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Sex Week 2016 focuses on intersection of sex, technology

SHEEC hosts week of events, discussions on sexual health, social media trends

Sex Week 2016: Generation Se(X), a week consisting of over 20 workshops devoted to sexual health education and empowerment, wraps up today, ending this year’s technology-themed installment of the annual series.

The program, put on by the Sexual Health Education and Empowerment Council, focuses on the “intersections of social media and technology on sexual health,” said Alexandra Sepolen ’16, head chair of SHEEC. The week’s events aimed to improve students’ understanding of the influence of social media on sex and determine whether social media’s growing ubiquity “is changing the way that college students talk about sexual health,” Sepolen said.

“Our ultimate question is, ‘How have controversies that have shown up on public media or have been seen by the public eye … (impacted) how people develop relationships?’” Sepolen said.

Since its inception in 2008, Sex Week has brought together groups across campus to offer their take on that year’s unique theme. “We center Sex Week around a particular theme based upon interest among the student body and pertinent issues that are happening in the field,” Sepolen said. She credited the rises of sexting, cyber bullying and dating apps as the motivation behind this year’s choice of theme.

“Social media and dating apps have changed the way we present ourselves and interact — for example, Tinder is almost like a propaganda tool,” said one attendee of Monday’s #Masc4Masc panel. “I really appreciated the diversity of the panelists. … You got a lot of different perspectives on what masculinity meant to a lot of different people,” he added.

Sex Week featured daily topics such as #TechTuesday, #WetWednesday and #ThirstyThursday. Julia Horwitz ’19, who attended Sex Toys and Safety Wednesday, said she planned to attend events throughout the week. 

“It was really helpful to get safety information, not just about sex with a partner but also about masturbation,” Horwitz said. “Having the space to ask questions about, for example, which kinds of lube should be used with silicon sex toys, and then having those supplies available, made for a space that felt very safe and encouraging, the kind of space that doesn’t exist often enough on campus.”


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