Sex Week: Breaking The Taboo

I had the idea to organize Sex Week at Colgate last spring, although I freely admit that I didn’t “have” the idea so much as steal it off a poster in a transfer student’s dorm room advertising a sex week at a different university. Let’s just call it research. The point is, Sex Week has been swimming around in my brain for long enough that I can talk about it without blushing. I can discuss the upcoming events – like SCRC’s condom Olympics or the upcoming “Sex Ed for Grownups” lecture (delivered in part by an NYC sex columnist who is also a Colgate alum) without batting an eyelash. So sometimes I forget that other people are slightly weirded out, or at the least nonplussed, about two weeks worth of events revolving around sex. I’ve certainly had my share of blank stares when I mention Sex Week. People just look at me like “What is this girl thinking?” My friend Ryan thinks, for example, that I’m a nymphomaniac, and I know this because he told me so (more than once). I guess this is the side effect of planning a sex week, writing a fluffy column that occasionally mentions sex, and of, in general, not being afraid to talk about sex. Or, he might just want me. But either way, a discrepancy exists between our society’s sexual progression and our willingness to acknowledge this as healthy and normal. Everyone refers to Colgate as a “hookup school,” so I would infer many people are spending their weekends between sheets. And yeah, you hear people bragging about getting ass or whatever the kids call it these days. Why, then, do we still feel sheepish talking about sex in any kind of open forum? Is sex something that’s okay when you’re plastered on a given Friday night – but plastered on a poster in the Coop, it’s weird? Or, does it makes me a nymphomaniac because I’m helping to organize it all? I’m assuming the average Joe hasn’t been called a nympho, at least not seriously, so let’s look at another example. How many times have you overheard – or directly heard – people talking about someone else’s sexual behavior as if that person should be ashamed? We throw around the word slut like a hot potato, as if we should sentence someone who wants to have sex to a lifetime of labels. As if we have a right to judge. And what are the rules, anyway? Does a specific number of sexual partners make you a “slut”? Like, “Oh, that’s one more, now she’s passed her quota!” Or, maybe it has to do with time span. Or, the intimacy level of a relationship. My vision for Sex Week at Colgate is to educate people about engaging in a potentially high-risk behavior, and helping to ensure they stay smart and safe. But it is also – and perhaps more importantly – about celebrating our position as sexual people. I don’t think it’s any of my business who you’re sleeping with, what gender they are, how often it’s all happening, or what position you like the best. So, enough with the name calling already. We should embrace the freedom to live in a society where talking about sex is getting increasingly less taboo. We need to talk about sex, read about sex, write about sex, and maybe, if the timing’s right and the person is right, do it.