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Student-Run ‘Sex Week’ Opens With Three Events

By Hannah Natanson, Contributing Writer

Sex Week is officially underway on Harvard’s campus. The weeklong program, coordinated by the student-run group Sexual Health Education and Advocacy throughout Harvard College, is open to the public and looks to foster thought-provoking conversations about sex and sexuality, according to organizers.

The week kicked off with a film screening at Holden Chapel on Sunday. Since then, the group has held two more events, and nine more are scheduled before the week’s close next Saturday.

“Conversations during Sex Week are often determined by the people who come into the room,” said Kirin Gupta ’16, a SHEATH board member. “This year, so far, there’s been a much broader audience than in previous years. I think this is a sign of the evolving discourse on sex and intimacy on campus.”

The most recent Sex Week event, titled “Feeling Myself: Conversations About Masturbation,” took place Monday night in the Women’s Center Lounge in Canaday Hall's basement. Gupta and Sofia Escudero ‘16, an intern at the Women’s Center, led the discussion. The group explored topics including attendees’ experiences with sex education, societal conceptions of virginity, and how the transition from high school to college affected participants’ abilities to speak openly about things like sexuality and masturbation.

Kylie Pratt, an undergraduate at Simmons College, spoke about how collegiate life offers more opportunities for frank, honest discussion than life in high school. She said it was taboo to mention masturbation throughout her childhood in rural Maine.

Octavious Talbot, a Harvard graduate student, agreed. “Women in particular seem more open to these types of discussions in college,” he said.

The next Sex Week event, a sexual health career panel, will take place in Ticknor Lounge at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

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