U of T - GTA FOLK! Comin to see you Pie/Vivid
How do I get a table at this club/lounge Oasis Aqua Lounge?
It’s being billed online as an epic student sex club adventure — and in other corners of the web, a student orgy.
The University of Toronto Sexual Education Centre (SEC) is kicking off its annual Sexual Awareness Week next Monday at Oasis Aqua Lounge, a downtown club that bills itself as a water-themed adult playground, where swingers are welcome and sex is allowed everywhere but the hot tub.
“U of T is holding an orgy, and you’re invited! You just need your student ID” one Reddit user posted in a University of Waterloo forum.
“Our executive director made it very clear that this is not an orgy, we’re not funding an orgy,” says external education and outreach co-ordinator Dylan Tower, 22, as he sits inside the sixth-floor office of SEC. “People are allowed to have sex on premise … there is not any type of ‘You should be having sex when you’re here.’ It’s very much, come and enjoy the space, there’s no prodding or pushing in that direction.”
The event begins in the daytime, and organizers are asking students to keep their clothes on until 7 p.m., when the “party becomes clothing-optional so you can get naked with all your new friends.”
SEC is an affiliated levy group of the University of Toronto Students Union. Undergraduate students pay .25 cents a term for the services, and can opt out if they choose.
The group’s mission is to foster a sex-positive attitude in the greater U of T area, by offering information, programming, safer-sex supplies, and peer counselling in a welcoming environment. Their sexual awareness week includes a discussion on sex positivity, an interactive sex toy demonstration and an afternoon of pornography. The first event is the party at Oasis: the organization rented the club and lowered the price to $5 a person. (Admission for couples is normally $80.)
Tower said it is a safe and cheaper way to introduce curious students to the sex club scene in Toronto. The group plans to provide a “myriad of safer-sex supplies” so “everyone can be as safe as possible” and volunteers will circulate to “make sure everyone is respectful and having the best experience Oasis has to offer,” he posted online, addressing concerns.
The club is four storeys of easy-to-clean surfaces, with sanitizing wipes, baskets of condoms, and lots of places to mingle, including the back of a hippie van and a heated pool.
“I’m not in the lifestyle. It’s not for me, but I’m the owner, and it makes people happy,” said Jana Matthews, as she gave a tour of the facility on a quiet Monday afternoon.
Matthews said people like to visit the club because it is a safe space where there are rules and etiquette, but no judgment. Some people like to watch and be watched; other couples keep to themselves; some people go as a group and have sex with each other. Everything has to be consensual. Single men are only welcome one night a week. For the U of T event, there aren’t the same restrictions. Students are allowed to bring one guest, but must have their student ID cards.
Jocelyn Wentland, PhD student in the Human Sexuality Research Laboratory at the University of Ottawa, said the centre should be commended for “not hosting another ‘happy hour’ at the campus bar and doing something unique.”
“Young people often experiment with their sexuality, and we know that many young adults’ conceptualizations of what constitutes a ‘relationship’ has changed over the years. Recognizing those changes and offering mechanisms and events for young adults to self-express their sexual attitudes in a safe environment should be encouraged,” she wrote in an email. “It’s time that we recognize that not everyone is in heterosexual, monogamous, committed long-term relationships and nor does everyone wish to be.”
Tower says sex positivity is all about coexisting, and not having disagreements about what is morally right or appropriate.
“We just make sure that everyone, no matter what they’re into, can communicate about it, and have a great experience socially, without people being like, “You can't do that, that’s gross.”
When asked whether it was a U of T-sanctioned event, and whether the university had any concerns, a spokesperson responded with an emailed statement: “The University will not attempt to censor, control or interfere with any group on the basis of its philosophy, beliefs, interests or opinions expressed, unless and until these lead to activities which are illegal or which infringe the rights and freedoms.”
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