This year W&L’s Sexual Health Awareness Group (SHAG) will be bringing Sex Week back to campus during the week of November 4th to the 8th. SHAG is a student-run organization dedicated to promoting a healthy, positive, and inclusive sexual culture on campus. Of course, healthy relationships mean different things to different people, and SHAG hopes to start these conversations about relationships, wellness, and culture in fun and intentional ways.
Sex Week represents the culmination of this mission. Throughout the week, SHAG will be hosting a variety of programs ranging from a Sex Off! Trivia Night to the nationally renowned I Love Female Orgasm program. At the end of the week, SHAG will finish with Sexy FUDG where students will have the chance to share art that encompasses the themes of Sex Week. Whether it be an erotic abstinence poem or a saxophone performance of Careless Whispers, all students are welcome to share their art!
SHAG will also be releasing the SHAG-a-zine (created by Sara Spain, Isabel Ryan, Marion Boyd, and John Henry Stearns) during Sex Week. The SHAG-a-zine is a self-published creative, experiential, and spicy anthology of student submissions that relate to the theme of “sex.” Isabel Ryan beautifully introduces the zine:
Though the word traditionally implies a passionate act, we believe this world of sex also embodies a sense of intimacy, respect, dignity, communication between all people. The purpose of this zine is to celebrate the things in life that make us feel sexy, think sexy, and be sexy. It is also meant to open a dialogue about all things related to sex, sexual health, and relationships of all forms---whether it is between you and yourself, a friend, your partner, polyamorous pals, your houseplant, etc. You will read and see pieces of work in this zine that come from the heart, soul, and the musings of the brain that hit you at 3am.
Nolan Zunk’s Human Form Campaign will be featured in Leyburn Library throughout the week. Nolan explains the story behind this campaign:
When I began this series, my intention was to showcase what we all have in common—our bodies. I aimed to document what it is that makes us human, without sexualizing the human form as often done in modern media. In an effort to normalize the body and body positivity, I shared the photos on Instagram. An individual reported “stance,” resulting in its removal. Resilient, I reposted the image, but cropping to the waste line. Again, it was removed. This experience made me curious as to the nature of censorship, and whether or not it has a place in society. Considering my intentions behind the series and the nature of the removed photograph, “stance” is a piece of art, and should not be censored. It is an example of freedom of expression, and did not classify as indecent exposure in any regard. An individual’s conception of a piece of art is a direct result of the environment in which the individual was raised and what they have learned to value. In the case of whoever reported “stance,” I assume they were raised in such a way that the human body is understood as sexual. Although I was disappointed to see the piece taken down, I understand how nudity can cause discomfort. Through this series, I have learned how sexualized the human form is within American society. What is so wrong with the human body as to warrant its constant censorship? After all, when we enter this world, the only possession we all inherit is our bodies. View the full, uncensored series at nolanzunk.com/humanform.”
Sex Week would not be possible without all of the organizations and individuals who helped organize and sponsor events. SHAG would like to thank General's Unity, SPEAK, Gender Action Group, Student Affairs, Office of Health Promotion, Healthy Sexual Culture Committee, Ampersand, Amnesty International, and the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Students Department. SHAG would also like to thank 52 Weeks of Romance located in Roanoke and Maude for donating their products as prizes for the Sex Off! Trivia Night.
Overview of Sex Week - Fall 2019
Monday, November 4
SHAG and General’s Unity sponsors a movie screening of “The Way He Looks,” an award-winning Brazilian coming-of-age film about a blind high school student changing his understanding of the world after meeting another boy named Gabriel. General’s Unity, the queer student union on campus, will provide free food, movie snacks, and refreshments during the movie.
Following the movie, Lucie Fielding, the renowned and loved sex therapist, returns to W&L to lead a sex education workshop on Monday. Her workshop, “Queering Sex: Sex Education for the Rest of Us,” addresses how to implement strategies and tools for sexual communication, maximize playfulness, and feel affirmed for beyond penis-in-vagina intercourse. Amnesty International, a world-wide advocate of sexual and reproductive rights, has partnered with SHAG to bring this interactive and inclusive workshop to campus.
Tuesday, November 5
A panel of professors answers student questions and curiosities regarding sexual culture and wellness. Dr. Karama, Dr. Melina Bell, and Dr. Boller will be the panelists. Students will be surprised at how many others have the same questions and how much more they can learn about sexual wellness.
The Sex Off! Trivia Night gives a chance to challenge students’ knowledge of sex-related topics in games of Team Kahoot for the chance to win prizes. Students will compete in teams of 2-3, and teams will have multiple chances to win. This year, the prizes amount to more than $500 worth in purchases and donations of sex wellness essentials and fun. Gender-neutral sex wellness company brand, Maude, also sponsors trivia night, having donated one of their famous gender-neutral vibrators.
Wednesday, November 6 - Keynote Event
The national sex education program, “I Love the Female Orgasm” returns to W&L for this year’s Sex Week. They first held their program at W&L in the Spring of 2017, and this program has been highly recommended by current seniors and administrators. The Female Orgasm team describes their program as a tasteful, honest, and comedic approach to sex education on college campuses. They “illuminate the subject of female orgasm for everyone, whether you want to have your first one, you're hoping to help your partner, or you're debating the existence of the G-spot, or ‘to fake or not to fake?’” Fundamentally, their program approaches sexual assault prevention by providing models for positive, healthy sexuality.
Thursday, November 7
Dr. Leblanc will give a public lecture discussing the relationship between gender and politics. Dr. Leblanc has taught many courses, authored several articles and book chapters, and given public lectures about gender and politics, and you are guaranteed to learn something new at her talk for Sex Week.
Friday, November 8
Sexy FUDG returns! Micah Holcomb describes it as a “sexy, educational, and fun” themed FUDG event where students are encouraged to perform music or art relating to sexual wellness. Mickie Brown explains, “Sexy FUDG is a night filled with positive messages about sex in the form of poetry, passionate musical performances, and heart-wrenching dialogue on the sexual culture of Washington and Lee.”
SHAG would like to thank all the individuals and organizations involved in helping make Sex Week happen. We all hope to see this week of programming manifest a healthier and inclusive sexual culture.