Sex Week: SHAG demystifies a touchy subject

Emma Deihle

“Let’s talk about sex, baby.” That may not be something we’re used

to hearing here at Washington and Lee, but this week the students of the Sexual Health Awareness Group are hoping to facilitate conversations about safe, healthy and fun sex practices with the second annual Sex Week.

Throughout the week, students are in- vited to attend interactive panels, activi- ties and lectures led by SHAG members and professors. Founder and President- Sara Korash-Schiff, ’15, said she wanted to start an organization that focused on sex, sexuality and gender issues so that the concepts could become less of a ta- boo and so that some of the problems associated with the repression of one’s

sexuality could be alleviated. “We view sexuality as a health issue,”

Korash-Schiff said. “Our mission is to open up a dialogue about everything sex- ually related on the W&L campus so that students can feel comfortable expressing themselves and their desires and prefer- ences.”

Other universities like Harvard and Yale host Sex Weeks every year, so Ko- rash-Schiff thought it would be a benefi- cial thing for W&L. Though SHAG was denied funding by the Executive Com- mittee, it is a University-acknowledged organization. The club operates on a budget heavily dependent on donations and partnerships with other student orga- nizations like SPEAK and LIFE.

The keynote address entitled “I Love the Female Orgasm” will occur on Fri-

day at 5 p.m. in Northen Auditorium. Sex experts Marshall Miller and Kate Weinberg will explain why achieving ul- timate pleasure can be challenging, and will give students tips on how couples can better communicate their needs to one another. Though it may seem that the event is targeted towards women, people who identify with either gender are en- couraged to participate.

Other program highlights include a “Dating for Dummies” panel, a sex trivia competition, and various professor talks.

Dr. Melina Bell, associate professor of philosophy, will explore why promiscu- ous sex is often condemned in her Mon- day evening talk, “A Moral Defense for Promiscuous Sex.”

“When people engage in promiscuous sex, it’s not immoral because it’s pro-

miscuous. It’s immoral because of some- thing else,” Bell said. “I’m interested in helping students develop a positive, healthy sexual culture.”

Later in the week, Professor Elliot King of the Art History department will present a paper about how Picasso and Dali each painted the penis in the 1930s and 1940s to make a larger point about their approaches to their art in the 1950s. Associate Professor of Archaeology, So- ciology and Anthropology Allison Bell will discuss cross-cultural metaphors for sex, focusing on how what we see as “natural” practices may actually be his- torically and culturally-based.

Bell hopes that just by talking about sex, students, faculty, staff and commu- nity members will learn communicate their sexual desires and see that sex can

be an extremely positive aspect of life. Korash-Schiff echoes her sentiments, and wants students to realize that it is totally normal to wonder about sex and she hopes people will keep an open mind when they hear about all of the different

Sex Week offerings. “I hope people learn that open com-

munication is best,” Korash-Schiff said. “With that said, everyone has different opinions, and we’re not trying to force people into anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. We’re targeting peo- ple who want to discuss [sex] and engage in an open forum about it. We just want people to feel comfortable with their own bodies and in their relationships.”