It is offensive. It is immoral. It is wrong.
These are some words used to describe the upcoming Sex Week at the University of Tennessee in recent media articles. But Jacob Clark, one of the founders of the week’s theme, hopes that students don’t see it in the same light as some Knoxville Republicans have.
“Overall, even though we had a negative article put out on us, we have had a tremendous amount of positive support,” Clark said. “Our positive media attention has sky-rocketed since.”
Zack Plaster, a member of the Sexual Empowerment and Awareness at Tennessee group organizing the week's events, said it has been interesting getting their name out with the controversy swarming around them.
“We felt like we were being a little bit too abrasive and trying to get our name out and be heard of,” Plaster said. “At first we had to work so hard to get any type of press, and then in the past week things have taken off.”
While the controversy has been an avenue for many students to hear about Sex Week, Clark assured that Sex Week is about educating students with the history of sexuality and that the speakers and panelists will be present to inform inquisitive students.
We recognized a need for discussion on these issues. So it was a combination of us having this feeling of being under-educated, but we realized that we know a lot more than a lot of other people.-Jacob Clark, founder of Sex Week UT
“We spent the entire summer working on what Sex Week would be,” Clark said. “We looked at other schools and picked out what would work here and what wouldn’t.”
Speakers for Sex Week include Megan Andelloux, who visited UT last spring and was one of the people Clark and other founders were inspired by to create Sex Week. Andelloux will be kicking off the week with a broad talk and will also be hosting an oral sex event.
Other speakers include Charlie Glickman, a sexual educator, and Sinclair Sexsmith, who has been garnering most of the negative press for the event after being labeled as a “lesbian bondage expert.”
While Sexsmith has a history of doing lectures related to bondage, Clark confirmed that she will not speak on that at UT and will instead be speaking on gender roles as well as hosting a poetry workshop.
Other panels include topics on sex and gender in law hosted by UT law professors and local attorneys and faith and sexuality, with a panel comprised of local religious leaders of Christianity, Islam and Buddhism.
A talk on sex history as well as sexuality in the Bible will also happen, but Clark said the talks will be purely academic.
While Sex Week has been culminating some negative attention in the press, Clark assured it is something that students have asked for and will be a place to ask questions, gain knowledge and not shut out anyone.
“We recognized a need for discussion on these issues. So it was a combination of us having this feeling of being under-educated, but we realized that we know a lot more than a lot of other people,” Clark said.
Clark said Sex Week will include the diverse views of everyone who helped plan it in hopes of covering all attending students interests and questions.
“We have realized that while we worked together we have different motivations for it but we all see a clear need.”