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Our raunchy ball 'not irresponsible' - safe sex organisers insist

By This is Exeter  |  Posted: December 03, 2008

Students supporting the safe sex cause, from left, Tessa Edwards, Emma Swanepod, Ola Slawinska, Mariana Moro, Nur Dulin, Yaz Husein, Carolina Cordero, Kathy Hofmeyr and Emma Byett LAURENCE UNDERHILL EE011208_LU06_05

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ORGANISERS have defended a raunchy student charity event to promote safe sex in which revellers dressed in skimpy outfits and were encouraged to enjoy a "red light district" while being given free condoms.

Around 2,500 people attended the Safer Sex Ball, organised by Exeter University's Raising and Giving Society.

The £35 a ticket night is one of the UK's biggest Aids awareness events and £34,000 is raised annually for Positive Action South West.

But some students are worried that the event, where revealing dress is expected, gives out the wrong message and encourages revellers to be promiscuous.

The theme of the ball was "Sex Around the World" and as well as the red light district, there were rooms depicting the Rio carnival, Wild West, a Japanese geisha's home and a chill-out area. The Scratch Perverts and student bands performed and former Libertines member Carl Barat did a DJ set.

One student, who attended the event, said: "I think the message of safe sex is communicated but everyone is so drunk no one really takes any notice."

Organiser Brad Fisher, 22, a third-year history and archeology student, admitted many students had what he called "a good time" together, but said the ball was the perfect location to spread a serious message.

"We tried to get across the importance of having safe sex. It's better like this than in a really staid way," he said.

"Obviously students know the facts but they may not know all they need to about sexually transmitted infections and that's what we wanted to get across.

"There were people walking around giving out free condoms; we did as much as we could to promote safe sex while raising money for charity, and it was a good balance."

First year student Jo Painter said: "I had a really, really good time. It was wicked.

"Three of us went as air hostesses. It was such a good laugh, really worth spending the money on the ticket."

"I've never seen so many random people still in their costumes leaving my halls this morning.

"There seems to be this massive thing about the SSB being the night everyone has sex.

"And they do kind of encourage it by having beds in the Kama Sutra room and stuff.

The committee organising the event said they did everything they could to promote safe sex.

"We had information about chlamydia on the night as well as the Stop Aids Society there," said Alice Bearn, one of the four organisers.

"In previous years the message has been lost so it was important for us this year that it was communicated well. The atmosphere on the night is never really sexual. It's just people having fun.

"Whether you believe it is irresponsible of us or not, you cannot argue with how much money it raises for charity. I'm really glad I did it. It's been very rewarding."

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    Ashlie, Exeter  |  December 04 2008, 9:37AM

    You're not a favourite then... But you can expect that for a someone who is being sexist and vulgar towards women. What about the men Mr Anon? And since when did the Mr "too much testosterone" Door Staff get such a vocabulary? I always have just seen most of you as "block heads" and that most door staff only train up so they can exercise being a bully...

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    Anon, Exeter  |  December 03 2008, 9:21PM

    To answer Mr Rowe's question: Most weekends ,on Exeter's pub and club circuit, particularly at closing time. Unfortunately today, most young women don't understand the concept that sex appeal comes with abstinence, eloquence and a sartorial sense of worth, and not in a pool of self induced vomit whilst dressed like a harlot and screaming profanities at the door staff.

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    Iain Rowe, Exmouth  |  December 03 2008, 4:44PM

    Gutted I missed this event, sounds like a ball! oh well theres always next year, i'll dust off my sailors outfit. FAO Anon, where can I find these sort of girls x

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    Sally, Tiverton  |  December 03 2008, 2:07PM

    Not ALL girls are like that mr Anon.

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    Ashlie, Exeter  |  December 03 2008, 1:10PM

    As a licensed Bar person I have never seen anything of the sort. seems rare occasions seen by anon has been blown up out of porportion. The safe sex ball is an organised annual event which is advertising a bit of a dress up. Students are the least of the worries when it comes to nights out. So I'm assuming this Door Supervisor is more familiar with the likes of Arena...

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    K Searle, Exeter  |  December 03 2008, 12:05PM

    No condemnation for the behaviour the boys then Anon?

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    Anon, Exeter  |  December 03 2008, 10:07AM

    As a licensed Door Supervisor working Exeter's pubs and clubs. Seeing drunken students, half undressed with girls exhibiting their underwear quite explicitly (perhaps as a trade for free drinks) and throwing-up either over the furniture or the bar, seems pretty much mainstream. We don't have beds in the club, suffice to say, they make do with toilet cubicles or nearby alleyways for impromptu sex. Not too many years ago, the pair bonding process would take place over a period of weeks or even months ¿ today it takes place within a couple hours of meeting each other with full sex taking place over a broken pub toilet seat or over a shopping trolley in the corner of a car park. Nice girls then.