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Harvard students gathered last week for the eleventh annual “Sex Week,” a weeklong series of events dedicated to sexual health and well-being, to discuss safer sex and sexual wellness, LGBTQ+ intimacy, and sexual pleasure.
Organized by Sexual Education by Harvard College Students — formerly known as Sexual Health Education and Advocacy Throughout Harvard College — programming ran from Monday, Oct. 30, until Sunday. The week included 22 events featuring sexual health and wellbeing experts offering students tips, advice, and insight on better and safer sex and ways of expressing sexuality.
Among the events were “Backdoor Basics: Anal 101,” “Unraveling the Intricacies of Collegiate Sexual Misconduct,” and “Come Hammered, Get Nailed: Safer Sex Under the Influence.”
Nolberto V. Martinez Maya ’25, the treasurer of SEHCS, said the main idea of Harvard Sex Week was to provide students with the opportunity to learn about topics pertaining to sex and sexual health, given that “sexual education in some states or in some countries is not usually as open.”
SEHCS President Julia R. Bhuiyan ’25 discussed the importance of the week’s inclusivity, saying that the organizers attempted to host events that could accommodate a wide audience with various interests.
“Something we really focused on this year was creating more consent-based spaces. We included our organization's definition of consent on every flyer that we gave out, we included it on every single one of our promotional materials, and we expressed it at the beginning of each of our events. This is because we want people to feel safe,” Bhuiyan said.
Emphasizing the need to respect individual boundaries and restrictions, Bhuiyan said this year marked the first time the events were recorded to be shared on the website, allowing individuals to benefit from the content even if they were not able to attend the events.
Elisabeth H. Quint, a gynecologist at Boston Children’s Hospital with expertise in working with women with intellectual disabilities, led a talk on Friday about “Disability and Sexual Wellness.” She discussed the importance of safety regarding sexual health and pleasure for those with intellectual disabilities.
“It’s about being free from coercion, being free from discrimination, and the sexual rights of all people need to be respected and protected,” Quint said.
At another event, titled “Real Bodies vs. Reel Bodies: Debunking Body Myths Set by Social Media,” panelists talked about the importance of discussing one’s body and sexual health, highlighting misinformation and the lack of adequate sexual education in schools.
Martinez highlighted the importance of maintaining “long-standing partnerships” with the companies who helped with Sex Week and continuing to involve students in these discussions.
“I’m aware that Harvard College kind of has offices that are available and to give these resources to students,” Martinez said. “However, I think just having students that are of the same age do that is really helpful and allows for more students to essentially become engaged.”
—Staff writer Hana Rostami can be reached at email@example.com.
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