As usual, Yalies will talk about sex this week instead of actually getting it. But this time they’re getting professional help.
Campus-Wide Sex Week, a weeklong discussion series about sexuality, the body, love and intimacy, started off with a bang Sunday night. Students gathered at “Safer Sex Study Breaks” in several residential colleges to begin the dialogue on sex.
“Everyone thinks about sex,” said Eric Rubenstein ’04, a Sex Week founder and coordinator. “This week is designed to allow people an opportunity to discuss sex openly.”
Sponsored by Student Health Education; Yale Hillel; the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Cooperative at Yale; and the Women’s Center; Sex Week will address the taboo topic in a variety of ways. There will be faculty lectures, music, movies and dinner — all to get Yalies in the mood to … talk about sex.
“We have an opportunity to develop our ideas about what sex is and how it relates to us,” Rubenstein said. “There’s something for everyone, whether you’re interested in hooking up at Yale or discussing abstinence.”
Rubenstein said he expects Campus-Wide Sex Week to be a big event. He said two film crews will be coming in to tape the panels, and newspapers and magazines in New York and New Jersey are covering the event. He added MTV has also expressed interest.
The highlight of the weeklong festivities will most likely be the celebrity panel on Sunday. Screw Magazine’s Al Goldstein; Susan Block ’77, the sex therapist known as the “Howard Stern of the West Coast”; Joey Reynolds, a nationally syndicated radio show host and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee; New York sex therapist Dr. Glida Carle; and Nancy Slotnick, the owner and founder of a New York City bar with a dating service component, will discuss “Selling Sex: Where do you draw the line?”
“Kosher Tantric Sex: Learning from the Kabbalah and Eastern Mysticism” is another forum that is not to be missed. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, author of “Kosher Sex,” and Dr. Judy Kuriansky, a New York City radio personality and author of “Tantric Sex” will meet to discuss their work and field questions.
Anyone who lived within a 50-mile radius of New York City in the early 1990s cannot forget Dr. Judy’s “Love Phones” show on Z100. Nightly, Dr. Judy fielded love-linked questions ranging from abstinence and adultery to penis size.
Matthew Longo ’02 said he was familiar with Dr. Judy but that he was not personally inclined to go to any of the events.
“Those kind of things are interesting in the abstract, but if I actually want to learn them I’ll go online,” Longo said. “There are plenty of Web sites waiting to entertain me.”
There will also be a series of lectures to stimulate the Yale community. Professor William Summers, who teaches “Gender, Science and Sexuality,” will kick off the series with a lecture on inter-sex — the sexuality of people born with androgynous or malformed sex organs.
Summers was a key faculty member in the realization of Sex Week. He said the week is “a good chance for students to talk about something they just don’t discuss in a one-shot deal.” He also said he hopes that the week will weaken the taboo on sex, allowing students to open up.
By opening up, maybe Yalies will actually confront their sexual selves.
“The more people talk about sexuality, the better,” Summers said. “Sexuality’s a vague concept to pin down. Where do I fit in? Am I normal? How do I understand these feelings, and how do I integrate them into how I see the world? Our culture doesn’t tell us much about the sexual aspect of the world.”
Many students will be buzzing with excitement, so to speak, after professor Naomi Rogers’ “The History of the Vibrator” Wednesday night.
From the people who sign your schedule comes advice of a different kind in the form of a faculty panel on Friday titled “College Sex 101b.” It is hoped that no demonstrations will be involved.
More cinematically, musically or gastronomically inclined students might attend “Sex Fest 2002: Films of Love and Lust” on Friday; the live concert at the Women’s Center, also on Friday; or the Red and White Dinner at Lindy’s in the Slifka Center.
The succulent feast will include an all-aphrodisiac menu with lots of dips and foods for dipping.
“Dipping things is very sexy,” Rubenstein added. “When it’s spicy, when it’s sweet.”
For those interested in improving their sexual skills, the peer health educators are running their traditional sex workshops throughout the week. The series began Monday with a talk on the “Secrets of Great Sex.”
“I wanted to go with friends, but they thought it would look shady to show up with other dudes,” William Jarmuz ’05 said.
If you missed it or didn’t want to go with “other dudes,” don’t worry — “How to Be a Better Lover” and “How to Hook Up at Yale” will follow on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“I think it’ll be fun,” said Jacqueline Farber ’03, a heath education co-coordinator and organizer of Sex Week. “It’s not high school with the gym teachers and the pictures and the coughing — we’re mature adults.”
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