Sex-Positive Student Organizations
The people who manage this web site once founded a similarly-named
registered student organization at University of Washington, which existed
from 1995 until a critical mass of them graduated in 1998. In that
spirit, the following guide strives to list all of the sex-positive
student organizations within the United States which are (or ever were)
formally recognized by their colleges or universities.
Please note that, with very few exceptions, at most the only school
funding these groups tend to receive are the same standard allotments from
student activity fees which would be granted to any student organization
which followed student activities office procedures: in other words, all
claims to the contrary, "taxpayer money" is typically not involved.
- The Sexual Information
Center, founded in 1991 at Oberlin College. This group organized
Oberlin's annual Safer Sex Night, and apparently still maintains an office
for peer counseling.
- Conversio Virium, founded
in May 1994 at Columbia University and active almost continuously ever
since. This group has a BDSM focus, and hosts discussions, educational
presentations, author readings, and informal social events.
- Sex Out Loud, founded in 1995
at University of Wisconsin-Madison. This group offers educational
programs on safer sex, relationships, and pleasure, and maintains an
office with regular office hours.
- Cuffs, founded in
August 2000 at Iowa State University. Similar to Conversio Virium, this
group has a BDSM focus, and hosts discussions, educational presentations,
and informal social events.
- The Alternative
Lifestyle Association (ALA), founded in 2004 at Washington University
in St. Louis. BDSM focus.
No Longer Active
- The Campus Sexual
Rights Forum at University of California at Berkeley (an
organization which was apparently closely allied with the off-campus
Berkeley Sexual Freedom League). Apparently most active over
1966-1968. Sex and sexual rights focus.
- Society for Human Sexuality (SHS), existing
from March 1995 to late 1998 at University of Washington. Sex-positive
focus inclusive of BDSM but not restricted to it. [Note: In early 1999,
several of SHS's newly-graduated organizers went on to help found the
off-campus non-profit facility The Center for Sex-Positive
- Sexual Identities Lifestyle Knowledge (SILK) [note: formerly
known as Sexual Minorities Aligned for Community, Education and Support
(SM/Aces)], organized in late 1995 at Bard College. BDSM focus.
- The Evangelical
Perv Association, founded on May 1, 1996, at Oregon State
University. BDSM focus.
- Women Happily Advocating Masturbation (WHAM) was initially
founded in 1996 at University of Wisconsin-Madison, and was re-organized
under different leadership from 2002 until 2004. According to this article, WHAM was a
group of "feminists with a sense of humor" which "fights the association
of female masturbation with male pleasure and voyeurism."
- RUST, existing from September 1996 to 2001 at Rutgers
University. BDSM focus.
- Sweet Entanglements, existing from 2001 to 2002 at Western Washington
University in Bellingham, WA. BDSM focus.
- The Power Exchange, founded in 2001 at The State University
of New York (SUNY) at Albany. BDSM focus.
- We Honor All Perverts (WHAP), existing from 2002 to 2004 at
New York University. BDSM focus.
- Noire, which
existed from 2004 to 2005 at Bard College. Noire had a sex-positive focus
that was inclusive of BDSM but not restricted to it.
article from Clean Sheets discusses the emergence of new
sex-positive student organizations on our nation's campuses, making the
point that, "What's perhaps most important is that the newly established
sex-positive groups at universities are fundamentally GLBT-friendly."
However, it also seems that the GLBT groups at universities are becoming
more sex-positive, in a manner perhaps mirroring the growing popularity
feminism amongst campus feminist groups (this thought occurred to us
while reading the list of programs
and presenters for the 2005 Western Regional LGBTQIA
- As can be seen above, well over half of the sex-positive student
organizations that have existed to date have had a more-or-less
exclusive focus on BDSM. However, it occurs to us that by having the
organization's focus be on sex education and sex-positivity in general
(1) you are still free to host all the BDSM events you like, (2) you may
be able to interest students beyond those curious only about BDSM, and
(3) in defending your group you will have an easier time directing the
conversation to traditional safer sex education and improving public
health (both of which are values already generally accepted within major
universities). Anyway, something to consider...
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