Group Plans First Sex Week on Campus

With side servings of erotic cupcakes, student organization Sexual Health Education & Advocacy throughout Harvard College (SHEATH) will coordinate the first annual Sex Week at Harvard College. The event, which will take place the week of March 25, 2012, will provide an opportunity for campus discussions on sex and sexuality.

SHEATH, founded earlier this year, will collaborate with other Harvard organizations and offices to sponsor individual seminars and workshops during the week, delving into topics ranging from the hook-up culture of college to sexual communication.

“Our role is connecting groups that are already doing amazing work on campus and making sure they have a platform and the ability to work in conjunction with other groups,” said Samantha A. Meier ’12, co-founder of SHEATH. “This isn’t just our vision for Sex Week.”

Meier said that an environment that fosters open discussion about sex is necessary for an individual’s sexual wellbeing.

Sarah A. Rankin, Harvard’s director of the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, said this open discussion should include topics such as honest communication, enthusiastic consent, and self-reflection.

Abby P. Sun ’13, the other SHEATH co-founder, previously organized the annual female orgasm seminar in her role as co-president of the Radcliffe Union of Students.

“[The orgasm seminar] was packed, and we realized that the space available in the auditoriums is nowhere near the demand for students who want to attend events like that,” Sun said.

SHEATH’s announcement of Sex Week at Harvard coincided with Yale’s decision to strip Sex Week at Yale of the university’s name last Thursday­. The New Haven event is now called Sex Week 2012.

But organizers of Sex Week at Harvard note that Yale’s Sex Week is not the only example of such an event. For example, Brown has a well-established and well-received Sex Week. Sun and Meier have been in touch with the organizers of Sex Week at both universities and plan to use and improve upon their experiences.

“There are things that Sex Week at Yale does really well, there are also things that Sex Week at Yale could do better,” Meier said. “We’re interested in providing programming that Harvard students are going to like and that will serve as a launching pad for more discussion.”

SHEATH is still accepting applications from student groups to sponsor, co-sponsor, or participate in Sex Week events.

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