Let’s NOT talk about sex, baby

Kerstin Gupilan

When I was asked to pick what I thought the most memorable Life & Style story published in the last academic year was, I was stumped. Unlike the news or sports section many of the columns printed in this section aren’t really that groundbreaking, so I was really pressed to find something worth running again.

The truth is, many of the pieces published in the Life & Style section are more for entertainment value, they are not hard news, but usually just fun light-hearted features. So when the Sundial launched the very first sex column last fall I, as a staff reporter, was excited to contribute to this new column. Instead, the column was stopped only after a few issues.

So, instead of re-running a column, I decided to examine the reason why the sex column was stopped before it really started. It’s not so much the column itself that I am focusing on. Rather, the cancellation of it seems to be pretty memorable and should be addressed.

Controversy was sparked over a certain article that questioned a particular intimate act was published Sept. 10 (Sept. 9 online) that ultimately led to the overhaul of the column. The column offered personal testimonies of various students.

Following an avalanche of online comments, both negative and positive, and even personal telephone calls, the Sundial decided to ease up the subject of sex and focus on relationships in general, and thus “Relationships Happen” was born.

Here are a couple comments posted to the Daily Sundial website, edited for space and content. All comments posted online are screened for appropriateness and each author is required to submit a working, legitimate e-mail address before being published online.

Submitted by:
“D” on Sept. 9
“I agree with (name removed) in that if you don’t like the material, don’t read it. The author explicitly stated her intent in the title of the article so if you’re uncomfortable reading about blowjobs, please move on to the classified section as you may find that more interesting. And why is everyone going on a witch hunt against the paper for printing the article. This is a college newspaper talking about college based issues…get off your high horses and relax.”

Submitted by:
“Stephanie” on Sept. 11
“I thought the Sundial starting a sex talk column/section was a good idea, but now that I see the way things are starting to go I’m wondering if I thought too soon…Opinions are good to have in an article, but for the article to be solely that is not interesting. At least give out pointers or argue why you think oral sex is right/wrong/intimate/not intimate/necessary/unnecessary in a relationship. You should have a general direction you want the article to go before you begin writing it. You should also know the audience you want to target.”

As students attending a university in the 21st century we are expected to act in specific ways. Society tends to view us as free thinkers, open minded vessels ready to be filled with what the rest of the world has to teach us.

It’s hard to believe that such uproar would arise over subject matter that many of us discuss on a daily basis. I understand that because the article was published in a college newspaper the taste of the editorial and writing staff may be questioned, and perhaps the article was poorly written. But had a different author written about the same subject, would there have been as much controversy?

It seems to me that no matter how the article was written, anything that revolves around the subject of sex would have caused some sort of commotion amongst readers.

But then the question arises on what aspects of sex are completely off limits. When will we be ready to accept that sex is a constant, natural part of life?

To let one poorly written article dictate the future of a column that may have actually been informative would be like forbidding movie studios to release anymore “Friday the 13th” or “National Lampoon” films. Sometimes, things are produced solely for entertainment value.

If given another chance, I’m sure that the direction of the column would be different. Albeit there may be the occasional controversial subject, that’s just a reality of life.

There is a time and place for everything, but if we aren’t able to express ourselves in all aspects of life and accept that certain things are here to stay, how are we expected to keep an open mind?