

"It's about healthy relationships and it's about setting boundaries and getting to know your body," said Bee O’Callaghan, a junior studying psychology and the media relations officer of Devils in the Bedroom. "It really is destigmatizing the shame and the fear around sex, and then making sure that if (people) are choosing to have sex ... they're doing it safely and they're doing it consensually."

The club is all about accessibility and understanding. Club meetings are available to the West Valley campus on Mondays at 7 p.m. and at the Tempe campus on Tuesdays at 6 p.m.

Each meeting is about a different topic, some of which include boundaries, consent, STIs and gender-affirming care.

According to O’Callaghan, every gathering consists of picking a broad topic, going over the must-knows and how it pertains to safety, followed by an open discussion.

The first meeting of the spring semester was all about sexual education both at home and at school, and the shame often coupled with it.

Steve McKoy, a freshman from Texas who is studying biomedical engineering, experienced abstinence-only education growing up.

"Coming from Texas, sex ed just was not very comprehensive or definitely not based around safety, and more of like preventing sex in the first place," McKoy said.

While 37 states require abstinence in sex education curriculum, only 18 require educators to share information about birth control, according to Planned Parenthood. Sex education and HIV education are not mandated in the state of Arizona.

Devils in the Bedroom breaks down the stereotype that sex is something shameful, creating a space where individuals can ask questions and have discussions about the subject openly.

The wide array of topics covered during the club sessions help students discuss parts of sex education that are often minimally covered in schools.

"The most prevalent thing is the idea of safe sex, safe relationships and safe boundaries," McKoy said. "The club is very big on promoting health and safety so that has been the main thing I've learned and it has been very nice."

Along with sexual education, Devils in the Bedroom extends resources to everyone, including condoms and pregnancy tests. The organization holds table events in front of Tempe's Memorial Union, distributing free products and more to whoever is seeking out these supplies.

The next tabling event is on Jan. 30, where Devils in the Bedroom will distribute free menstrual products. According to O’Callaghan, over 20,000 resources were distributed last year. 

The club also partners with CAN Community Health, an organization that gives out free STI and HIV tests with locations throughout the Tempe campus. Other resources provided are emergency contraceptives and a safe place to ask questions.

Devils in the Bedroom receives many of these products from donations and sponsorships. They have collaborated with 10 other student organizations, such as the Accessibility Coalition, Qmunity at ASU and Advocates for Youth. 

O'Callaghan says the club is there to help those who don’t have insurance but need to be tested and those who are dealing with potential pregnancy.

Most of their resources are accessible through their meetings, tablings, events, Instagram and Linktree

All the aid, comfort and kindness that comes from Devils in the Bedroom creates a community filled with people that guide and support each other.

"I have in real time watched it help people flourish and grow," said Makenzie Andreas, a freshman studying anthropology and the treasurer of Devils in the Bedroom. "Being comfortable with yourself in that way is a really big step to growing up."

During open discussions, many people voice their experiences and outlook on the session's subject. Teaching is a vital part when it comes to Devils in the Bedroom. 

"We try to teach people how to be open to ideas and how to understand the way the world works," Andreas said.

Anyone is welcome. Students do not have to be a member to be a part of the community and can freely show up to any event, tabling or gathering and leave whenever they would like. 

"I really think that our main mission is to make sure everyone feels included and safe, not just from STIs or from pregnancy, but in their community," Andreas said. "To not be judged by one another."

Edited by Katrina Michalak, Sadie Buggle and Caera Learmonth.

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