This week, you may encounter some unexpected, in-your-face activities around Georgetown—perhaps some student “guerrilla theater” volunteers demonstrating sexual positions in Red Square, or students in drag crowding The Tombs on Wednesday evening. It’s all part of this year’s Sex Positive Week, following up last year’s controversial week of events, which outraged outside conservative groups and shocked even moderate students. But don’t let this year’s ostentatious events fool you—SPW 2010 is far better geared toward Georgetown students’ actual needs, when it comes to dialogue about sexuality, than the inaugural event.
SPW 2009—with a discussion of open relationships led by a director of pornographic films, and an introduction to practices of bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism—was seemingly planned with the intent of shocking and provoking, rather than informing and promoting dialogue about sexuality. But simply from looking at the events planned for the week, it’s clear that this year’s SPW planners gave a lot more thought to what kind of conversations students at Georgetown are interested in having about sexuality. Tuesday’s “Disability and Sexuality,” for example, demonstrates thoughtful attention to how sex positivity relates to a typically marginalized group on campus.
Monday’s “Virginity and Losing It”—a discussion about the significance of virginity that was co-organized by David Gregory (COL ‘10), the editor of the conservative Catholic Georgetown Academy, and one of SPW 2009’s biggest opponents—shows that the leaders of SPW 2010 are making a genuine effort to include a variety of viewpoints.
Georgetown should be commended for continuing to fund these events in the face of vocal opposition from conservative Catholics. SPW is a much-needed antidote to the limited, overwhelmingly conservative dialogue that currently takes place on campus about sexuality.
A recent University-sponsored discussion about the hook-up culture, for instance, was promising in that it acknowledged one of the most common realities of modern college life—but was unfortunately dominated by disapproving, conservative speakers and panelists.