By Lam Ho
October 29 marked the first meeting for Justice in Bed, a weekly conversation on sexual ethics held in the Mary Sue Cushman Room of the Wick. Founded by Sarah Miller (C’10) (T’15), Justice in Bed is a program designed to explore the cultural and moral implications of the hook-up culture of Sewanee and today’s world.
To Miller, Justice in Bed is a way to talk about the values and beliefs that go into one’s sexual identity. “It’s also a place where everyone is welcome, regardless of faith, race, or gender. And hopefully it will become a community of people where it’s safe to be ourselves, where we can help each other, push each other, challenge each other, and support each other,” she says.
The concepts the program challenges are the definitions of sex and intimacy, how one’s virtues go into the way he or she participates in today’s sex culture, and how Sewanee influences how people see their sexual selves. Miller, a seminarian at the School of Theology, wanted a safe place for these conversations to occur. While some conversations revolve around religion, she wants hers to encompass the differing views of sex and the most comfortable way to navigate the sexual realm.
Miller was inspired by her undergraduate experience at Sewanee. During her four years here, she says she found herself with one script for navigating sex on the Domain. She was also faced with the question of sexual violence and how our culture plays a part in it. “I heard more and more about the awful things that had gone on on campus, and I felt helpless. For Justice in Bed, the mission is all about creating a healthier sex culture at Sewanee,” she says.
Alli Smith (C’16) and Gracie Gibson (C’17), residents of the Wick, are also helping Miller with her initiative. Miller hopes to lead this semester and train Smith and Gibson well enough for the two to lead for the second semester of Justice in Bed.
Miller says, “Ideally, people will walk away with a working vision of the kind of ‘sex life’ that they want. I say ‘working vision’ because I don’t think the goal is for someone to arrive at the answer or the finish line and never revisit that again. We’re always growing and changing our minds and beliefs, and that affects everything. So I hope people go to the program and come out saying, ‘I have some sense of who I am and how all of those best parts of myself and how these things influence what I’m gonna do in bed with other people.’”
Those who are interested in jumping into the conversation are welcome to join the group 7:30-8:30 on Tuesday nights at the Mary Sue Cushman Room.