MacEwan’s first Pride Week was colourful, to say the least. Lots of that colour came from self-proclaimed sex and relationship role model Reid Mihalko’s entertaining conversation about non-conservative sex, and why sex education is important — and not the banana-condom kind of sex education, either. This was the kind where Mihalko taught audience members how to massage a vulva by using a “Spock” hand formation.
“Not talking about this stuff is the first mistake for most people growing up in a culture where there’s a lot of sex negativity,” Mihalko said. “No one’s getting really great, frank, information about sexuality . . . so just starting to talk about this stuff, just starting to make sound, is important.”
He then proceeded to have the audience moan loudly, hoping to concern people walking in the hallway outside the auditorium. Mihalko used comedy throughout his presentation to make people feel comfortable, all while talking about things that might make some people completely uncomfortable.
A lot of topics were covered during the presentation, but what was drilled home over and over again was an emphasis on communication during, and before, time in the bedroom. Mihalko said he grew up in a home where his parents loved each other very much, but had no idea how to communicate with each other. The experience motivated him to teach people how to to have healthy conversations about sex and relationships.
“I assume one day you want your sex life to be kickass . . . and the big takeaway for today is that culture gives us really horrible advice,” Mihalko says.
Mihalko highlighted how culture treats sex that’s “outside the box” as dirty and obscene. That negative attitude, he said, is making people feel ashamed of themselves, or of who and what they like.
“I identify as a queer, polyamorous slut, so queer to me is an umbrella term that just means ‘not straight’,” Mihalko said.
Mihalko’s humorous attitude reiterated his views on making people more comfortable with talking about sex. He said it shouldn’t be seen as a “duty” or something shameful. Instead, sex can be something that people respond to with a “no pressure, hells yes.”
“Sex shouldn’t be something endured or tolerated,” he said. “We’re masters of tolerating things, but wouldn’t it be nice if, in sex and intimacy, it was a ‘hell yes?’”
“Non-conservative sex is whatever brings pleasure and choice to everyone involved.”
For Mihalko, non-conservative sex is anything that’s pleasurable, whether that’s being monogamous and married or polyamorous and unattached. Non-conservatism isn’t about the kind of sex that’s being had, but the attitude towards it. Mihalko said if the sex is fun and everyone involved feels like it’s consensual, it’s non-conservative.
Surprisingly, the talk wasn’t just about exploring different types of sex. Instead, the focus was on understanding that no type of consensual sex should be shamed. It was about encouraging communication, improving relationships, and being a better human being.
“The fear of being shamed and misunderstood (keeps people from being comfortable talking about sex),” Mihalko said. “And my goal is to get people comfortable being themselves and talking about it.”
Cover photo supplied.