Public university to give students crash course on road head, history of sex in cars

UT’s annual Sex Week will begin with a lecture on road head and the sexuality of American cars.

The week’s events will also include lectures and workshops on LGBT issues and religion.

Students at the University of Tennessee are shifting into gear, kicking off UT’s third annual Sex Week with a lecture on road head and the sexuality of cars.

Beginning April 6, UT is hosting a variety of workshops on LGBT issues, the role of sex in religion, sex toys, campus rape, and the science of orgasms. The first workshop—“Road Head: The Role of the Automobile in American Sexuality”—promises to teach students about the involvement of cars in dating and hooking up throughout history.

“Ever since Ford began mass-producing the automobile, American teens have used their wheels to escape the restrictions of their parents and explore their sexualities,” the event description states.

Taught by Lynn Sacco, a professor of the history of sexuality at UT, the workshop will provide “insight into American dating culture and [reveal] the many instances that Americans have hit the streets instead of the sheets.”

The Friday prior to Sex Week, the public university will host an art show that will “allow [students] to peek behind the seersucker and sweet tea and watch Southern pride turn into Southern passion.”

A few events during the Knoxville, Tenn., school’s Sex Week are centered on sex in the Bible Belt and religion. While an event on abstinence states that “Sex Week recognizes abstinence as a legitimate choice,” it also promises to explore “why virginity is gendered and how a physical definition of virginity can harm rape victims.”

UT will also host a drag show Friday night, which it claims was the most popular event during last year’s Sex Week. The event description encourages students to bring dollar bills as “these performers deserve to have you make it rain.”

UT has not pumped the brakes on its Sex Week despite controversy with state lawmakers and students in previous years. In 2013, the school promised to cut state funding when hosting its Sex Week after Campus Reform reported that it was spending $20,000 for the week which included a lesbian bondage expert.

Last year’s Sex Week caused the ire of state lawmakers—who called the event an “outrageous misuse of student fees and grant monies”—and anti-trafficking activists. The school promised to update its student fee policy and allow for students to opt out of their fees going towards controversial events and programs.

Sex Week is put on by the school’s Sexual Empowerment and Awareness (SEAT), a student group that says it “strives to foster a comprehensive and academically-informed conversation about sex, sexuality, and relationships with the purpose of educating the University of Tennessee student body and the Knoxville community through innovative, collaborative, and entertaining programming and events.”

According to SEAT, Sex Week is funded through private donations.

“We received quite a bit of media attention after losing two-thirds of our funding two and a half weeks before the event,” the Sex Week website says. “This decision was made by UT administrators in reaction to upset state legislators. SEAT was able to privately fundraise the lost funding in 36 hours with the public's help and went on to host a very successful event.”

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