Event Summary: Sex-Positive Health

WGH kicked off the spring semester with its biggest event of the year, “Sex-Positive Health with Dr. Carol Queen: How public health professionals can promote intimate sources of wellbeing” on February 13th.  The event featured dinner and discussion and was attended by over 50 students, faculty, and guests from various institutions. Dr. Carol Queen is a renowned sexologist, writer, activist and educator. She broached various topics during the event and fielded a number of fascinating questions from audience members in the packed lecture hall. She outlined the more “obvious” issues of sexuality in public health including sexually transmitted infections. She described pregnancy as a sexually transmitted condition and pregnancy prevention and achievement as an important part of sexuality and public health. Dr. Queen highlighted the pharmaceutical industry’s interest in sexuality, particularly female sexuality. Further, Dr. Queen discussed society’s misunderstandings of sexual activities and gender.  She elaborated by stating that society conflates sexual orientation and gender and discussed the shame that is placed on all members of society, not just those considered “deviant.” Additionally, Dr. Queen spoke about how individuals who are not sexual enough and individuals who are too sexual (slut shame) are all shamed. She also elaborated on funding for sexual research, assumptions about sex workers, and a cultural understanding of gender, and the intersection of drug use and sex.  Dr. Queen ended her talk by answering questions from the audience and speaking with attendees one on one. This event was also sponsored by the HSPH Queer Student Alliance.