What the University of Minnesota says about its orgasm workshop

You may have read or heard some criticism of an upcoming University of Minnesota workshop called The Female Orgasm: A Program About Sexual Health and Women's Empowerment.

Rush Limbaugh has ridiculed the two-hour seminar, and American Thinker calls it "insanity." British papers such as the Daily Mail have had fun with it, as did out-of-state papers such as the New York Post.

Some have focused on the preview blurb in the U's announcement:

Orgasm aficionados and beginners of all genders are welcome to come learn about everything from multiple orgasms to that mysterious G-spot.

The presentation appears to be a traveling show that has already appeared at several universities. The main issue among critics seems to be: Should the U be spending $3,500 or so on such a topic?

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Peg Lonnquist, director of the Women's Center at the U, told legislators today during a hearing on the U's finances that it's a women's health issue, and that the frank language was simply "marketing."

Below is the U's statement on the free workshop, which takes place April 10.

More details on the workshop are here.

University statement on sexual health workshop

As the state’s preeminent education and research institution, the University of Minnesota provides information on a wide range of topics. The vast majority of these topics are not controversial, but some are.

Teaching and learning are central to our mission and as a public institution, we welcome a range of diverse viewpoints and embrace the tenets of free speech and academic freedom.

The health of our students is our utmost concern as it contributes to long-term academic, occupational, and personal success.

The university provides a forum for education on all facets of human health and encourages discussion and learning. We offer programs that educate our students on a variety of health topics including: the consequences of tobacco use and alcohol use; the importance of exercise; nutrition and sexual health, including abstinence. Students are faced with making choices about their individual health every day and are at a stage in their lives where they are learning about the short- and long-term impact of these decisions. We strive to give students access to the information necessary for them to make healthy decisions and lead healthy and productive lives.

“The Female Orgasm: A Program About Sexual Health and Female Empowerment” will be held on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus on April 10 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

The workshop is an educational opportunity for participants to talk openly in small groups about healthy sexuality and relationships broadly, and discuss and analyze the messages women receive about their bodies and sexuality from media and elsewhere. The intent of the workshop is to educate individuals in making decisions about what is right for them as they seek to build healthy relationships. The departments hosting the workshops know that this program will not appeal to every student. Participation is not mandatory.

This event is sponsored by a number of campus groups including: the Women's Center; the GLBTA Programs Office; the Aurora Center for Advocacy & Education, and the Women's Student Activist Collective (a student organization).

Those sponsors are sharing the total cost of $3,656; which includes the $2,800 speaking fee, $606 for travel and accommodations, and $250 for rental of the St. Paul Student Center Theatre. The funds come from a combination of student fees and Operations and Maintenance funds.

The program has been hosted by many campuses around the country including, Carleton College, Florida State, Kent State, New Mexico State University, North Carolina State University, Texas A & M, Tulane University and University of Wisconsin.