The Pizza & Pleasure lecture series will continue this semester with four programs designed to provide students with information on human sexuality and relationships that might not be attainable in a classroom. For the first time, the series, organized by Counseling Services, added two talks on the relational aspect of love and sexuality. In the past, the lectures series focused only on physical sex and sexuality.
“We want to help people better understand their sexuality and relational needs. And secondly, to better understand the diversity of sexuality and that other people’s needs can be different than one’s own. Because of these differences, communication about what one is looking for and not looking for can be facilitated by a better understanding of the great diversity of sexuality and relationships,” said Richard Reams, associate director of Counseling Services.
Erin Sumner, professor of human communication, gave two talks as a part of the series to address communication in relationships. The first talk on Jan. 22, Secrets of Love, took a look at different love styles and different ways of communicating love as well as what that means. The second talk on Jan. 29, Secrets of Dating, focused on the many ways people date and engage in romantic relationships in a college setting.
“Relationships—whether it’s friends, family, romantic, especially for college, whether or not you are choosing to have romantic relationships—matter. Single versus dating versus in a committed relationship—there usually aren’t a lot of information sources out there for it. This lectures series is a good way to get a little snapshot,” Sumner said.
Sumner teaches several classes on relationships, such as Interpersonal Communication. Her current research focuses on the intersection of technology and relationships.
“I love teaching classes about relationships because it’s something everyone experiences but a lot of people don’t think about in depth, and I think the more you are aware of these sort of things the better we can engage in relationships and the better relationships we can have. We know that the quality of our relationships is greatly related to the quality of our lives in general,” Sumner said.
The last two Pizza & Pleasure talks were by sex therapist and sex educator Cay Crow: Secrets of Sexuality on Feb. 5 and “Kinky” Sexuality & Relationships on Feb. 12. Crow is a regular of the series and has been giving talks since the beginning of the series in 2009. For a time, students had been indicating that they would like information on kinky relationships and the talk coincides with the movie release “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
Reams added, “Our goal is for students to have a better understanding of self and others and I would hope, therefore, a better ability to get what they want and avoid what they don’t want.”