Here’s Your Class Syllabus for ‘Sex Week’ at Harvard

This year's topics include discussions on anal sex, safer sex practices, and 'exotification.'

Photo via SHEATH/Sex Week at Harvard

Photo via SHEATH/Sex Week at Harvard

For three years, organizers from Sexual Health Education and Advocacy throughout Harvard College, or SHEATH, have been getting people to step out of their comfort zones to talk about subjects mostly left to discussions behind closed doors, during their annual “Sex Week” event. And this week, they’re doing it again.

This year’s “Sex Week” at Harvard promises to take a hard look at love, intercourse, sexuality, gender, gender identity, and relationships, according to the co-creators of the seven-day event, which began on November 2, striking up conversations about bedroom-related issues some people might be too afraid to research on their own.

“We intend to provide a week of programming that is interdisciplinary, thought-provoking, scholastic, innovative, and applicable to student experiences in order to promote a holistic understanding of sex and sexuality,” said members of SHEATH, a student-run group that’s recognized by Harvard. “Our goal is to connect diverse individuals and communities both within and beyond Harvard through common human experiences.”

Working with other campus groups, school faculty, and health advocacy organizations from outside of the Harvard community, the bi-annual series, which consists of free seminars and panels, won’t shy away from bringing strangers under one roof to delve into topics like anal sex, and how to use different forms of contraception.

“We feel that holding a ‘Sex Week’ that comprehensively addresses the wide range of issues related to sexuality is the best way to bring together these communities and foster open, productive, and ongoing discussion,” according to event details.

Like previous years, all of the scheduled events—found here—during the third annual Sex Week at Harvard are free and open to the public. Attendees can pop in at their leisure, and catch an information session and discussion that speaks to their interests.

Here’s a snapshot of some of the panels happening this week:

The Basics:

Did you skip out on Sex Ed when you were in high school? Perhaps you were too embarrassed to ask questions about what happens between the sheets in front of your peers? SHEATH has you covered with this text-book “primer” hosted by Sex educator Shira Cahn-Lipman, which will feature some interactive lessons.

Butting In:

During a discussion called, “What What In the Butt: Anal Sex 101,” attendees can learn “everything about anal sex” from the experts at Good Vibrations, an adult toy store located in Brookline. The featured speaker will chat about “why people do it” and “how to do it well.” Expect to hear a lot of chatter about lubes, anal toys, and safer sex. Anal penetration for beginners is also on the agenda.

Grey Area:

During “Fifty Shades of False: Kink, Fantasy, and Fetish,” experts will dispel some of the myths about bondage “through the lens of the ever popular Fifty Shades of Grey.” During the presentation, hosted by Munch, a group of Harvard students interested in kink and alternative sexualities, the speakers plan to “expose and attempt to correct” all the things the book got wrong, and speak truthfully about the fetish.