Sex Week needs to restructure its ideas and events

    Nikolia Rallis, SESP senior, is president of Northwestern Students for Life. The views expressed are not indicative of those of that group.

    Sex Week’s mission is “simple”: to get people talking. The Web site cautions, “Ignorance is far from bliss.” However, Sex Week provides students with only one side of the story. Sex Week is supposed to help students explore the role of sex and sexuality in their lives. Instead, the week’s events focus only on sex in college, instead of equipping students with tools to be sexually healthy throughout their entire lives.

    Photo by Hannah Green / North By Northwestern.

    For example, many students are or plan on being in a monogamous relationship at some point in their lives, and then subsequently having or raising children. If Sex Week is supposed to provide students with information to combat sexual ignorance, then omitting these topics is extremely irresponsible and not in line with its mission. None of the events planned for Sex Week explicitly address these topics.

    Sex Week claims to have no ideology; Sex Week’s mission statement proclaims, “There is no religious or ideological affiliation.” Yet nearly every event advances the idea that sex is an activity meant for personal pleasure, an activity not reserved for a meaningful relationship, and the word marriage is not even mentioned on the website. To take sex out of the context of a meaningful relationship is an ideology. To make sex about one’s own pleasure and not about the partner is an ideology. To claim otherwise is preposterous.

    Furthermore, there is nothing of interest during this week for students who are interested in reserving sex for a meaningful monogamous relationship, or even for, shockingly enough, marriage. If Sex Week is not dedicated to a particular ideology, there should be events about chastity as one viable option. If Sex Week is about providing information, then why the lack of information about chaste lifestyles? Is Sex Week opposed to this lifestyle choice? If so, then clearly Sex Week has an ideological affiliation.

    The organizers of Sex Week should consider expanding their horizons for next year. What topics will reach those students who currently have no interest in Sex Week? How can the organizers reach out to groups not traditionally involved in Sex Week (i.e., Northwestern Students for Life, College Republicans, Sheil, or Caris Pregnancy Clinic, to name a few)? When the aim of Sex Week is to be provocative, what about the students on campus who are turned off by provocative events?

    Sex Week clearly fails to reach all of campus and should restructure its program to bring all students together in a meaningful way. The Web site boasts to have drawn 1,500 students to their events, but this is less than one quarter of the student population. Sex Week’s claim to reach all of campus is simply a falsehood.

    Looking back at the archives of Sex Week, I can see some positive events, particularly those focusing on human trafficking, female genital mutilation and sexual health. This year’s schedule lacks those positive events with the exception of the sexual health fair. Making sex about personal pleasure can lead to objectification of the other person involved, which I am sure is not the purpose of Sex Week. Treating sex casually can lead to devastating consequences. It is something for the organizers to take into consideration when planning next year’s Sex Week.


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