Sex Week activities prove satisfying
The end of this week marks the completion of Washington University’s annual Sexual Responsibility Week, which traditionally falls during the week leading up to Valentine’s Day.
Sex Week was marked with numerous events hosted by several student groups, including the Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC), Pride Alliance, Safe Zones, Men Organized for Rape Education (MORE), Committee Organized for Rape Education (CORE), Hillel, Chabad, Reflections, V-Day, Alternative Lifestyles Association (ALA) and Controversy N’ Coffee.
The events put on during Sexual Responsibility Week are aimed at provoking discussion on the campus, educating students on safe and healthy sexual practices, and providing students with a fun and safe venue to ask questions about sexuality.
“Sex Week is an annual event that is overrun by SHAC,” said senior Kourtney Imburgia, ALA President. “Its purpose is to teach people about sex education and get people talking about sex.”
A Sexual Responsibility Week committee that is part of SHAC helped organize the week and many of the events that took place.
“Our goal is to broaden people’s horizons a bit,” said senior Mitch Jenkins, a member of both SHAC and the committee dealing with Sexual Responsibility Week. “We want to emphasize safety and awareness of sexual trends and general physical health.”
SHAC brought Judy Kuriansky, a professor at Columbia University and a sex educator, to campus in order to lead a workshop on tantric sex. According to Jenkins, Kuriansky was received well by the students in attendance.
“She taught us that it [tantric sex] was more of a way to live your life than a way to learn how to have sex,” Jenkins said. “I think people felt really involved in the activities she was having us take part in.”
In addition, ALA held five events this week, each aimed at providing a venue for students to discuss normally taboo subjects that they are curious about. The events included The Gay Marriage Debate, The Ultimate Guide to Women’s Sexual Pleasure, Sexploration on College Campuses, Sex in the DUC and Anal Pleasure 101.
To help in the discussion, ALA enlisted the help of Tristan Taormino, a sex expert who has been a sex educator for 17 years.
“She knows how to make students feel comfortable about asking potentially embarrassing sex questions,” Imburgia said. “She always encourages anonymous questions to make such a comfortable and open and judgment-free environment. She stayed an extra half hour to 45 minutes after every event to answer questions.”
Another one of the featured events was Relationship Culture on Campus, a discussion held by Controversy N’ Coffee.
“I thought the discussion was really good,” sophomore Mariana Oliver said. It actually helped that it was a small setting given the nature of the topic.”
Oliver stressed the need for college students to be able to communicate in an open forum about issues pertaining to sex.
“It was important to talk about how sex and relationships are related and how Wash. U. compares to other campuses and how it’s important to lay out expectations very clearly, because one person’s expectations may not be the same as the other,” she said.
Chabad, a Jewish organization on campus, held a workshop on the Jewish view on biblical sexuality. Chana Novack, director of operations of Chabad on Campus at Washington University, hosted it.
According to Novack, the workshop discussion centered on the analysis of some text sources from the first chapter of the Bible, particularly focusing on the creation story of men and women and how it philosophically pertained to human sexuality.
Novack found the event to be interesting and thought provoking.
“It was very interesting, it was a very diverse group of people,” Novack said. “It was also very interesting to hear people’s preconceived notions for what they think the Jewish views are on sexuality, and I think that people are generally pleased to hear that Judaism views sexuality as rooted in something holy and spiritual and is something to be explored within specific context but is not innately something negative and evil.”
To finish out the week, V-Day, an organization heading a global movement to stop violence against women and girls, will be presenting “The Vagina Monologues” in Graham Chapel. “The Vagina Monologues” is a play written by Eve Ensler and based on interviews with women about sex, love and femininity, among other things. “Monologues” will appear at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Many students said Sexual Responsibility Week provided an enjoyable experience.
“Sex Week is always great,” Imburgia said. “I love Sex Week. It’s one of my favorite weeks of the year. It is sex friendly and sex positive. It was a huge success.”