For so many students, Sex-Ed in High School consisted of a strictly heteronormative approach that taught abstinence as the main form of contraception, enforced the gender binary and ignored female pleasure and any kind of divergent understandings of sex. It is also no secret that institutional responses to sexual harassment on campus—and indeed, the wider community—are woefully inadequate.
Radical Sex and Consent Week is trying to combat this problem. We have curated a festival that tackles identity politics, sexual health and student welfare and we hope it will provide information to better equip students with the tools they need to understand their rights and the options available to them if they ever need them.
What is radical about this festival?
This festival is radical in its promotion of a pluralist conception of sex. To some, this won’t seem radical at all. However, for others, the mere act of openly discussing sex and the sexual experience is a radical act in itself. Because of the diverse nature of the sexual experience, we have tried to create a program that engages students with all different experiences and perspectives on sex. Ultimately, this will contribute to radical discussions about body positivity, queer identity and sexual ethics and religion.
At the same time, this festival aims to educate students on the much more rigid definition of consent, and what constitutes active consent. In a university environment, the idea of ‘consent’ can get confused or misunderstood, with many asking what it actually means to ‘give consent’.
You don’t need to be having sex five times a week to be able to attend an event at Radical Sex & Consent Week, in fact; you don’t even need to be having sex at all. This festival isn’t about getting people to have more sex. It’s about embracing everyone’s right to sexual autonomy and expression—their right to have sex as much, or as little, as they want.
So what can you expect?
Whether you want to engage in student debates, broaden your understanding of trans politics, or celebrate body positivity, we have tried to create a program that has something to offer every single student on campus.
We have a dance class, a sex comedy night with an all female line up, a film screening, a workshop of sex and Islam (an event autonomously run by the Muslim Wom*n’s Collective), and a closing night party that features performers, live music and a line up of killer DJs.
There is also a choose-your-own-adventure workshop about sexual perversions, a scavenger hunt of sexy challenges and many interactive sharing activities like our clothing swap, mural painting and vulva cooking decorating. Most of our events will be held in the Hot Box, which will be set up on Eastern Avenue. Keep an eye on the Facebook event for more information.
How can you get involved?
For many people this festival is life-changing resource and we have worked very hard to ensure everyone can be seen and heard. The best way to get involved is to attend the events. Everything is FREE.
You can buy a fabulous RSCW t-shirt for $15 and help raise money for The Aboriginal Women’s Sexual Assault Network, known as ‘Hey Sis, We’ve Got Your Back’. We will have a stall open a few days before and during the festival.
This is one of the most important programs that the USU runs and the more people this festival reaches the better. It also isn’t too late to sign up as a volunteer. Please message either of us on Facebook is you have any questions, comments or burning desires to make this festival even more fantastic.