Sex Week at Yale
Organized originally in 2002 by then Yale College students Eric Rubenstein and Jacqueline Farber, Sex Week at Yale is a biennial event described on its website as "an interdisciplinary sex education program designed to pique students’ interest through creative, interactive, and exciting programming." Sex Week at Yale explores love, sex, intimacy and relationships by focusing on how sexuality is manifested in America, helping students to reconcile these issues in their own lives. The week gives students access to professionals both in the classroom and during informal events, including debates, seminars, fashion shows, concerts, and discussions. The events provide students the opportunity to learn about love, sex, intimacy, and relationships from experienced professionals who deal with these issues every day in their professional lives.
In 2002, Eric Rubens approached Jacqueline Farber, head of Student Health Education division of Yale Health Services, which conducted the sexual health orientations for freshmen and which had previously given sexual health talks around Valentine's Day, with the idea of hosting a campus-wide event including guest speakers and other sexual health events. With the Student Health Education's support, other groups, such as the Women's Center and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Co-op, agreed to co-sponsor the project, and Sex Week at Yale was born. The event was composed of talks by a number of Yale professors, a series of talks by Yale's peer health educators, a film festival and a celebrity panel entitled "Sex and Entertainment".
Sex Week at Yale in its current form takes a multi-disciplinary approach, enlisting a diversity of speakers from company executives, to sex therapists, to professors, clergy, adult film stars, and everyone in between.
In February, 2012, Sex Week was organized by an Executive Board of Directors for the first time in its ten-year history. Directors included seniors Allie Bauer, Paul Holmes, Tatiana Lam, and Courtney Peters and juniors Connie Cho, Alberto Navarro, Anna North, and Leeron Tur-Kaspa. The ten-day program contained over fifty events, all of which were funded by grassroots efforts given the newly imposed restriction on corporate sponsorship.
Sex Week at Yale: The Magazine
In February 2006, nearly 25,000 copies of “Sex Week at Yale: The Magazine” were distributed among 18 of the country’s best-known universities, including all schools in the Ivy League.
Among the magazine's notable contributors included Jim Griffiths, President of the Playboy Entertainment Group, John Gray, Ph.D., author of “Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus” and columnists from such publications as Cosmopolitan, Men’s Health and Maxim.
Awards and recognition
In 2011, Yale alumnus Nathan Harden published Sex and God at Yale: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad. The book was highly critical of Sex Week at Yale, and its title harkened to the criticism of Yale that William F. Buckley, Jr. made in 1951 with his book God and Man at Yale.
In the fall of 2011, a group of Yale students formed an organization called Undergraduates for a Better Yale College (UBCY), to "...advocate for a better sexual culture, one grounded in genuine respect and self-giving love; to oppose campus attitudes and events that offer a degrading and trivializing vision of sexuality... ." In September 2011, UBCY petitioned the Yale administration to deny Sex Week at Yale support, including the use of classrooms and other university facilities. In the February 2012, UBCY hosted its own "True Love Week," with events focusing on chastity, love, marriage, and what it sees as the faults of Yale's sexual culture.
Other Sex Weeks
Events called Sex Week have also been held at:
- University of Maryland
- Harvard University
- University of Tennessee Knoxville‒The organizers, Sex Week UTK 2014, have presented some events at times other than during Sex Week, such as a screening of RENT in January and February, 2014.
- University of North Carolina Charlotte
- Brown University
- University of Calgary
- Lafayette College
- Emory University
- University of Chicago
- Northwestern University
- University of Kentucky
- University of Michigan
- Northeastern University
Safer Sex Weeks were held at University of Minnesota in February 2014 and at Oberlin College in November 2013. The Campus Health Service at Arizona State University held a SexTalk week in February 2013.
Outside the U.S.
- The University Health Centre of the University of the West Indies, Mona presented a Safer Sex Week on February 12–18, 2012, emphasizing, on different days, the themes of Abstinence, Be faithful, and Condomize.
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