By Andie Turner
Events and revelations.
By ANDIE TURNER
When I was young, my parents told me that people made babies when they “kissed, really fast, forty times in a row”. To punctuate their point, my mom would lean into my dad and he’d bounce his lips, woodpecker style, onto hers as she counted between breaths “…thirty-seven!… thirty-eight!… thirty-nineeeee!” But they never got to forty. My little brother and I would cover our eyes and screech as they approached, asymptotically, that mystical number.
So you can imagine my confusion when my mom took me to see Juno in the fourth grade. In the movie’s sex scene, the main character strips off her underwear and sits on top of a boy. The two whisper in one another’s ears, but they don’t kiss — not a single time, and definitely not forty. And yet a few scenes later, contrary to everything my parents had told me about baby-making, Juno finds out that she’s pregnant.
Fast forward a decade. I am now one of the Co-Presidents of Sexual Health Education and Advocacy Throughout Harvard (SHEATH), the group that organizes Sex Week and Sex Weekend at Harvard. Each semester, SHEATH offers a program of events that educate the community about issues regarding sex and sexuality. While SHEATH has never explicitly rebutted the forty-kiss myth, we pride ourselves on demystifying and destigmatizing even the most taboo of topics. For example, during Sex Week 2017, we hosted events like “Feel Those Good Vibrations”, “UnLeashed”, and “What What in the Butt”, which explored sex toys, kink, and anal, respectively. “What What in the Butt” actually caused so much of a stir that even Breitbart wrote an article about it.
While only some of our events receive media attention, each one is incredibly important and educational. For example, at Sex Weekend 2018’s event “Reproductive Justice”, we learned of Trump appointee Scott Lloyd’s stunning attempts to prevent undocumented minors from seeking abortions, even in cases of rape. So at the end of the presentation, we filled out dozens of slips to be sent to Office of Refugee Resettlement for Lloyd’s resignation.
But my absolute favorite part about Sex Week and Weekend is that our events provide a platform in which conversations about sex and sexuality are not only accepted, but embraced. Invited speakers provide engaging and thorough presentations, so people can walk into an event hesitant to even whisper the word “condom” but can walk out with an intimate knowledge of the clitoral hood and an anal plug kit. As John Oliver says, “human sexuality, unlike calculus, is something you actually need to know about for the rest of your life.” I am so proud of the fact that our event can provide to people the same type of revelations that Juno brought to me so many years ago.
Kiss on, my friends.
Andie Turner ‘20 (firstname.lastname@example.org) serves as the Co-President of SHEATH.