Sex Week aims to educate, provide services

| Staff Reporter

Sex Week at Washington University, the annual series of events intended to provide students with information and resources regarding sex in all forms, is currently underway.

Put on by the Peer Health Educators (PHEs), this year’s week runs from Feb. 15 through Feb. 19 with daily events, highlighted by Student Health Services’ free STI screenings on Tuesday afternoon.

The week kicked off on Monday with “Let’s Talk About Sex (Toys),” a presentation and Q&A led by Sarah Michelson, owner of feminist sex store Box.

At Tuesday’s free STI screening, students received free testing for HIV, chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea. It was hosted in conjunction with the Spot, Phi Lambda Psi and the medical school in the Danforth University Center. Students who took tests were promised to receive their confidential results in around 10 days.

Freshman Forrest Nagy feels that the free STI screening is beneficial to members of the Washington University community.

“I think it’s a fantastic idea for Wash. U. to provide this service for students,” he said.

In addition to providing free testing on Tuesday, SHS informed students of future opportunities to get tested for STIs. Students can schedule appointments for STI testing on the SHS website, and appointments are available Monday through Friday.

Cheri LeBlanc, the director of student health and wellness, stressed the need for students to get checked for STIs.

“For students who are sexually active, it is important to have regular sexual health checkups to screen for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), as many STIs do not cause symptoms,” LeBlanc told Student Life in a previous interview.

Wednesday’s events included “Java and Justice: The Politics of Pleasure,” co-hosted by the Social Justice Center, a discussion about who is allowed to engage in sex and who is not, and “Kinking it up; Tying it down. Kink 101.”

Junior Katie Yun, who is the coordinator of the Java and Justice program, believes this conversation will allow students to further understand how society perceives sex.

“The aim of this week’s discussion is to have a safe discussion about the politics of pleasure; talking about who is allowed to have pleasure, how public assumptions of identity shape how we engage with sex and interrogating what the stakes are talking about or engaging in pleasure, especially if you are outside the sexual, identity, gender norm,” Yun said.

To finish off Sex Week, the PHEs are hosting Thursday’s LGBTQIA* Sex in the Dark, an opportunity for students to learn more about safe sex and sexual pleasure in non-heterosexual relationships, and Friday’s Getting Handsy: Sexy Crafts with Bedsider, an opportunity for students to learn more about contraceptive options while making crafts like condom holders and sleep masks.