‘Sex Week’ returns to campus to raise awareness on touchy subject

‘Sex Week’ returns to campus to raise awareness on touchy subject

“Sex Week” runs from Feb. 10 to Feb. 16. Courtesy of Elaine Louden

“Sex Week” has come once again to lubricate conversations around mankind’s most primal pastime.

The second annual Sex Week will kick off Monday in various locations around campus, presented by Student Advocates for Sexual Health Awareness. SASHA plans to discuss the fundamentals of consent, contraception, abstinence, bodily autonomy, pleasure and intimacy, Abby Rinderle, a fourth-year in public health and founding president of SASHA, said.

“I did not have any sex ed in high school. I only had it in middle school, which I think is a problem in and of itself,” Elaine Louden, a fourth-year in public health and Spanish and SASHA’s vice president, said.

These topics will be covered through a variety of hourlong workshops, panels and interactive physical activities, such as the Graphic Sex Project, an interactive art gallery where people use colorful blocks to interpret and tell stories about their emotions toward their sexual health, according to the Sex Week website.

SASHA has collaborated with a variety of student organizations such as Undergraduate Student Government and Body Sense OSU, as well as outside partners such as Kaleidoscope Youth Center, Rinderle said. 

“When everybody comes together, there is always someone that does not know something or does not want to talk about something but there is always someone that does know,” Louden said. 

Ohio public schools have no standardized sex education, and the university’s 2018-19 statistical summary said the majority of Ohio State students come from within the state. When any curriculum is present, Louden said students are taught only to practice abstinence.

Louden said a primary mission of SASHA is to provide attendees a safe space to ask questions and express their views. Speakers and partners will provide an environment for free and open discussion. She said the intention is to foster community and show attendees that they all have more in common than they thought.

The founding of the organization stemmed from what Louden and Rinderle saw as a need to raise awareness of sexual health subjects on campus.

Rinderle said she came up with the idea while working as an HIV and STI counselor at the Ohio State Student Wellness Center more than a year ago. Using Second-year Transformational Experience Progam funding, she took a trip to Harvard University to observe its Sex Week and pitch the idea.

Rinderle said she was surprised by how little people knew about their sexual well-being.

“A lot of the difficulty in college is navigating personal relationships with dating and everything like that and trying to understand your body sexually, and I think that is a process for everybody. It is a process I had to go through,” Louden said. 

Sex Week will begin at noon Monday and continue until 4 p.m. Feb. 16. All events are free and open to the public. Information and schedules of events can be found at www.sexweekatosu.org.

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