Why do I support Sex Week?

This post is Part 1 of “Why do I support Sex Week?”
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I’m bad at talking about sex. I blush easily; I get flustered; I start sweating buckets. I have a hard time saying the names of certain body parts, certain four-letter words, and certain four-letter words for body parts out loud. When talking about sex, in more ways than one, I feel like a kindergartener who stumbled into a late-semester Math 55 lecture. If you knew me, I’m probably the last person you’d ever start a conversation about sex with, and also the last person who would start a conversation about sex with you. In fact, I can hardly believe that I’m typing this at all, much less letting it go online.

But Sex Week matters to me because a thing you can’t—or won’t—talk about, even to yourself, begins to wield undue power over you. Sex and sexuality are naturally powerful forces, of course. But like all powerful things, they can be either beneficial or destructive. Too often, the capacities we have grow destructive, towards both us and those around us, for mere lack of understanding. And the process of understanding requires a kind of courage—a willingness to think things freely, to discuss things with others, and to let others discuss things freely and openly.

Sex Week provides a time and space for the pursuit of this understanding. And it’s vital that this kind of event happens in college, and in public. Universities exist in order to foster conversations that wouldn’t happen elsewhere, and to encourage the pursuit of knowledge in the belief that the enlightened mind is a stronger and freer one. In this sense, Sex Week is as important to that mission as anything that happens inside the classroom for credit.

So, despite the fact that I’m liable to turn as red as an heirloom tomato in July, you’ll see me at Sex Week because, in the end, you can’t deny that sex and sexuality are parts of yourself, and parts of the human experience. And if you’re going to fully understand yourself or others, you have to be willing to dare to know. Anything else is self-deception—like pretending you don’t need to sleep, or that you don’t have arms. It does a violence and an injustice to the integrity of the self. Sometimes, it feels like the path of least resistance not to ask these questions, or have these conversations. But that makes it all the more important to ask, talk, and listen anyway.

– Spencer

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