After a whole week devoted to frank discussions of sex just two weeks ago, one might think that Harvard students had exhausted the subject. But an intimate gathering of fewer than ten students in Leverett Private Dining Room proved otherwise on Wednesday, as students discussed topics ranging from group sex to transgender sex to whether one prefers the word “cock” or “dick.”
The free-wheeling question and answer session led by sex educators Lyndon Cudlitz and Shana F. Natelson was part of Queer Students and Allies’ “Take Back The Night” programming, a series of events that aims to shed light on sexual assault as well as encourage healthy sexual behavior.
“We’re here to create a safe space to have a conversation about sex, about queer sex, about bringing in toys, about partners, about alcohol, about consent,” Natelson said.
The two speakers emphasized the importance of communication about sexuality, before and during the act itself. Cudlitz described her first relationship with a transgender partner, which she said taught her about how to discuss bodies when navigating sexuality and gender identity.
“Suddenly I was with this trans guy, and I needed to reform how to talk about his body,” Cudlitz said. “This was his chest, and that was not his cunt. That was something else.”
In an another anecdote, Cudlitz said she was caught off guard by the use of latex gloves when she first had no-fluid-contact sex with another woman.
“Gloves—oh, she wants me to put on a glove and fuck her. And that was not part of my experience at all,” Cudlitz said.
The sex educators distributed lubricant and latex and non-latex gloves for the students to inspect during the conversation.
They also spoke about active rather than passive consent to sexual acts.
“So much of consent is the ‘yes’ side of it and not the lack of a ‘no,’” Natelson said. “If you want someone to grab your breast or to get a bottle of lube or to play around with butt-play—feel comfortable asking for that.”
Students at the event could ask questions anonymously by texting their inquiries to Natelson’s phone number. “It was a way to get substantive questions out of the way without note cards,” said Kenneth Mai ’15. “It made it much less obvious and much more discreet.”
Student questions ranged from the appropriate time for broaching the subject of group sex in a monogamous relationship to the correct amount of lubrication to use while having sex.
Though the discussion focused on queer sex, Mai said that he thought the event’s topics was relevant for everyone.
“Even if this information isn’t applicable to yourself or your life, it’s applicable to someone else that you will know,” he said.