Sex Week planned for February

Speed dating was one of the events featured during Sex Week 2012.
Speed dating was one of the events featured during Sex Week 2012. Photo by Jane Long.

Sex Week is returning to Yale this year.

The weeklong series of events on sex-related topics usually takes place once every two years, but organizers decided to begin hosting the events annually to make Sex Week more institutionalized and familiar to students. Organizers decided to abridge the event series into Sex Week(end), which will begin Thursday, Feb. 28 and last through that weekend, in part because they did not want to compete with the February 2013 IvyQ conference for funding and publicity. Sex Week(end) co-director Ruby Spiegel ’15 said she expects events this year to be “less controversial” than last year, when Sex Week came after the 2011 report from the Advisory Committee on Campus Climate recommended Yale ban the event series.

“We want to follow the vein of [last year’s] Sex Week … but [we also] want to set forth a well-articulated and positive framework of what sex is without [having to be] on the defensive,” co-director Hannah Mogul-Adlin ’13 said.

Although students have organized Sex Week(end) in the past, the event has been sporadic, Spiegel said. She added that holding Sex Week events on an annual basis will help the events become less shocking each time they take place and foster more consistent dialogue about sex on campus.

Sex Week(end) has received strong support from administrators, including Yale College Dean Mary Miller and Assistant Dean Melanie Boyd, Mogul-Adlin said. The current model for the event series has addressed many past criticisms, including the Marshall Committee’s recommendation that Sex Week not have commercial sponsors, Spiegel said. She added that this year’s event will voluntarily adhere to the committee’s recommendations.

Connie Cho ’13, an organizer of Sex Week 2012, said last year’s organizers developed a relationship of trust with the administration.

“Sex Week 2013 won’t be colored by a defensive position because of the Marshall Committee report,” she said.

Since the Advisory Committee released its report, several new programs have begun that foster a healthier sexual climate, Mogul-Adlin said, and the existence of other forums for discussion of sexual topics will contribute to the quality of Sex Week(end). In particular, Mogul-Adlin said she hopes students will have a place to discuss new knowledge they acquire at Sex Week(end) at the Sexual Literacy Forum’s weekly sex-related workshops.

“[These other programs] make us less controversial,” Spiegel said. “We don’t want to be the only people talking about it for two weeks a year … Sex is always a negotiation, and you never just talk about it once.”

Sex Week(end) organizers will publicly release an events proposal for administrators to review, Spiegel said, and organizers intend to remain in contact with administrators throughout the planning process. No events have been confirmed yet, and organizers hope to emphasize co-hosting events with cultural houses, religious groups and fraternities, Spiegel added.

Bijan Aboutorabi ’13, a member of Undergraduates for a Better Yale College, which opposed Sex Week last year and hosted a Sex Week alternative called True Love Week, said he hopes the administration will play a bigger role in “toning down Sex Week” or banning the event entirely, although Sex Week 2012 was less commercial than its predecessors.

“To many mature adults, Sex Week is the embodiment of what is wrong with the administration’s strictly laissez-faire approach to sexual culture,” Aboutorabi said.

There are no current plans for a 2013 True Love Week, he added.

The Sex Week board is composed of seven student members selected by the former board in October.

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