Sex Week heats up campus
This Monday marked the beginning of two Sex Weeks at Rice, one hosted by the Student Association’s Student Health Services Committee and another by the club Sex Week Educational Awareness Team at Rice. Both weeks are devoted to increasing awareness within the Rice community about sexual health and wellness.
Alex Han and Christie Vieux started Rice’s first sex week last year as co-chairs of the SA Student Health Services Committee. According to Vieux, disagreements about the division of labor between Han and Vieux led to Han splitting off to begin a separate sex week as co-chair of SWEAT@Rice, along with fellow co-chair Maddie Salinas.
“As far as leaving the SA, I felt there was more opportunity to broaden representation on sexuality and gender identity, bring in physician perspectives and funding as a club organization,” Han, a Brown College junior, said.
Vieux said that SA leadership contacted the leaders of SWEAT@Rice in October last semester to clarify the miscommunication. After conversation with Student Engagement, the SA committee decided to continue with their plan to host a sex week alongside SWEAT’s.
SA Sex Week includes events such as BDSM 101, kinks trivia night and a health intimacy event with Vivianna Coles, a relationship and sex therapist featured on Married at First Sight. SWEAT@Rice is hosting similar events such as Anal 101 and sexual education with Baylor Teen Health Clinic, amongst others.
Salinas said that it was important for SWEAT@Rice to include diverse representation and perspective at events.
“[Having] events that can apply to a diverse group of students with various sexualities and identities is in our best interest,” Salinas, a Brown College senior, said. “Consequently, we have some speakers taking about intimacy for students who identify as LGBTQIA+, polyamorous or survivors of sexual assault as well.”
Vieux said that she is excited to see SA Sex Week come together after months of planning with her committee and co-chair Liz Pan.
“We were able to connect with other student organizations like PERIOD@Rice and Rice PRIDE, which is really great because of course collaboration [and] more outreach [mean] more inclusivity in terms of the types of events we [are able to] put on,” Vieux, a Baker College junior, said. “I am glad that we were actually able to have [this event] in the vision we had at the beginning of the year.”
Duncan College sophomore Kayla Peden said she is most excited to attend “Debunking Sex Myths” with OBGYN Dr. Dipika Ambani, run by SWEAT@Rice.
“I should have gone to the gynecologist a long time ago,” Peden said. “I am curious to gain insight from a medical professional regarding physical wellness and sexual wellness.”
In addition to this event, SWEAT has partnered with the Baylor Teen Health Clinic to offer students free STI testing.
“There’s so many events we are excited for, but we’re most excited for the free STI testing day,” Han said. “During my time at Rice, I’ve gotten a lot of questions from my friends on when and where to get STI tested. We ran a preliminary survey on Fizz, which showed that more than 650 students who are sexually active have never been tested.”
Tony Balderas, a Martel College sophomore, said that he is glad that Rice community members are dedicating a week to promoting sexual health awareness.
“I think it is good to have sex week because a lot of people do not know much about specific aspects of sexual wellness,” Balderas said. “From my background, I never really learned about sex as a gay man in Texas. If people did teach about sex, it was always about straight sex.”
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