By Kristy Koehler, January 31 2020—
Sexual and Gender Wellness Week — often known as Sex Week — returns to campus on Monday.
The Students’ Union, SU Wellness Centre and the Women’s Resource Centre (WRC) are teaming up to make the event happen, partnering with a variety of campus groups in the process. This year, there’s a diverse lineup of programming on offer.
“It comes organically when the SU is building relations with stakeholders across campus and is strengthening those relationships and wanting those voices to be amplified throughout all of our programming,” said vice-president student life Alisha Gordon. “When we’re able to collaborate with Writing Symbols Lodge, Queers on Campus, the Faith and Spirituality Centre and our own Q Centre, it allows us to get a bigger breadth of knowledge.”
“I think it’s super important to start the dialogue about sex and gender wellness in a way that’s accessible, approachable and low-risk,” she continued. “I think that’s what all of the events this year accomplish. There’s a lot of drop-in, casual events.”
This year’s programming features a seminar on asexuality, an Indigenous sexualities workshop, a courtyard carnival and an information session about trans and nonbinary identities.
Every year, a committee meets to determine the events that will take place during Sex Week. Student clubs and other stakeholders are invited to participate and can propose their own events. The University of Calgary Consent Awareness and Sexual Education Club (CASE) is one such club involved in programming.
CASE president Carly Jahelka says it’s extremely important to ensure that education about consent is included.
“Sex Week makes a space for conversations to be held around sex and consent,” Jahelka said. “I feel like it’s so taboo for a lot of people growing up and CASE really values being involved in Sex Week because it makes a space for us to have these conversations and for us to talk about the importance of sex education and the importance of consent.
“One of the biggest things for us is that we believe in using sex education as a tool for sexual assault prevention,” she continued. “The best way to prevent sexual violence is to teach perpetrators not to perpetrate.”
CASE is running their annual Sex Trivia Night in addition to a workshop about resiliency surrounding rejection.
The week’s programming also offers a couple of niche events that push the envelope into territory some might consider uncomfortable — Pet Play and Leather Kink and Kulture.
But, maintains Gordon, it’s important to remain sex-positive and showcase a wide variety of ideas and views.
“That’s the beauty of Sexual and Gender Wellness Week — people can pick and choose what things are interesting to them,” she said. “You can go and learn and have an open and honest conversation with people. Nothing is mandatory — people can choose to engage with these events as little or as much as they want.”
Sexual and Gender Wellness Week takes place from Feb. 3–7. A full listing of events as well as both on- and off-campus resources surrounding sexual health is available online.