Nubian Message: So I saw that you have been a sex educator for 27 years. What has been some of the biggest changes that you have seen with college students over the years in the ways that they think of and view sex? 

Jay Friedman: Actually, one of the biggest surprises is that I don’t think students’ attitudes about sex have changed all that much. Sure, students today are probably a little more savvy than students from 27 years ago. But in some ways, we’re going backward in this country, as abstinence-only education has crippled today’s students with sexual ignorance. And still the same is that young people feel immortal, as if problems like STDs and teen pregnancy don’t happen to them, but always to “someone else.”

Nubian Message: How are you able to continue to connect with a younger audience, being that sometimes college aged students are skeptical about talking about it with others? 

Jay Friedman: The J-Spot sex lecture is popular because it’s not preachy or judgmental about sex. Instead, it offers a sex-positive approach that affirms sexual pleasure. I use a lot of humor and stories in the lecture, so instead of a doom-and-gloom approach, it’s a fun event that challenges students’ thinking about sex and gets them to talk more openly about sex afterward.

Nubian Message: I saw on your blog that you disagreed with the Pope’s thoughts about condoms.. Do you ever face conflict from religious groups or any other organizations on college campuses? 

Jay Friedman: First, let me say that I believe everyone should make their sexual decision-making in the context of their spiritual/personal beliefs. I never try to take that away from anyone. My lecture is exceedingly popular with college students. That said, some people may disagree with some points in the lecture—but that’s the point of coming to college, right? College isn’t for being affirmed in what you already believe, but instead to be exposed to new ideas and challenged by them.

Nubian Message: How are you able to keep college students engaged in your lectures after a long day of classes? 

Jay Friedman: (See #2 above.) I call my event a “lecture,” but it’s more like a lecture performance. Students are amazed how quickly the time passes, and how much they are laughing while they are learning. Part of it is that the lecture covers so many issues in such a short amount of time. The (PowerPoint) slides, stories, and humor illustrate the topics of the lecture, and the content is so pertinent to students’ lives that they find it invaluable. They also enjoy some of the more fun and provocative parts of the lecture, like “how to make using a condom feel better,” the connections between sex and food (I invite students to tell me their favorite foods, challenging me to figure out what that food teaches us about sex), and a clip from a Scandinavian sex education video that’s essentially censored in America.

Nubian Message: What made you decide to become a sex educator? Is it something you were always intrigued with or did you encounter an experience that made you want to start this? 

Jay Friedman: Being a sex educator is an incredible job. Nobody knows everything about sex, so part of what’s fun about my job is that I get paid to learn while I’m teaching. And I get so much positive feedback from students who say that my lecture was the best “class” they had during their entire stay on campus!

Nubian Message: What do you believe is the most harmful sexual taboo with this generation and why? 

Jay Friedman: One of the most harmful sexual taboos is that sex should be done in the dark, and in silence. In fact, we have a general taboo in talking about sex in this country. As a result, we don’t always know what’s normal, we don’t know about the prevalence of problems like sexual abuse and sexual assault, we don’t always know that people close to us may be GLBT, etc. And in the bedroom, we don’t know how to negotiate and practice safer sex, and we have trouble expresses our hopes, needs, fears, and desires.

Nubian Message: I saw you plan to touch on why sex is better in Scandinavia… How do the perceptions about sex differ between American college students aged 18-24 differ from others around the world in your opinion? 

Jay Friedman: As much as people think the United States is sexually open, I’m opening eyes by telling people that we’re actually sexually backward and repressed in this country. Sex sells and is used in advertising, but we actually have very Victorian attitudes when it comes to sex, and this results in a lack of open communication, and numerous sexual problems like high teen pregnancy rates, high abortion rates, and high levels of STIs. Sex education is so much more progressive elsewhere, particular in northern European countries.

Nubian Message: What can attendees expect from the show? Would you be able to give a brief preview of one of your topics? 

Jay Friedman: Students should come with open minds and expect to have a good time. We’ll talk prevention, but even more, we’ll talk pleasure. Some topics:

– three conditions before having sex

– how to make condoms feel oh-so-much better

– why sex is better in Scandinavia

– the mysteriously missing sexual organ

– “Kegels with Your Bagels”

– plus, the Scandinavian sex education video, and connections between sex and food