Your guide to who’s who at Georgetown’s “Sex Positive” Week

159The tamest of  “Torn about Porn”s images

This week, GU Pride, United Feminists, and the Georgetown Solidarity Committee are co-sponsoring “Sex Positive Week,” brought to you by University money.

That last part has irked a host of Catholic student leaders, including The Georgetown Academy Editor-in-Chief David Gregory (COL `10) and Georgetown Knights of Columbus Grand Knight Joe Kapusnick (SFS `10). You can read all about it in Voice News.

But let’s get down to business. Who or what’s gracing our fair campus for Sex Positive week that has these students so upset? Well, they tend to mention:

  • Tristan Taormino. The self-proclaimed “anal sexpert,” author, and pornographic director will be speaking in ICC 115 on Saturday at the event “Relationships Beyond Monogamy.” Her racey bibliography includes Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships and True Lust: Adventures in Sex, Porn and Perversion
  • Jenny Block. The author of Open: Love, Sex & Life in an Open Marriage will be speaking at the same event. But If the first chapter of her book (PDF), which sincerely discusses the difficulties of modern women, is any indication, she’ll won’t be anything like Taormino.
  • Last night’s “Torn about Porn” event, a discussion about whether images from No Fauxxx shown in a slideshow are “Sex Positive”—that is, affirming rather than objectifying or exploitative, like sex-negative porn. I attended this for tomorrow’s article. While you can construe the ten or so images in the slideshow as ‘offensive,’ the conversation was grounded, with most students concluding that porn is porn, and these images in particular are just “porn with hipsters in it.’
  • Mitzi from Black Rose, a D.C.-based bondage and discipline, sadism and masochism organization “that hosts, among other things, educational classes revolving around BDSM activities, issues, and safety.” She spoke at Monday night’s “Sex Positive … What’s that?”
  • Ricci Levy of the Woodhull Freedom Foundation, a group which “educate[s] the public on the importance and value of sexual freedom and counter the arguments of groups seeking to restrict sexual rights”  (think Lawrence v. Texas) and “oppose[s] abstinence-only sex ‘education’ and endorse an age-appropriate, comprehensive approach to sex education.” She also appeared at Monday night’s “Sex Positive … What’s that?”

Image used with the permission of No Fauxxx.

27 Comments on “Your guide to who’s who at Georgetown’s “Sex Positive” Week

  1. Pingback: What Is “Sex Positive” Porn? - The Sexist - Washington City Paper

  2. I heard David Gregory sent an email to campus ministry and the newspapers. Can you post it?

  3. Doesn’t the bottom in that picture look like Alex from The Paper? It’s distracting, and gives a whole new meaning to rope course.

  4. Matt, sure thing! I’m going to hold it til tomorrow, if you don’t mind, so as not to steal News’ thunder. The news story will have the responses of proponents of the events, too.

  5. My e-mail spawned a 53 message conversation, some of which were included in a chain, others were not. Within two and a half hours of sending out the e-mail, we got a request to meet with a few administrators. Good stuff.

  6. See, Sex-Positive Week has already drawn positive benefits! It’s lead to the discovery of what David Gregory gets off on – meeting with administrators and feeling like a big powerful manly man. Hey, whatever floats your boat, man.

  7. No, what I get off on is constructive dialogue, dialogue which otherwise would not have occurred without an e-mail sent to people who control and guide our time at Georgetown. What I get off on is seeing Georgetown give us a real education which involves dialogue and debate, not just a one-sided discussion. Action needs to be taken, people need to step up to bat, and if no one else is willing to do so, then I’ll be the one to take criticism from individuals such as yourself. I’m happy to do so.

  8. “not just a one-sided discussion”?

    How about the one-sided discussion that Georgetown admins have had about sex for decades: No condoms. No H*yas for Choice. No questions.

    The whole point is that they want to introduce some new ideas to the dialogue.

    And no, just because someone holds an event, it doesn’t have to be a debate. No one’s forcing the KofC to debate Catholicism at every one of their meetings/events.

    Look, I’m a Catholic, and also support what Pride is doing. Why don’t the Knights hold their own event, which could be a dialogue or debate about sex and faith in the 21st century? Sounds interesting to me, and I’m sure it would be juicy enough for the campus press to write a story that includes your points of view.

  9. David, are you aware that the Jesuits hosted an event last week in Leavey about sex and dating from a Catholic point of view?

    Since the University clearly sponsored that event as well as Sex Positive week, how is Georgetown encouraging a one-sided discussion? Granted, the administration could have folded the two events into one, but the two events still did happen, and not too far apart from each other.

  10. Um, Voice? Check your facts. Some of the specific about the events were incorrect.

    David Gregory: If you had attended Torn About Porn, you would have seen that it was in NO WAY a one sided discussion. I heard that your experience at the Virginity & Celibacy Sex Positive event was a good one and I look forward to continued open dialogue.

    We definitely don’t have to agree on sexuality, morality, or relationship norms (especially since your organization posits that I, a bisexual and sexually active woman, am going to your Hell) but I think that communication and gaining some perspective on the positions of others will ultimately benefit us all.

    Get Off It: You are SO RIGHT about Gtown limiting the debate about sexuality to one, very narrow & very exclusive side.

  11. Pride Fem, happy to correct, but can you help me out? After looking at the Facebook group, I’m not sure which events I gave incorrect specifics for.

  12. Hi Get off it,

    “not just a one-sided discussion”?

    How about the one-sided discussion that Georgetown admins have had about sex for decades: No condoms. No H*yas for Choice. No questions.

    The whole point is that they want to introduce some new ideas to the dialogue.

    And no, just because someone holds an event, it doesn’t have to be a debate. No one’s forcing the KofC to debate Catholicism at every one of their meetings/events.

    Look, I’m a Catholic, and also support what Pride is doing. Why don’t the Knights hold their own event, which could be a dialogue or debate about sex and faith in the 21st century? Sounds interesting to me, and I’m sure it would be juicy enough for the campus press to write a story that includes your points of view.

    New ideas to the dialogue are welcome, but my point is that this is not true dialogue, there is no discussion going on, there is no mingling of these polarizing campus cultures. We’re working on that as we speak, trust me, so you can sleep easy.

    My main point is this: given that Georgetown is a Roman Catholic University, events like this which directly contradict the teachings of the Church, need to be held in the context of a dialogue; otherwise, Georgetown is not living up to its mission. Organizations like the Knights are already in service to the Church, and do not oppose the Church’s teachings. I support the work of the groups running this as well, but a profound ignorance and misunderstanding pervades both cultures, which is something healthy dialogue, debate, and discussion, could help to eliminate. We can learn from all this.

    Let’s pray for one another, and I am more than happy to discuss this in person; there is something dehumanizing about conversing over the internet through mediums such as this. What you and I both fail to realize is one another’s humanity, and meeting in person would help us both grow.

    Peace and love,
    Dave Gregory

  13. Sorry, I had copied your response so I wouldn’t have to keep scrolling up and down in order to respond, and forgot to delete the copy in my spaziness.

  14. Chelsea,

    First of all, thank you very much for coming forward with your name. I appreciate your honesty.

    Secondly, I was at the event, and it was really excellent. But once again, I point out the same flaw, just as you have noted: it was a one-sided discussion. We spent the whole time learning about our own tradition, but where was the dialogue? Growth comes through debate. True conversation demands that we dialogue with those we do not agree with. That way, both sides can learn more about themselves.


  15. Hey Pride Feminist,

    My experience at that event was a good one, but I fear the conversation was a bit tame. I didn’t attend the Torn for Porn event because I was unaware of the week’s goings-on at that point. I greatly look forward to the event on Saturday, however.

    Here’s communication for you: I don’t believe you’re going to Hell (Catholics aren’t the same as members of the Westboro Baptist Church). I do believe you could be closer to God (as could I, as could all of us), but fundamentally I would rather posit that you’re a charitable person full of compassion and care for your fellow human being, which is the primary way (next to prayer and the sacraments) in which humanity encounters God. In fact, while I believe in Hell, I believe in a very empty Hell; God, who is Love itself, the fullness and completion of everything that our hearts long for, would never damn us. Such a God would logically contradict His own nature as Love. I believe that those who are in Hell, however, have rejected God’s salvific love through their own selfishness and pride. One who does not serve one’s fellow man in some way, shape or form, is necessarily turned inwards, something which only leads to self-destruction and corruption. Scripture speaks of God’s justice as a justice that saves, not damns. In other words, God (as that excellent Cheap Trick song goes) wants us to want Him, and offers us His love. It is up to us, however, to reject it. And though we might turn from God all the time in this life, very very few of us choose to ultimately and conclusively reject Love.

    Lesson learned: it’s a bad idea to judge someone you know little about (someone, who, I might add, never even suggested anyone is going to Hell).

    If you want to widen the conversation, step up, take some courage, and converse. But know that Georgetown, given its nature as an apostolate of the Roman Catholic Church, cannot contradict its mission, and should always strive to provide a contextual counterweight to things such as the events going on during Sex Positive Week.


  16. Pingback: I fastetidens inledning: Jesuit-universitet i USA lyfter fram utomäktenskaplig sex, pornografi m.m i olika evenemang. - Nyheter om kyrka kultur samhlle

  17. Pingback: Vox Populi » As promised, David Gregory’s original response to Sex Positive Week

  18. Even the Church itself has different people with different viewpoints, there is no one view of the Church, and it does change over time.

    I think what you’re arguing for is a kind of totalitarianism, where every group and event has to be run past the bishop (or just you guys) for approval.

    I think that the Church, in its infinite wisdom, knows that people have a conscience, and that we should all enjoy the right to speak freely in a democratic society. So, even though the argument can be made that the Sex Positive week is inclusive of a wide variety of points of view, including the idea that chastity and celibacy are sex positive, they are not required to adhere to Catholic teaching.

    The right answer to speech with which you disagree is to make a speech of your own. Set up your own event, outdo them, get more people to come, have a bigger better louder Catholic-er debate. Then let people decide, through public discourse, who has the better point of view.

  19. You’re certainly right in that the Church’s teaching changes over time. However, its teaching is one of unity. So, there actually is one view of the Church…check out the catechism.

    I am indeed advocating that the administration refrain from endorsing events such as this, which do not foster true discussion, which is required by the Catholic identity of the school. Trust me, I would never take up this fight if I was attending a secular university.

    And once again, you’re right in that the Church recognizes that the conscience of the individual is the one thing we have which we should always follow, even if it is in opposition to Church teaching. We ought, however, strive to inform our consciences to the greatest extent possible, and that education is not happening at Georgetown. I am not saying that Sex Positive Week shouldn’t happen, I’m saying it should include the Catholic point of view also, simultaneously and side-by-side with events which oppose the Church’s teaching. I don’t think the events themselves should be changed, I think more should be added.

    Because when it comes down to it, if you all really think you’ve got the most complete understanding of human sexuality, then you should not be afraid to engage in real debate with the Catholic understanding of human sexuality. That’s right, I’m challenging you all to explore that. As G.K. Chesterton said, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”

    As I have said before, and I’ll say it again, students are not debating. They’re locked into insular communities, refusing to engage the other side. We can start a bigger, better, louder, Catholic-er event (these already exist…look at everything Georgetown does already), but those who disagree with the Church will not really engage it. We all remain trapped in our caves, refusing to emerge and come to a greater understanding of the world in which we live and the school that we call home.

  20. I don’t understand why you won’t address the point that Sex Positive Week included a night on celibacy and chastity? Surely that’s consistent with the Church’s viewpoint, and was included in the discussion.

  21. I was at that event, and it was a great discussion. See, that’s cool.

    What really has me upset is that the head of the LGBTQ center invited Jesuits to these events, the Jesuits of course happily accepted, but the student organizers rejected this idea. It’s that kind of fear and animosity that we need to break down.

  22. David,

    In response to your last comment, I did not know that the invitation to the Jesuits had been revoked until after that had happened. I did not understand why that would be the case.
    However, according to the student organizers that put the event together, their reasoning for this was that the presence of the Jesuits would keep students from being as open and frank with their personal stories and beliefs as they were at Wednesday’s discussion.
    Of course, I cannot say whether or not these concerns were unfounded. However, as you yourself called the discussion “tame” when I thought it was quite open and frank, I wonder how the presence of the Jesuits would have affected it. That is definitely something to consider, and I would certainly like the Jesuits (as well as other members of Campus Ministry) to be involved in future conversations with Pride.

  23. Just to clarify, by “tame” I meant uncontroversial, not bad. I really enjoyed that discussion, I found it to be thought provoking and sincere.

    As for being open to the Jesuits, do you know Fr. Pat Rogers? He’s the man, and he’ heard and seen it all. We can talk about that at a future point, but there’s no need to be scared of our Jebbies.

  24. I was one of the (very few) student organizers. I didn’t know that the Jesuits were invited, and I didn’t know that the invitations were revoked, and I certainly don’t think that was at all necessary.

    I agree with DG that the point is debate, that different viewpoints make the conversation more interesting and the insular-ness of GU cliques keep events non-diverse, and limit the scope of conversation. Trust me that this was not the goal of planning the week.

    The point is to foster conversation. Specifically referring to the conversation on pornography, the point was to take porn out of its secluded, silenced, private context and open it up for debate: does this affect relationships outside of its isolated use/viewing? does it affect people sexual practices desires? what is the relationship between pornography, sex, objectification of men/women/transexuals in everday life, respect, agency, etc?

    There is a reason that the description was a question. It wasn’t a lecture, not preaching, but a round of questions.

    Otherwise, maybe the other events were onesided. I don’t know that this is wrong except that we should recognize this if it is so. If sex is specifically discussed outside of a paradigm of Catholicism (which wasn’t necessarily the case, I don’t know that everyone involved wasn’t Catholic, but so it seemed), is that like a discussion of sex specifically within Catholicism—and does that mean that religious doctrine shouldn’t be used to argue in the first case, and a doctrine of unbelief to argue in the second case?

    And lastly, a very important question is, can the school, associated with the Catholic church, financially support programs, groups, and events that are not condoned by the Church? Should the school support these events/groups? I think this question includes the question of GU Pride and H*yas for Choice, also, because of how funding affects them, or how their existence has affected the means of funding.

    True, there wouldn’t be such a debate if it weren’t for your letter, but also there wouldn’t be your letter, if it weren’t for the events themselves. Maybe they weren’t perfectly representative, but maybe they will eventually and indirectly lead to an open and revelatory conversation among the students/staff about student sexualities (including sexual health), discourse on sex, Catholic identity, administrative policy, and the role/responsibility of the school as a Catholic-affiliated institution, an academic institution dedicated to intellectual pursuit/challenge (even controversy?), and an environment open to and (supposedly) representative of people of many different faith-based and ideological backgrounds.

  25. Sorry, I want to clarify that “maybe other events were onesided” refers basically to the Intro Event (which I did attend) and two events I did not attend (the open mic and the Saturday Whole DC event), because there was a diversity to faith/ideological backgrounds among many who attended the celibacy event.

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