LENA CHEN is a Boston-based freelance writer and the author of the blog Sex and the Ivy. She reports on gender, sexuality, and lifestyle for a variety of online and print publications, including The American Prospect, The Boston Globe Magazine, Beauty Launchpad, CollegeHumor, and luxury lifestyle e-zine Juli B. She hosts and produces Sex Really with Lena Chen and regularly contributes to SexReally.com, a project of the National Campaign To Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy.
A graduate of Harvard University, Lena holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Studies of Women, Gender, & Sexuality. She recently completed a senior thesis on the evolution of virginity norms and the rise of the modern American abstinence movement. The thesis served as the basis for the Rethinking Virginity Conference, which she organized as the Women’s Events & Outreach Chair of the Harvard College Queer Students & Allies.
In August 2006, she started writing Sex and the Ivy as a college sophomore. Her first-person accounts of sexual experiences, alienation, and the true state of undergraduate life at the world’s premier academic institution spurred campus discussion, prompted media attention, and garnered a loyal following. Quickly becoming a controversial figure, she has been criticized by some as “morally reprehensible” and praised by others for encouraging frank sexual dialogue. With a monthly readership of 30,000, Lena has been featured in national and international media outlets, including The New York Times, Newsweek, Der Spiegel, and Salon.
Lena previously managed online editorial content for a college admissions non-profit (and also served as founding editor of College OTR, a news and entertainment blog network). She has written sex and relationship columns for CollegeCandy and CollegeHumor, co-authored an educational series about sex products in The Harvard Voice with MIT sex columnist Christine Yu, and covered the Boston dining scene for Grub Street, Citysearch, and Juli B. Her new blog, The Chicktionary, is a chronicle of her daily life and likes, as well as all things feminist, queer, or otherwise radical. She lives in the Back Bay.