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Battle of the UNM Sex Weeks

Battle of the UNM Sex Weeks

The organizer of past Sex Week events says disturbingly inaccurate sex information was spread by a pro-life group.

Critics Say Inaccurate Sex Info Spread

The ‘Real Sex Week’ Stresses ‘Greener Birth Control’


The pro-life organization Students for Life UNM just wrapped up a week-long event, the “Real Sex Week,” that critics say was a faith-based outreach to spread inaccurate information on sex.

Among the falsehoods, critics say, were that anal sex causes cancer and that homosexuality and transgenderism are triggered by abnormalities that occur in the mother’s womb.

Hunter Riley, manager of Self Serve Sexuality Resource Center and organizer of 2014’s “Celebrate Sex Week,” held at UNM in 2014, said she doesn’t object to differing viewpoints about sex on campus, but the facts disseminated at this year’s “Real Sex Week” were just plain wrong. “They’re using deceptive language and the content they are putting out is not medically accurate,” Riley said.

Sade Patterson, a member of Students for Life UNM, the group that organized this year’s Real Sex Week, said the event is an alternative to Riley’s event of two years ago. “It’s not a faith-based sexual education event, actually, it’s just an alternative, and we’re not a faith-based organization,” Patterson said.

“Our workshops are about greener sexual methods, also talking about positive and negative effects of birth control, and natural birth control that’s just as effective as other birth control, and that our biology actually points to being in a monogamous relationship,” she said.

Patterson’s group’s mission statement is to identify pro-life students through an outreach called the “Pro-Life Field Program.” It uses social media efforts and directs students to an anti-abortion site called abolishabortion.com.

Patterson said the previous sex week events did not cover what she called “dignified issues,” such as sexual assault and how not to become pregnant. Riley’s 2014 event was criticized for promoting casual sexual behavior and being too graphic in its content.

“I attended every workshop and their table for discussion was about hormonal birth control having no negative side effects to the body, lube for chap stick, open marriages, orgies, or how the Bible and the Torah support abortion . . . and anal sex,” Patterson said. Workshops topics in past years included “How to be a gentleman and still get laid.” Although the 2014 event was billed to offer sexual education and assault awareness, there really wasn’t room for open discussion, she said.

To counter this year’s event, Riley and her shop’s staff teamed up with the Student Alliance for Reproductive Justice and Planned Parenthood. Their effort included people who answered questions and quizzed students while wearing genitalia costumes.

Riley said she went to the first event of the Real Sex Week called, “What They Didn’t Tell You in Sex-Ed: A Provocative Sex Talk.” She said the information conveyed was disturbing in its inaccuracy.

“For instance, that anal sex can cause cancer, that homosexuality is caused by in utero stress, that abortions cause suicide and that transgenderism might be explained by having an in-utero twin of the opposite sex that died,” Riley said.

The Real Sex Week also offered services provided by Care Net, which included free STD and pregnancy testing, as well as ultrasounds. Care Net is also an anti-abortion organization.

During the 2014 event Riley organized, opponents tried to shut it down “to prevent the inclusion of topics that are sensational and controversial,” according to realitycheck.org. UNM issued an apology for the content at the 2014 Sex Talk, which in turn generated criticism over on-campus censorship.

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Rene Thompson is a staff reporter at ABQ Free Press. Email her at rene@freeabq.com.

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