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December 18, 2006

Comments

wendy

I completely agree with you, Meghan. The idea that sex is a skill that you master technically like swimming, and that's all there is to it, is quite misleading. And "real men" are not those who are faithful, but those who are technically proficient? Do we really want to send that message to young men? I don't think so.

Why do studies show that married sex is more physically satisfying than sex among singles or those who cohabit? Clearly there is more to the story than mere mastery of the puppet.

To me the most outrageous part of the article is when this Andelloux character leading the workship advises the young men,

"Sex toys are your friends...They cut your work in half."

Excuse me, but this woman works for Miko Exoticwear, which sells sex toys.

Now that's really objective and educational.

Will Brown next sponsor a "dietary seminar" led by Coca-Cola workers, instructing college students that no meal is complete without Coca-Cola?


LORa

In defense of my beloved Harvard...

I actually attended the female orgasm seminar at Harvard two years ago, and I found it to be quite comprehensive and informative. As far as I could tell (I barely managed to squeeze in) it was attended mostly by women and in fact it was targeted to women, being sponsored by groups like the Radcliffe Union of Students and Latinas Unidas, among others. I suppose men showed up because they figured they also had something to learn from it. The presenter went over many topics from basic anatomy to STD preventions and consent. I know we can complain forever about how such a seminar molds sexual views and behavior among college students, but the point is that a bunch of student groups, not the university, got together and decided to put this on. It would be refreshing to see student groups with differing views hold more events that promote their views as well. In fact I recall that the Catholic Students Assoc. gave one of its monday night talks on the topic of sex and religion, with a panel including a single woman, an engaged couple, and a married couples, last year. The Interfaith Council also organized an event on faith and relationships (dealing with topics like intermarriage, for example). I attended the former and my roommate, the latter. I guess part of the point I'm trying to make is, if you build it (and advertize it!), they will come. There's a lot of curiosity at Harvard, and I think lots of students would like to hear unheard views, if anything so that they can better defend their own.

The orgasm seminar did not cover abstinence, love, and marriage, but that leaves room for many other groups to pick up the slack. There's a reason that we have groups of all political and social stripes on campus. Discussion of sex has become overwhelmingly controlled by liberal views in great part because religious or conservative groups seem to offer so few avenues for honest discussion. Students don't just want to be told to stay abstinent, and how wonderful married sex is; they want to have frank conversation and debate about how to deal with their sexual desire for their significant other of 2 years, when they're not married, but feel like they might as well be, or how far is too far. There are very concrete questions to which they only get answers from one side, or from equally lost and misguided friends.

As for feminism on campus, there are a lot of highly productive activities being led by students. Groups like RUS, ABHW, and even male groups like SAMC have organized many events on sexual violence (e.g. Take Back the Night), homelessness among women, or talks aimed at fostering communication and understanding between the sexes. Groups like Strong Women Strong Girls and Project Health help girls to grow into women, and women to take care of themselves and their loved ones. I for one really admire the student body at Harvard and thought I would stand up in its defense and call it to action. Apologies for this being much longer than I had planned...

Meghan Grizzle

LORa--Thank you for your comments! It's good to hear from another Harvard student. Your comment reminds me that I wanted to clarify that Harvard itself was not endorsing the female orgasms seminar. You're right, it was a bunch of student groups. And you're right, other student groups do have the prerogative to hold their own activities. Christian Impact is actually holding an event called Women's Panel on Relationships. Here's some info:

Dating/relationships/sex/love...
Bring your hardest questions and have them answered by a panel of women at different stages of life and relationships. All questions anonymous!

The event is from 8 to 10 PM on Monday, January 8. As a Christian, I am really excited that a Christian group is doing this. I can guarantee you that all women at Harvard are thinking about sex and love and relationship, regardless of what their particular views are. My own Bible study frequently talks about our issues with the opposite sex! :-p

And about the feminist groups on campus--you're right (again!)--there are many. Unfortunately, none of them quite fit my interpretation of what the best feminism is. Especially Radcliffe Union of Students, but I also take issue with some of the programming of Take Back the Night. If you are interested in hearing more about what I think about that, feel free to email me about it. As President of Harvard Right to Life, I had to think long and hard about whether or not to co-sponsor, and we ended up deciding not to because of a number of reasons, although that clearly does not mean that we are not opposed to sexual violence against women.

I heard that there was a women's roundtable on sex and religion hosted by the Seneca--perhaps that is the one you are talking about? I heard it was wonderful, and I really hope that they have another one, because the intersection of the two is just fascinating to me.

Ranee Mueller

Lora,

One thing I think, from a religious perspective, is that the question: How far is too far? is the wrong question. My husband and I lead our church young people, Laudate, and we have had discussions on chastity. One of the things we stress with them is that question already has your focus in the wrong place. It is a question of how not to offend God. We are trying to get them to live a life that is pleasing to God, not merely to stay under His radar.

There was a chastity speaker who said (I'm paraphrasing) that there are three ways to live life: not to offend other people, not to offend God and to glorify God. We are trying to spur the kids on toward the third.

We are also parents of five young children, and something we want them to understand that purity of thought and body are part of remaining faithful to their future spouses. We want them to ask themselves how they would feel knowing that their future spouse knew what they had done/thought, but also if they knew their future spouse had done/thought those things would they be bothered by it.

Megan Andelloux

Well after reading all of that I have to say I am taken aback.
Yes, I do talk about birth control, outercourse, love, STD's, sexual assault and healthy relationships, in fact 90% of my time is spent on dealing with those issues. But, I do recall that ONE of the reasons people choose to have sex is for pleasure. Please don't deny that. And, for me, as a feminist, it is very upsetting to me when women come in and say that they don't have orgasms, that they think that something is wrong with them because they don't reach orgasm during penetration. That they don't even know where they urinate from. This is basic information ALL individuals should have and to not discuss these issues is holding women back. For goodness sakes we still are fighting to have "The Vagina Monologues" posted up because people think Vagina is a dirty word!
The Vulva Puppet is designed to teach individuals basic female anatomy in a non-threating way. Due to our oversaturation of porn, people think that women reach orgasm with their legs spread WIDE open (which is very difficult for women to reach orgasm that way, though not impossible) and that going from anal to vaginal without a wash up won't cause an infection. These are serious issues. And so, if I do 4 workshops a semester on pleasure vs. 75 workshops on STD's and Birth Control, I'm not selling my soul, I'm actually making people happier with their sexuality in a wholestic manner.
And, just as a side note, Miko Exoticwear is focused on women and working with our communities. We have a learning and resource center which covers all aspects of sexuality and social justice issues.
Sorry to burst your bubble that we are just about orgasms.

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