Sex Week reaches more students with burlesque, religious events

Meghan Morris , Reporter

Northwestern’s annual Sex Week kicked off Saturday with its first-ever Burlesque Show, drawing more than 300 people to two shows in Jones Residential College. The week continues with 13 panel discussions, tutorials and performances through Friday.

College Feminists hosts Sex Week, and the group partners with other campus organizations for programming ranging from Monday’s “NU Paul’s Drag Race: A Drag Queen Make Up Tutorial” co-sponsored by the Rainbow Alliance and the Gender Studies Undergraduate Board to “Hooking Up with God: Lunchtime Discussion on Christianity and Sexuality” at the University Christian Ministry on Friday.

Sex Week co-director Kyra Jones said the week is based on students’ need to discuss taboos, norms and questions related to sexual health.

“Like most college students, everyone comes to Northwestern with different backgrounds,” the Communication junior said. “Talking about sex is a skill everyone needs to have, whether you’re monogamous, a virgin, queer or anything else.”

Every year, she said the group seeks to reach more types of students. The Burlesque Show, for example, drew in more theater students than programming in past years, she said, and Wednesday’s “Manswers: Everything You’re Too Scared to Ask Your Girlfriend” with SHAPE aims to address questions straight men have.

Sex Week added a religious component last year with the UCM discussion and will address more faith backgrounds this year with “A Passionate Torah: Judaism and Sexuality with Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg” on Tuesday.

McCormick freshman Lizzie Steele said she appreciated the performing arts component of Sex Week. Her musical theater dance company Steam Heat performed at Saturday’s show.

“At NU there’s a huge variety of different shows and talents,” Steele said. “How neat is it there’s a burlesque show in a dorm?”

Communication freshman Talia Weingarten said Sex Week is a valuable educational tool for students, both individually and communally. With current events related to sexual health, such as a rape case involving two high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio, she said discussions about sexual health are more relevant than ever.

“It’s important as a student and a partner to be knowledgeable and think about what sex means to you,” Weingarten said.

Jones said the most important part of Sex Week is not laughs or even answers to questions, but rather the conversations she hopes students continue with friends and partners.

“I want students to feel Northwestern is a safe space to talk about sex without judgment,” Jones said.