Q: Is this that thing I heard about on Fox News?
A: Yep! Many times in fact. From having our funding pulled in 2013 to being called “five days of depravity that makes Mardi Gras on Bourbon Street look like a Sunday school picnic,” we have received our fair share of attention for bringing bold and innovative programming about sex, sexuality and gender to the University of Tennessee.
Q: So, what is Sex Week actually about?
A: Sex Week is a whole week of student activities that our student organization called SEAT puts on during the spring semester. Sex Week 2017 will be April 3-7. Our goal is to create a safe space where students can openly engage in comprehensive and academically informed discussion about all things related to sex, sexuality, relationships, and gender. Basically, we want to educate, because this stuff is important!
Q: What if I’m abstinent or asexual? Does Sex Week encourage me to have sex?
A: Absolutely not. Sex Week is all about creating a safe space for everyone, regardless of personal beliefs, values, or sexual orientation. Issues surrounding sex, relationships, and gender are relevant to everyone, whether you’re having sex now, later, or not at all. We have specific events that cover topics like abstinence and virginity, religion and sexuality, and asexuality. Our goal is to have something for everyone!
Q: Okay so sex education is important, but why talk about sex toys and “butt stuff”?
A: We firmly believe that sex education is not comprehensive without including conversations about pleasure and empowerment. Learning about consent, how to communicate your needs with partners, and how to find pleasure and fulfillment in yourself is really critical to building a healthy and safe campus. Not convinced? Sexual pleasure is included in the World Health Organization‘s definition of sexual health.
Q: What else do you do?
A: So Sex Week is definitely what we get the most attention for, but as an organization, SEAT also does lots of year round programming on sexual health, empowerment, and sexual assault prevention. We started the first Red Zone sexual assault prevention campaign at the University of Tennessee in 2014 and currently run an annual week of events in the fall dedicated to addressing sexual assault prevention and response at UT in a sex-positive, survivor-centered, and holistic way.
Q: How can I get involved?
A: We regularly recruit for students to join our Executive Board, the team that plans and implements Sex Week and our other events throughout the year. If you don’t have that kind of time commitment but want to help out occasionally, send us a Facebook message or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can add you to our volunteer listserv. Our list of volunteers is vital for helping us run Sex Week smoothly. If you would like to help fund Sex Week, see our donation page here on the site for ways to contribute to our work.