University News

Sex week goes cross-cultural

By
Senior Staff Writer

From the U.S. to Japan, the fourth annual Sex Week examined sexual issues throughout the world. Sex Week, which started with a sex trivia event last Saturday night and included lectures, free HIV testing, a BodyTalk Wellness Fair, discussions and movie screenings, is sponsored by the Sexual Health Education and Empowerment Council and will end Saturday.

“We usually try to pick a theme that’s specific, but broad so that it’s easier for us to do programming around it,” said Council Co-Chair Aida Manduley ’11. “We try to balance things that we know are going to draw larger crowds with things that we know are going to draw smaller crowds, so we don’t sacrifice quantity over quality and vice versa.”

This year the council focused on collaborating with other groups, Manduley said. Students for Choice, Sexual Health Awareness Group, the Japanese Cultural Association and the Multiracial Identity Series all helped organize different events.

“One of the founding principles was that we wanted to be a group that opened up discussion and didn’t close doors on people,” Manduley said. “The first time that Sex Week happened, the majority of the events were coordinated by (the council), and it was a much smaller, more insular type of programming.”

The council worked with the Japanese Cultural Association to bring Midori, a sex educator with a Japan-specific focus on kink, to campus Wednesday. Midori took her audience on a verbal and visual tour through Japanese love hotels, sex stores and clubs.

“Every entry into a sex club, every drink I order is research,” she said. “It’s sociology and anthropology in the trenches.”

Midori aimed to show her audience that what they assume is natural is actually culturally formed. “My objective for tonight is to entertain, to give a grounded perspective and to get people to think about cultural perspective,” she told The Herald.

Her event was followed by the always popular “Sex and Chocolate in the Dark,” a discussion about sex conducted in the dark for anonymity purposes. It provides students with a safe and cozy place to discuss sex and eat chocolate, according to the council’s website.

Megan Andelloux, a traveling sex educator who has presented at Sex Week in the past, dominated Thursday’s events. Andelloux started off the morning with an intimate talk called “Tales of a Traveling Sex Educator,” in which she described her experiences working with Planned Parenthood and other organizations.

She presented an “Orchestrating Orgasms” workshop, which she told The Herald has caused students to pass out in the past from “informational overload,” to a packed Petteruti Lounge Thursday evening.

Andelloux provided her audience with comprehensive information about orgasms and sexual pleasure. She discussed different masturbation techniques, displayed different vibrators, lubes and toys and even acted out different positions.

Andelloux has been working on issues related to female sexual plea- sure with the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center for six years and said she firm- ly believes in the value of Sex Week. “I think any conversation about sexuality is helpful,” she told The Herald.

Sex Week is sponsored by a number of companies that provide products for the organizers to raffle off at their events. Manduley emphasized that the companies they chose are ones that are aligned with the council’s mission.

“A lot of them try to do work with education or at the very least are very committed to producing items that are safe for the body,” Manduley said. Some of the sponsors include Sexy Period, OhMiBod and Crystal Delights, which sells sex toys and donates some of its proceeds to charities.

Ariana Calderon ’13 said the event was smaller than it has been in past years, which she speculated might have been a result of poor advertising.

“I hope that it stays a thing at Brown,” she said.

Today’s Sex Week events include PrideProm – a dance meant to provide an open and accepting space for LGBTQ and allied students, according to the council’s website – and a screening of a number of pornographic films from different countries.