Half a century after the sexual revolution, the concept of virginity remains as contentious as ever. While the sexual abstinence movement preaches in classrooms and college campus the dangers of premarital sex and “hooking up”, feminists decry scare tactics and “slut-shaming”. What are the religious, legal, and economic origins behind ideas of sexual purity? How does queer sexuality complicate the equation? Is a sex-positive vision of abstinence possible?

The Rethinking Virginity Conference at Harvard University seeks answers to these questions and more. Join us on May 3rd, 2010 as our panelists — sexual health educators, professors, feminist activists and bloggers, a documentary filmmaker — explore what it means to be a virgin and what the future of sexual abstinence should look like.

Stop by for one panel, meet speakers at the Boloco-sponsored lunch, or stay all day to experience the full diversity of our conference programming. Women’s, LGBT, and sexual health organizations will be tabling throughout the conference as well.

Hosted by the Harvard College Queer Students and Allies with support from the Harvard College Women’s Center and Boloco.

This conference is free and open to the public. For all press inquiries, please email the QSA Women’s Events & Outreach Chair at lenachen[at]fas.harvard.edu.

Want to brush up on the subject matter? Here’s an optional reading list (start with the first for a humorous primer):

"Abstinence-Only Driver’s Ed", Suzanne Kleid, McSweeney’s

Christian Queer Sex Radicals?”, Michael Bronski, Z Magazine

"Wasting millions more on abstinence-only", Sady Doyle, Salon
(Meet Sady, editor in chief of Tiger Beatdown, at our conference!)

"Sex Ed: Time To Grow Up", Alison Lobron, The Boston Globe

"Abstinence: A Choice For Some, A Reality For Others", Nan Ni, The Harvard Crimson

"Something More", Rachel Wagley, The Harvard Crimson

"True Love Revision", Silpa Kovvali The Harvard Crimson

"Do we need to define virginity in order to have a conversation about it?", Ellise Litwak, The American Virgin

"Abstinence Is The New Feminism (And Other Things I Learned At Harvard", Shelby Knox, Huffington Post