Sex columns are popping up in school papers at colleges all over the nation. Ooh, risque. Actually not: in this time of great political and policy turmoil, what could be less controvertial than sex, the great equalizer and of interest to all?
- It wasn’t Natalie Krinsky’s idea. But the editors at The Yale Daily News were sure she would be a natural: She was a good writer. She was funny. But most of all, she was not easily embarrassed.
Now, a year later, Ms. Krinsky, a 20-year-old junior, is a campus celebrity, writing the most talked about column in The News. She does not opine about the burning issues of the day: the university’s labor negotiations or the possible war in Iraq.
Ms. Krinsky’s subject is sex.
“Girls fake all the time,” she wrote in one column. “But why? Convincing everyone in the room that you’re wearing a diamond when in reality it’s a cubic zirconia IS fun, but it still doesn’t beat a good, hard, quality rock.”
In her sassy “Sex and the City”-inspired voice, Ms. Krinsky talks about everything from the Yale man’s fear of commitment (“I have been here for two glorious years and I am still waiting for love, actually, scratch that, ANYONE who is interested in commitment to knock on my door”) to the finer points of oral sex, the details of which will not be printed here, but prompted more than 200,000 hits on the Yale paper’s Web site last year.
Ms. Krinsky is one of a growing number of sex columnists at college papers across the country who are reflecting a striking openness among many undergraduates when it comes to the discussion of sex. The columns include “Sexpert Tells All” in New York University’s Washington Square News, The Daily Californian’s “Sex on Tuesdays” at the University of California at Berkeley and Meghan Bainum’s odes to experimentation and safe sex in The Daily Kansan at the University of Kansas. Subjects range from sexual arousal to oral sex etiquette to bondage.
“If you’ve been missing a spark in your sex life,” Ms. Bainum, a 21-year-old senior in Lawrence, Kan., wrote in a recent column, “adding a good pair of handcuffs or a spanking or two to your normal routine could be the way for you to put the sprinkles on your ice cream cone.” As always, Ms. Bainum made a point of adding that this sort of sex is only for willing partners and should never involve pain.
What else is there to do in Kansas? Actually, I’m of the impression that this generation is a lot of talk as opposed to actual action, which is fine with me:
- But all this talk about sex does not necessarily mean that a majority of college students are more sexually experienced than past generations.
Jordan Friedman, Columbia University’s director of health education, who is in charge of the university’s popular health and sexuality information Web site, “Go Ask Alice!” said many of the students’ questions show their level of inexperience. “It’s not just about `Dear Alice, help me have a better orgasm,’ ” Mr. Friedman said. “It’s about ‘Dear Alice, help me have a better orgasm because I’m not sure if I’m even having them.’ ”
Nor are all students entertained by the candid discussions of sex, though there has been little organized protest. Meghan Clyne, a 21-year-old senior who is a conservative political columnist for The Yale Daily News, said she found it offensive that Ms. Krinsky writes about “various sexual behaviors as if she were talking about decorating your living room.” Sex, Ms. Clyne added, “is not something that should be joked about.”
But with interest in student papers waning along with the rise of the Internet, some undergraduate newspaper editors may see the discussion of breast stimulation and favorite positions as a great way to increase circulation. “School papers are doing more to make themselves more relevant and interesting.” said John Katzman, chief executive of The Princeton Review, the college preparation company, which studies student attitudes. And what could be more interesting, said Mr. Katzman, than sex?
They had this discussion when tablet circulation was down in ancient Mesopotamia – same as it ever was.