Toad’s hosts sex forum

Toad’s Place swapped dancers and penny drinks for activists and open discussion during Wednesday afternoon’s “Sex at Yale: The Toad’s Edition” forum hosted by the Yale Women’s Center.

Recognizing the New Haven dance club and concert venue as a staple of Yale’s sexual culture, Women’s Center representatives encouraged Yalies to “see Toad’s with the lights on” and discuss sex and alcohol issues associated with the club’s weekly dance parties. Eighty-eight students in attendance related a range of experiences, and generally agreed that going to Toad’s can be both enjoyable and unsavory.

“We’re doing this with a sense of humor, but we’re not trying to be ironic,” Alice Buttrick ’10, the center’s public relations coordinator said. “Everyone knows about Toad’s, so it seemed like a good, universal place to address the dating scene and sexual culture [at Yale].”

Familiar dance hits played and colored lights flashed as Women’s Center board members Kathleen Powers ’12 and Emma Barasch ’11 welcomed the crowd to enjoy Yorkside pizza before breaking off into small discussion groups. Attendees were offered the option of joining a same-sex discussion group.

While shuffling into their chairs, a number of participants remarked that the floor, though dirty, appeared far less grimy in the light than they had imagined. For some students, this unique event offered their first ever glimpse of Toad’s.

Women’s Center staffer Yinshi Lerman-Tan ’11 said the open dialogue in each group had no pre-set format, but simply offered a chance for students to consider their sexual habits, as well as “all things Toad’s — the good and the bad.”

Each small discussion group covered varied issues, including alcohol abuse, consent to sex, Yale’s hook-up culture and gender dynamics in the context of Toad’s Place dance parties. Discussion leaders encouraged participants to speak freely about opinions and personal experiences in the “safe space” of their group. Discussions were off the record.

Buttrick said the event was part of the Women’s Center’s ongoing efforts to promote consent education, cultural awareness and sexual harassment prevention. Several groups on campus, including the fraternities Sigma Phi Epsilon and Sigma Alpha Epsilon, the sorority Pi Beta Phi and cultural organizations such as the Black Men’s Union, voiced their support for the forum or had members in attendance, Buttrick said.

Buttrick said the event went “incredibly well” based on the turnout, flow of conversation and positive responses received immediately afterwards. She added that the Women’s Center will continue to collect feedback throughout the coming week to gauge whether the event was successful and to benefit future “Sex at Yale” discussions.

All six students interviewed after the forum said they enjoyed the event and particularly the choice of venue.

“The event was well facilitated, and I felt comfortable talking about real, sometimes awkward topics,” Zoe Greenberg ’13 said.

The Women’s Center also hosted Toad’s weekly Wednesday night dance party following the forum.


  • Yale 11

    The Yale Women’s Center is the LEAST qualified group to run such an event.

  • Yale 08

    With this event, the differences between a loyal member of the Women’s Center and a Q’Pac girl ironically become even fewer. Nevertheless, I still prefer the Q’Pacers by a wide, wide margin.

  • femme11

    i really appreciate the women’s center’s efforts to address a wider range of issues this year. the event was great, and i’m glad i attended. and as far as the 2 comments before: 1) how could you know how qualified the Women’s Center is if you didn’t even go? 2) Have you even been to the Women’s Center in the last two years?

  • Dounia Bredes

    The Yale Women’s Center Board remains committed to feminist advocacy at Yale, and recently we have been focused on outreach, of which the “Let’s Talk about Sex: The Toad’s Edition” was a part.

    The discussion at Toad’s on Wednesday, December 2nd was the second of two such talks organized by the Women’s Center. Both talks were supported by many campus groups–sports teams, fraternities and sororities, cultural houses, and lgbt organizations–which sent representatives to lead the small group discussions that made up the bulk of both events.

    Here are some of the discussion questions that were asked this past Wednesday:

    Why Toads? Does the myth hold up to the reality?
    How do you establish consent at Toad’s, or with someone you met at Toad’s?
    Do you feel like you could sexually explore at Toad’s?
    What role do non-Yalies play in your Toad’s experience?
    How does alcohol factor into your time at Toad’s?

    The purpose of the event was to recognize Toad’s as a landmark for students and as an important part of sexual culture at Yale. So far, the feedback has been positive. However, if you felt unwelcome at the event or unhappy about it in general, we would welcome your feedback. You can contact me personally or drop by the Center during our open hours: Monday – Wednesday 4pm – midnight, or Friday – Sunday 2pm – 5pm.

    On Monday, December 7th, the Women’s Center is throwing a party–called Winter Wonder Women–and everyone’s invited. This party is also an opportunity to get more involved with the Center, since we will be planning for next semester and organizing working groups.

    You are always welcome at the Center. If you feel that your interests have been badly served in the past, please stop by and get a better idea of who we are and what we do.

  • Thanks

    Thanks for the comment, Dounia Bredes. The article itself didn’t mention any of the actual questions/topics discussed, which made the whole article a little opaque for those of us who weren’t there.

  • @Thanks

    “Each small discussion group covered varied issues, including alcohol abuse, consent to sex, Yale’s hook-up culture and gender dynamics in the context of Toad’s Place dance parties. Discussion leaders encouraged participants to speak freely about opinions and personal experiences in the ‘safe space’ of their group. Discussions were off the record.”

  • The myth of toads…its true

    I met my wife at toads in 1995. We hooked up one night and got married after graduation and have been together for 13 years. PS This post is a creative work of fiction but toads is real. and it can be for you as well

  • what?

    What is the point of this discussion other than a pure waste of time? If you like Toad’s, go more often. If you don’t, then don’t go. It is as simple as that. Toad’s is a reflection of countless other clubs and bars across the country. There is no special significance to Toad’s and a discussion centered around one nightclub is just plain inane.

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    but found this forum but anyway found here some interesting topics and think will stay for longer.

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  • LowerLadySheriff

    Now that cannabis has been reclassified, does it remain legal to own the seeds?
    A company are using our business address as a “return to sender” address, I suppose in an attempt to not get caught. We tried to take them to the Police Station in the Summer but they wouldn’t take them because it was legal to own cannabis (marijuana) seeds.