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Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student


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Pillowtalk – Parting advice from your local sex educator


I’ve been writing Pillowtalk, a sex and relationship advice column for The Knox Student, since my freshman year in 2018. In that time I’ve had the privilege of answering your many questions, learning as I go, and serving my campus community using my knowledge and skills. You, my readers and askers, have provided a perfect platform for me to learn and grow experientially.

Now, I must move on. I graduate this term, and I can no longer write for TKS. I’m asking around to see if I can find a replacement who is willing to answer the questions you all have so kindly entrusted to me, but I’ll be taking the name “Pillowtalk” with me as I continue my journey as a freelance sex educator. I am now the senior sex educator at Pillowtalk Sex Ed (pillowtalksexed.com), a queer-centered, reproductive justice oriented, liberatory platform for sexuality resources, workshops, consultations, and more.

I’d like to leave you with a few parting words that have been running themes through your questions and my answers in the past few years. I hope that if you get only one thing out of Pillowtalk, it is this:

Use lube. Everyone needs it around, even if you get super wet on your own or prefer dull friction. You will find times that you’ll need it or your partner will, and it’s better to already have a sense for what your body likes and can tolerate, ingredients-wise. Be careful with the chemicals you put up inside your body. Stray away from grocery store lube (KY Jelly, Astroglide) and get some body safe ones (Gun Oil, Sliquid, Sutil, etc). 

Get tested. It’s easy, respectful, and basic medical care. Family Planning of Western IL is a few blocks from school and has a sliding scale. I’ve never paid for a single appointment there while I’ve been a student, and I’ve gone at least 6 times. You get one test through the school yearly, but it’s not going to cost you much of anything to do it more regularly than that, especially if you’re having multiple partners in a year. It’s non-invasive and quick (self administered swab in mouth, sometimes vagina, sometimes anus, sometimes a quick blood draw).

Consent is always important, and it can be more complicated than you might think when alcohol is involved. If you have sex while intoxicated, make sure to establish prior sober consent, have a clear mode of communication, and make sure a friend knows the situation and is prepared to help if need be. Assert your needs in sexual situations and practice saying things like “a little slower,” or “more lips, less tongue,” and “hold on, let’s take a breather.” 

Buying and using sex toys, watching and reading porn, casually hooking up, sending and receiving nudes and sexts, and otherwise engaging with sex work and sex services are all very normal things to do, but should be done with caution. Don’t listen to obvious scare tactics, but do listen to genuine concerns and warnings. (Most rumors about sex trafficking via texts and cult abductions aren’t true, they’re usually just phishing scams.)

Get to know your body. Even if you’re not interested in sex or masturbation, you should know what your genitals look like, feel like, and how they respond to stimuli so that you know your baseline “normal.” Got any skin tags? Blemishes, ingrown hairs? Sensitive to latex or lube? Knowing your body can clarify situations where you think you might need medical attention. Masturbation is your friend; you are your most consistently available and attentive sexual partner.

Those are some of the things I hope I can leave in the collective consciousness of the Knox College studentship. I hope I see you out there someday, and know that I am always available to talk, workshop, and provide resources. For now (and for the last time): have fun, be safe, and use lube!

Scan to visit Eli’s website: pillowtalksexed.com

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