Cindy Pierce – Sex Is Not a Dirty Word
Cindy Pierce is a rare personality. She’s one of those people who can make situations most people feel uncomfortable and awkward with completely natural, an important trait for someone who specializes in discussing relationships and sexual health. “That is the focus of my life at this point, for all ages.” It took a bit of a unique background for Cindy to become the specialist she is. “I grew up playing sports with boys, that was a huge thing. I played baseball and ski raced so I was with boys 10 months a year, which put me in a position to hear a lot about what boys were thinking. I became sort of a sister to them and that has persisted throughout my life. Men in particular have always opened up to me and I think that is my strength. Especially among groups of college men; I don’t scold them or make them feel embarrassed about openly discussing sexually related topics in mixed company. I really want to help them get information that will help them make better choices that will make campuses a safer place for all of us.”
Cindy puts an important highlight on not blaming young men solely for all sexual health concerns on a campus, but does maintain a focus on them. She illustrates why by posing an interesting question to her audiences. First, she asks the men to list some of the precautions they take to remain physically safe on campus. None of them can name any. She then asks them the same question about steps women take and they make a long list, from going to parties in a group to walking in well lit areas. “I think getting to the heart of the matter is communicating with the males and getting to the issues like sexual assault and consent. My talks can span topics that interest both men and women, but typically tend to be shied away from when it comes to openly communicating among groups. These topics can range from sexual health to female pleasure to the hook up culture, genital image issues, cosmetic genital surgery to anything else that people really want to know about but don’t get to discuss.”
Cindy learned a lot from six older siblings and in turn passed it on to almost two dozen nieces and nephews and, somewhere along the way, became known as the go-to person for broaching uncomfortable topics. “Some friends kind of bossed me (laughs) into trying to do a show. It was at the very busiest time of my life, when I had little kids and I was hesitant because I didn’t think people would really be interested in it. I tried out a show on these topics and it really resonated; then I tried it out with my niece’s sorority and then my nephew’s fraternity and some momentum started picking up. I found that not only is it a universal talk, but there is a desperate need for it. It’s open, humorous information without scolding that through comedy and storytelling has become a shared experience between my audiences and me. The only person who gets thrown under the bus is me,” she jokes.
If you ask the average person about their “human resources” or “sex ed” class, you’ll pretty much get an instantaneous nuclear eye roll. Whether you learned the “birds and bees” from parents prior to that or not, it usually ended up being a weekly hour of red faces and snickering far more than honest discussions about sexual development, health or (re)productive questions. Cindy has crafted an approach to circumvent that teenage unease. “It’s like when I am talking about female pleasure. No one is talking about this; no one is comfortable talking about orgasms, yet we have all these women on campus who think because guys see screaming fits of insane passion in porn they have to do it as well. It goes even beyond that, to the point where there are women submitting to violent sex, choking, anal sex and many other things that they might not necessarily find pleasurable but are expected of them because of certain societal paradigms that are quite often perpetuated in our alpha male society.”
Don’t think Cindy is going to come in and start handing out “The Puritan’s Handbook,” or guilt anyone into feeling awkward no matter what their preferences might be. “My feeling is, you can do all of that and more if it really turns you on, but you better first find what makes your and your partner’s body work. So many young (and even middle-aged) women don’t know what makes their own bodies tick before all of a sudden you’re hearing about people getting into threesomes and foursome…well have you ever thought about figuring out a onesome and a twosome?” she asks laughing. “How about starting with the basics before moving on to things that may or may not be what all parties involved are interested in pursuing? Female pleasure is just one example of ground I cover, and a perfect example of something men want to know about but almost never do. Everyone says men don’t care about that and it’s simply not true. So many men from young to old care about female pleasure and think by the age of 18 or so they can no longer ask about it. Unfortunately the number one reference source they then go to is porn, which could not be more misleading.”
The second major reference point for these guys who feel so awkward about speaking openly about sex in most circumstances might seem to be a more reliable one but is in fact just as nefarious an information source as porn. “These are the guys who are ‘players’ or have sex a lot and typically end up being the least reliable, I have discovered. I have interviewed many these guys who are ‘the’ source in a fraternity or on an athletic team and when I talk to them, they tend to not know very much at all. They have had tons of sex and I think young women feel like it is a great opportunity to have sex with the big stud, but no one is giving these guys any feedback so they doesn’t actually know that much.”
This is not a show just for women, or men for that matter. It’s a flexible, open and frank discussion that can be catered to the needs of your group. Give Kirkland Productions a call at 866-769-9037 or firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how Cindy Pierce can help your students begin a healthy, open dialogue.
Campus Activities Magazine — Feb. 2013