One’s sexuality is rarely an easy topic to discuss. So for the women working inside the Cesar Chavez Building, it’s not the number of students who come seeking information on sex that matters, but rather the satisfaction they receive from helping inform them that allows them to enjoy their job.
Rebecca MacFife, director of the Education and Referral Organization for Sexuality (EROS), an Associated Students resource center on campus, office assistant Stephanie Borrego-Yannacone and assistant director Lucya Alvarado said they work diligently inside their offices to try to be the main resource center for students to explore their sexuality and practice safe sex.
“The most rewarding part of my job is educating my peers and others around topics of sexuality because I believe there is a big gap surrounding the education of it. I also really enjoy giving out condoms to others because I know how expensive they can be, and I am happy I can provide access,” Borrego-Yannacone said. “We don’t offer dildos; however, we use them to demonstrate how to correctly put a condom on. We sure do get your attention when we set them out, though, right?”
The staff at EROS hold events throughout the semester with giveaways, and their office is located on the Terrace Level of the Cesar Chavez Building in T-138.
“Up in our office we offer free and high quality safer sex materials and a lending library of books and DVDs on topics around sexuality, for both informational and entertainment purposes,” MacFife said. “Around campus, we put on events and workshops for peer education and information and we also have a referral database so we can set students up with other organizations that offer resources we don’t have.”
MacFife said that although the dildos are not given away for free to students, students can win sex toys at some of their events throughout the semester, which students are encouraged to attend. EROS has workshops year-round, and their biggest event of the semester will be on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 for the 9th Annual Sexuality Career Fair outside the Cesar Chavez Building beginning at 8 a.m.
“It can be really challenging to approach these sensitive topics, and we get it,” MacFife said. “My best advice is to just embrace the awkward. Name it, lean into it and laugh at it. Come up and touch one of the dildos sitting on our table, maybe. They won’t bite, they’re actually pretty squishy.”
EROS has many affiliates throughout campus and MacFife said their biggest supporters are the Queer Trans Resource Center (QTRC). MacFife said EROS and QTRC are “buddies,” and were one organization when founded in 1972. However, the two split a few years ago to cover more ground on sexuality.
“Now, we focus a little more on sex and they focus a little more on identity,” MacFife said. “But we still share a lot of the same goals.”
Borrego-Yannacone said the program is also connected with other SF State groups like the Women’s Center and the Legal Resource Center.
“Come stop by and you’ll also see us out tabling with products you can find by practicing safer sex with supplies such as condoms, dental dams and lube,” she said.
Alvarado, a former EROS intern turned assistant director, said the best thing to do to make people feel more comfortable talking about sex is to just bring it up a lot and talk about it in a carefree, non-judgemental manner.
“When people start talking about a subject a lot like sex, it becomes normal and people don’t feel as hesitant to talk about sex,” Lucya said. “Speaking as a past intern, I have been able to educate students more confidently than I was before I was a part of EROS. It even gave me the confidence to apply for assistant director.”
EROS will host a workshop on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. outside of the Cesar Chavez Building about pelvic health titled, “Don’t Fear the Pap Smear.”