What's wrong with sex-ed?

Zain Khalid

Life is pretty tough for abstainers. As if dealing with Harvard’s debaucherous social scene weren’t enough, recently they were also faced with a non-mandatory workshop on sexual well-being. Will it ever end?

Well, if some campus conservatives have their way, it will. The college-sponsored event “Hooking Up at Harvard” has some students decrying what they view as shameless promotion of premarital sex by the college administration.

Of course, any time sex comes up, some Victorian sensibilities might be offended. But the only real difference between “Hooking Up” and any other wellness event is the titillating topic.

The college is in the business of promoting the wellbeing of students and, as Susan B. Marine, director of the Women’s Center, wrote in an e-mail to a concerned student, “Access to information about sexual health, decision-making, and well-being is an integral part of adulthood, and our role as educators is to enable all students who wish to learn about their own development to have access to accurate, meaningful information.”

While a college event promoting one side of a controversial political topic would be inappropriate, “Hooking Up at Harvard” didn’t espouse an ideology; it simply provided information. The tagline of the program explicitly includes our “Future” sex lives, making it clear that the event’s organizers did not believe that every student is, or should be, having sex. At the event itself, Madison tried to dispel the stigma associated with virginity, and emphasized good choices rather than promiscuity. If the idea of someone talking about (gasp) anal sex in public still bothers you, then I’m pleased to inform you that you don’t have to attend.

While it may come as a surprise, there are students at Harvard who want to have sex. We shouldn’t deny them the opportunity of learning about sexual well-being just because the mere mention of the topic offends a few delicate souls.

Daniel E. Herz-Roiphe ’10, a Crimson editorial editor, lives in Straus Hall.