Harvard's 2nd Sex Week Kicks Off With Spoken Word

“I wrote this poem immediately post-sex,” said Yazmin Monet Watkins, spinning playfully in a circle at the front of the room. “I don’t feel the need to dance around the issue. We’re talking about sex here.”

Watkins, a queer spoken word poet, launched Harvard’s second annual Sex Week by sharing several poems with an audience of 60 students Sunday evening. Touching on a range of topics from discovering sexuality to religion to sexual violence, Watkins made the crowd laugh, clap, and snap their fingers in approval.

“I really enjoy being able to share my erotic poems,” Watkins said. “Most of the events I speak at aren’t sex-centered, so I really love this chance.”

Members of Sexual Health Education and Advocacy throughout Harvard College, the group that organizes Sex Week, said that this opening event was a great way to set the stage for the days ahead.

“I thought that Yazmin was awesome,” Julia B. Hyman ’15 said. “I think that if the week had to start with something, this event was it.”

SHEATH co-president Martha R. Farlow ’13 said that Director of BGLTQ Student Life Van Bailey recommended Watkins highly and worked with SHEATH to arrange Watkins’ presentation.

“We thought that Yazmin could reach a lot of people in different ways,” Farlow said. “She’s young and she can really connect with an audience emotionally.”

At the event, audience members were treated to SHEATH’s infamous vagina cupcakes. In addition, seventeen students also won prizes of Sex Week t-shirts or vibrators.

SHEATH members said that Sex Week, which was first introduced to Harvard seven months ago, is meant to promote dialogue on campus about sex and related topics. Though the first Sex Week occurred last March, co-president Hazel A. Lever ’13 said that moving Sex Week to the fall was both a convenient and strategic move.

“We wanted to get a headstart and get people while they’re fresh,” she said.

Weeks of preparation went into planning events taking place over the next few days, including acquiring thousands of condoms to give away.

“I think we have more condoms than Harvard students can use in a year,” Farlow said.

Events will include a sex education workshop specifically targeted at freshmen, a conversation on faith, sex, and love, a talk by Dr. Elizabeth Reis about genital cosmetic surgery, and a sexual assault policy panel, among others. The events are meant to appeal to a variety of populations, providing information for both the uninitiated and experienced students.

Students at the opening event said they are particularly excited about the session called “The Female Orgasm and All Things Penis,” which will be hosted by sexologist Jill McDevitt.

—Staff writer Michelle Denise L. Ferreol can be reached at mferreol@college.harvard.edu

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

CORRECTION: Oct. 22

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the annual Female Orgasm Seminar had been renamed “The Female Orgasm and All Things Penis.” In fact, the session on orgasms and penises which will take place this week is a separate event from the Female Orgasm Seminar, which will be held in the spring.

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