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What Harvard Students Don’t Know About Sex

I see the New York Times has a report out on the first Sex Week at Harvard. Apparently a decade behind Yale on this one, Harvard students decided it was time to explore their friskier sides. (At least they wanted to do so more formally. When I was a student, my house just had an annual party at which pieces of chocolate shaped like genitals were handed out. You weren’t required to sit through any panels or lectures, as I recall.)

Of course, events like Sex Week are always couched in the language of providing students with “more information.” The piece begins with an exchange in which a senior finds out for the first time that Implanon, an implantable form of birth control, is available to her for free! How had she gone through four years without such a vital piece of information, the reader is left to wonder? Well, you know, it’s because she’s a Harvard student. As one of the organizers tells the reporter: “Harvard kids don’t want to admit they don’t know something that they feel like they should know.” (Next year, look out for a panel on Socratic wisdom and sex.)

Sex Week, which is a student-sponsored event, included all sorts of other information: “There were panels on talking to your doctor about sex and on careers in sexual health, but also events about the ethics of pornography; sex and religion; kinky practices like bondage; and gay and lesbian sex. After every event, organizers raffled off vibrators.” One is tempted at some point to yawn at all this–especially since the administration at Harvard and finally at Yale have washed their hands of this silliness. Sure, let those kids blow off some steam. God knows, their careers at JP Morgan won’t be nearly as much fun.

But somehow I don’t think that commencement will be the last time we hear from the folks giving away vibrators. They’ll be the ones in Washington insisting that what our country needs is more “information.” They will be demanding funding, if not legislation, for a nationwide sex week. They will be the people in Washington yelling that if only people realized how to use sex toys, that their insurance covered new kinds of birth control, and why it’s important we all become more comfortable talking publicly about our sex lives, we would all be healthier and happier individuals. Count me skeptical.

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