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Diversity, communication take center stage at SHAG’s Sex Week

SHAG’s 15th annual Sex Week programming has ‘Mean Girls’ theme

Last Thursday marked the end of the 15th annual “Sex Week” — a week of programming relating to sexual health organized by the University’s Sexual Health Awareness Group. 

While SHAG hasn’t always led sex week programming, the program is now one of SHAG’s primary responsibilities. This year, the week’s theme was “Mean Girls.”

This year’s most attended SHAG workshop — the cunnilingus workshop — was one of SHAG coordinator monique jonath ’24’s favorite events. The workshop “was something I had in the works for over a year,” jonath said. “It was really nice to see that come to fruition and see people be so positively impacted by it,” they added. 

Sander Moffitt ’24, another coordinator, emphasized the workshop’s focus on diversity. The presentation included a discussion of trans bodies and “made a really concerted effort to include all types of bodies even though the topic we’re covering is typically focused on one very specific type of body,” Moffitt said. 


Moffitt added that several students expressed appreciation for the presentation’s inclusion of “different types of trans bodies.”

Riki Doumbia ’26, another SHAG coordinator, said that hearing from workshop participants “about what the workshop meant to them, or how they’ve learned so much,” is her favorite part of sex week. “It’s then that you really get to see the impact of what you’ve done,” she said.

“Sex week is definitely one of my favorite weeks of the year,” jonath said. “It’s such a joy to see people have access to vulnerable conversations and to feel so safe in them.” 

jonath joined SHAG during their first semester at Brown and became a coordinator soon after that, making this spring their seventh and final semester as a coordinator. “SHAG (was) my first love at Brown,” jonath joked. 

“Sex Week is typically the first event that new members can do, which is quite a big leap from ‘I’ve never done this work before’ to ‘Now we are running the week of the year,’” jonath said, speaking to their admiration of new SHAG members. 

“It’s really important to foster welcoming spaces for people to talk about sex, especially on a college campus where some (students) previously might not have had access to these spaces,” new SHAG Peer Educator Anson Nguyen ’27 told The Herald.

Nguyen said that while SHAG works year-round, “Sex Week is our time to go all out with programming.” 

“I think it’s really effective for increasing our visibility across campus,” he added.

Naomi Ninneman, staff advisor to SHAG, who has served in the role for 14 years, said that SHAG and sex-week are driven by students’ voices and “what students want to be offering to their peers.”

SHAG also partners with other Brown groups to host workshops. This year, they worked with the LGBTQ Center and the Disability Justice Initiative to put on a two-part event about sex toys and the accessibility of pleasure.


Part one of the event included a group discussion of “all the different ways sex, disability and bodies interact,” Moffitt said. 

The second part of the event was a guided tour through an adult shop that “focused on queer-owned, locally made objects and how they can be used in accessible ways,” Moffitt added. 

jonath highlighted that while even peer educators have gaps in their knowledge and limits on what they’re comfortable discussing, “letting people know it’s normal to feel how they feel, to experience sex or mental health or their bodies as they do and watching that tension go away… is one of my favorite things.”

“Whether you’re having it or not, sex is a very important and impactful part of life,” jonath said, adding that practicing healthy communication about sex can translate to improved communication in other aspects of one’s life. 

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Doumbia said that destigmatizing conversations about sex “creates a space where people feel compelled to be themselves,” and feel comfortable to “identify however they want to.”

Talia LeVine

Talia LeVine is a photographer for The Herald and a University News Senior Staff Writer focusing on Admissions & Financial aid. She is a first-year from Seattle, WA studying Political Science with an emphasis on human rights.

Cate Latimer

Cate Latimer is a senior staff writer covering faculty and higher education. She is from Portland, OR, and studies English and Urban Studies. In her free time, you can find her playing ultimate frisbee or rewatching episodes of Parks and Rec.

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