Phi Beta Cons

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Sex Week at Yale, Day 3


After a brief turn yesterday examining spiritual concerns, Sex Week turned its attention today back to matters of the flesh.

The first talk of the day was entitled, “Why Nature Wants You to Get Laid Right Now.” Featuring Ken Mosesian, executive director of the American Fertility Association, along with program director Corey Whelan, the presentation was tamer than its title suggested.

Much of the talk was directed toward females. Mosesian and Whelan offered students tips on how to safeguard their reproductive health. They discussed the damaging effects of STDs, including sterility. They also told girls in the audience that their biological clocks are ticking faster than they may realize. Educated women, they explained, often wait until later in life to start families. But, by middle age, women frequently have difficulty becoming pregnant. Pregnancy later in life also carries increased health risks for both mother and child.

At Yale, where sex education normally deals exclusively with preventing pregnancy, it was refreshing to hear a talk based on the assumption that babies are actually desirable.

The second talk of the day, entitled “Getting What You Want,” featured advice on a host of alternative sexual and relational lifestyles including casual hookups, open relationships, and polyamory. Diana Adams, who introduced herself as “an alternative-family attorney,” spoke about her experiences in carrying on a three-way relationship with another man and woman in New York’s polyamorous community. “Having situations where there are multiple partners requires a heightened level of communication,” she noted.

Adams was joined by Melanie Boyd, director of undergraduate studies for Yale’s department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Boyd spoke about Yale’s naked parties. (Yale students have a long-held tradition of holding special parties where students show up nearly, and sometimes completely, in the nude.) Boyd said the tradition showed that Yale students were willing to move beyond established cultural norms. “It’s a great indicator of how easy it is to define your own sexual space,” she said.

The final presentation of the day was called, simply, “The ‘M’ Word.” Author and sex educator Logan Levkoff addressed students for nearly an hour on the topic of masturbation. “History has not been good to masturbation,” Levkoff said, “probably because of the apparent anti-masturbation message in the Old Testament.” She then offered her own interpretation of the famous story of Onan from Genesis 38.

Next, Ms. Levkoff showed students an array of frightening devices from the Victorian age, which were designed to combat autoerotic behavior. These included various belts, trusses, rings, girdles, and cages.

Finally, she moved on to more modern and more pleasurable objects. With the aid of her slideshow, she educated students about an array sleeves and plastic gizmos designed to enhance solitary bliss.


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