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.)
A Q&A with MacLean's Emma Teitel suggests that much of the furor is overblown, that going by past experience most people just went there to hang out and have fun. ("But ..." is my reaction, too.)
Steve Kupferman's 2011 article on the establishment in The Grid makes for good reading. Of note is the fact that the Oasis Aqua Lounge used to host the gay bathhouse Club Toronto.