'Sex Weekend' Seeks to Stimulate Discussion

Peer education group Sexual Health Education and Advocacy Throughout Harvard College hosted Sex Weekend, a three-day event aimed at issues of sex, sexual health, relationships, and other sex-related topics, from Friday to Sunday.

The weekend's events were dubbed an abbreviated version of Sex Week, which happens in the fall, according to SHEATH co-president Lita D. Pena ’19.

“Our goal is to connect diverse individuals and communities both within and beyond Harvard through common human experiences, and to open up campus dialogue about these important issues,” she said.

The first event of the weekend was a film screening of “Sticky: A (Self) Love Story,” with a follow-up conversation about masturbation after the documentary. The film discussed the history and misconceptions surrounding masturbation.

Sex Toys at Sex Week
A variety of giveaways at a Sex Week event in November 2015.

Roberto Ruiz-Melendez ’20 said the film showed “how important it is to be sex positive.”


“I actually learned a lot,” he said. “I went just because my friends told me to and I was like, ‘Yeah sure, why not?’ But it was interesting to see the incredible amount of smear campaigns and negative ads against masturbation.”

Ruiz-Melendez said one of the most intriguing facts he learned was that the man who invented the Graham cracker wanted to stop people from having sex, “so they made really bland food that would kill people's sexual desire.”

The next event was a workshop called “Vocalizing Desire,” hosted by a representative from Good Vibrations, a Harvard Square sex toy vendor that "promotes sexual health, pleasure and empowerment,” according to its website.

“This workshop focused on increasing sexual communication between partners regarding safer sex practices, consent and boundaries, and wants and desires,” Pena said.

The final event of the weekend focused on how race and sexuality intersect.

“We hope that people can find a space that’s open and welcoming to discuss some of their anxieties or interests about sex and sexuality,” SHEATH co-president Amelia Lamp ’19 said.

In addition to the three events, SHEATH members distributed several different brands of free condoms and lubricants, candles that melt into a massaging oil, and vibrators and other toys donated by various companies including Good Vibrations, Pena said.

Claira Janover ’20, a member of SHEATH, said that the weekend was a fun way to discuss sex.

“I think it’s a really great way to make learning about sex fun,” Janover said. “A lot of people want to have a vibrator or have masturbation toys, but don’t want to express that desire.”

—Staff writer Margot D. Dionne can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @MargotDionne.


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