This past Wednesday, Cay Crowe lectured on abstinence as part of Trinity University’s Pizza and Pleasure series. The lecture series is designed to allow students to learn about and discuss issues regarding sexuality, relationships and identity.

“We have a nice array of topics ranging from, you know, sexuality to abstinence to dating to other things like that,” said Erin Sumner, assistant professor of human communications.

Pizza and Pleasure gives students a space to learn and ask questions about topics regarding relationships and sex, issues that are very relevant in a college student’s life.

“I think a lot of the times people are kind of making up the rules as they go and it’s nice to have somebody who actually studies these things be able to dispel myths and talk about what is accurate, “Sumner said.

In her talk, Crowe, who is a licensed professional counselor and certified sex therapist, discussed the many aspects of abstinence, filling in the gaps where federally-funded sex education falls short regarding the topic. It was a new way of looking at abstinence that put the focus more on choice and less on social pressures.

“Abstinence, one way to think about it, is a method of practicing safe sex. It’s not just a state of being. It takes a conscious choice and perpetual commitment. Just like if you continue to want to be sexually active, you make that decision with every relationship that you’re in,” said Crowe.

Crowe also discussed the practical aspects of choosing to be abstinent, such as the many reasons for being abstinent, how one can re-direct sexual energy and how to continue to make a conscious choice to abstain from sex.

“So one of the first things I think it’s important to do if you’re really going to practice abstinence is to determine what “sex” means to you. What’s your operational definition? What types of behaviors are okay and what are not okay? And, the reason it’s important to think about this is that any partners you’re romantically involved with are going to need to know where those lines are, and if you talk about it ahead of time, it becomes less of an issue. It doesn’t become a power struggle,” Crowe said.

Overall, Crowe emphasized the importance of choice in one’s decision to abstain from sex or not.

“I think it’s important, very important, especially when talking about abstinence, to leave guilt and shame out of it,” Crowe said. “I haven’t seen much health come out of these two emotions. People have a lot of guilt and shame [centered] around sexuality. The fact that you experience sexual energy is perfectly normal. We are all sexual beings. But if there’s a slip-up and you go too far and that’s not where you want to be, okay. You learn that slip-ups might happen, and that’s okay. Just start the process over again. It doesn’t mean you throw it out the window, especially if it holds a lot of value to you. It’s your choice. It’s your body.”

Crowe’s talk was the second part of a four part series put on by Pizza and Pleasure.

“Today is the second part of a four part series for Pizza and Pleasure. So last week, “Getting What You Want from Sex,” was part one, we are having the abstinence talk tonight and next week I will be presenting on healthy and unhealthy relationships. So a lot about respect, honesty and trust. There are a lot of questions in terms of how relationships evolve throughout the college experience. And then the fourth part of the series, Dr. Reams from counseling will be going over sexual orientation and identities,” said Katherine Hewitt, wellness coordinator at Trinity University.

Pizza and Pleasure is held on Wednesday nights at 7:30 p.m. in the Coates University Center Tehuacana Room.