The University of Chicago’s fourth annual Sex Week begins today.
Sex Week is a week dedicated to the open, supportive discussion of sex in a safe environment. Recognizing that the topic of sex can be difficult to address, Sex Week aims to provide students with an opportunity to learn more and ask questions that they may not have had the opportunity to otherwise, according to their mission statement.
According to fourth-year Angie Wan, one of the co-directors of Sex Week along with fourth-year Lucia Lu, the week is not only about conversations about sex, but more importantly about conversations that do not occur. The Sex Week team hopes to allow students to explore themselves and their identities, both sexual and nonsexual.
“Because humans are so complex socially, there is this huge discourse around sex for an act that is in many ways fundamental. Regardless of your opinion on sex or your orientation or your identity, that conversation around sex impacts everyone’s lives,” Wan said.
Although Sex Week has grown over the past few years, specifically in terms of student and RSO participation, it remains a young program at UChicago. While certain core events, such as the Lascivious Ball, have carried over, the lineup of events changes from year to year. Unlike last year’s events, which primarily focused on relationships and identity, this year’s events are centered around the ideas of sex and physical relations.
According to Wan, the Sex Week team is seeking to incorporate a wide range of content in an effort to attract and relate to as many students and faculty as possible.
The guest speakers for 2016 range from sex educators to comedians and include Bianca Palmisano (sex educator and healthcare consultant), Chelsea Poe (trans porn actress and activist), Janet Varney (comedian, actress, and voice of Korra from The Legend of Korra), and Lorca Jolene (UChicago alum and creator of our How to Support a Friend Survivor workshop) among others.
The week begins with the Lascivious Ball on Friday, during which students and faculty are encouraged to come together to celebrate freedom of sexual identity through expressive costumes.
The week will continue through Sunday, January 31 with events such as Taste of Kink, The Magical World of Porn, Sex & Human Rights, A Consumer’s Guide to Sex Toys, and Dating While Trans.
Sex Week is sponsored by a number of on-and-off-campus organizations such as the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, Early to Bed Sex Store, Office of Spiritual Life, UChicago Hillel, and Trojan Condoms.
Recognizing that discussions may involve explicit material and may make some uncomfortable, the Sex Week Team emphasizes that students are free to leave the events whenever they please and will be providing referral services to all who are interested.
With the exception of the Lascivious Ball, which has a $10 admission fee, all Sex Week events are free.