Letter from Alum on Sex Week

by Stephen Beale on March 25, 2010

We recently received a letter from an alum raising a number of important and interesting questions about Sex Week. Below is the letter:

Here are some additional questions I have about Brown Sex Week activities:

1. Did the Wet Spots’ spanking of audience members cause injury
to someone? It is clear from their publicity materials that this is part of
their show.

2. Student organizers plan to post the best “erotic” story on Brown SHEEC
web site. Does Brown allow obscene material on its web site?

3. Sarah Sloane taught a workshop for sex assault survivors. Is she
a psychologist? She is a sadist, etc. Her statements could be harmful to
anyone who is attending this session looking for help

4. Sarah Sloane taught a class on safe sex. Is she qualified? She teaches
BDSM. How safe is that?

5. Megan Andelloux’s class is asking for audience participation, both mind
and body. Are there could be sexual harassment issues with what took place?

6. Raffles were held. Were appropriate licenses obtained? Can
dildos, etc legally be raffled? What about minors who may have been
present or who may buy a ticket?

7. Did Brown check IDS of all people attending Sex Week events,
given the content?

8. Were these events be open to the community, and were their IDs be

9. What is the policy about photographing students who attend any Sex Week
workshops? Do attendees have a right to privacy, including the possible
taking of their names for raffles?

10. The Raunchy Bake Sale was held on the Main Green. Passersby including
children could have seen these items. It’s not only offensive but could
violate RI Laws.

11. Is SHEEC ever going to identify all the Brown Sex Week sponsors
(including sex toy companies who donated products for the raffles?) Will
this raffle funding be made public? See Aida Manduley’s twitter for mentions
of companies that made donations: http://twitter.com/pledgemistress (scroll
back by hitting “more” at the bottom of the page)

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

QED March 26, 2010 at 1:37 am

Some of these points are good but many are laughable.

Do people need a license to teach safe sex? I think I learned from a dumb-as-rocks gym teacher in 5th grade, and some freshman RAs armed with condoms and bananas. My parents too I suppose.

I’m not sure on the circumstances of the raffle or whether it was subject to the gambling laws of RI, but certainly if the raffle itself was legal, then dildos can be raffled. What, are dildos a controlled substance now?

Brown’s role is not to play thought police. Why should IDs be checked? Brown is not a kindergarten. If minors were admitted to showings of obscene material or given sex toys, then only the student groups who facilitated this are or should be responsible.

If students want to hold a forum on sex, let them. The real issue is official university funding paying for the event. Attack the administrators assigning the funds, and catch them playing favorites by only funding groups that fit their personal philosophies.

In closing, I’d like to share a quote from the great Eminem:
Of course they gonna know what intercourse is
By the time they hit fourth grade
They got the discovery channel don’t they?

Aida Manduley March 26, 2010 at 2:22 am

“What, are dildos a controlled substance now?”

Best. line. ever. Also, bonus points for hitting an old Eminem song.

Anyway. I replied via my blog, so I hope that answers the questions. :)


Hobbit March 26, 2010 at 9:27 am

1. Someone who is questioning the safety of BDSM obviously doesn’t have a CLUE what they’re talking about.

2. Since when does anyone have to have a license to talk about surviving trauma?

3. The idea of the week was to have an open discussion about sex. What is the author afraid of?

Sarah Sloane March 26, 2010 at 3:18 pm

As a sadomasochist, I derive sensual pleasure from the consensual giving and receiving of strong sensation. I’m also an educator whose core belief is that each individual should be empowered and supported in their exploration of themselves and of their sexuality. This doesn’t include enforcing any opinions on them; it centers around giving information to people who are looking for it, and reminding them that it is their choice about what happens to their bodies.

The core of the workshop for trauma survivors was discussing some of the aftereffects of sexual trauma, talking about how they can keep us from having the intimate relationships that we deserve and desire, and giving people ways to work towards having those relationships, including defining personal boundaries, communication skills, personal safety skills, and self-esteem building.

As to my “qualifications” to teach safer sex, I’ve been through a peer support training program, and I stay up to date on research on STI transmission – but all of the students were aware of safer sex information. What we discussed was how to USE that information in ways that felt authentic, emotionally positive, and sustainable.

I’m very suprised that your alum(s) are publically asking so many questions – over a week after the event. The event was well publicized for weeks in advance; it seems to me that if they were really that concerned, they could have contacted SHEEC and asked these questions before any risk of the “damage to students” that you infer could have happened.

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