As a part of Sex Out Loud’s Sexual Health Week, keynote speaker Ignacio Rivera facilitated a conversation around the language of sex and love at an address Thursday.

Rivera, founder and director of the HEAL Project, which works to combat sexual abuse of children, opened the conversation surrounding sex by educating, teaching and sharing their story.

Rivera, a transgender and polyamorous sexual abuse counselor for the LGBTQ+ community, facilitated a conversation around the language of sex and love Thursday night.

“When I got started and was talking to my friends about it no one was talking about it openly,” Rivera said. “So I decided that I wanted to talk about it more and wanted to learn more, so I taught myself in order to teach my friends.”

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Lack of education and information in the early stages of a child’s life leads to a grey area surrounding sex, Rivera said. The conversation doesn’t have to be explicitly about sex, but about parts of sexuality that are relevant at the time.

This life skill, which Rivera referred to as being able to express sexuality and talk about sex, is a large part of everyone’s life and should not be taken lightly.

“We are set up to fail from the beginning by our families with a lack of information and receiving information from many different sources that is all different,” Rivera said.

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The biggest aspect of sex is consent and communication, Rivera said. The notion of consent is not the absence of a no, and communication between both parties allows for clarification of consent.

Rivera said there is no cookie-cutter model when it comes to the art of conversation and consent, and different people use different forms of communication.

“You have to negotiate what works best for the two of you so that you are both getting what you want,” Rivera said.

The final event for Sexual Health Week is Friday, with Sex Out Loud hosting booths on East Campus Mall with games and conversations about healthy relationships and safe sex.