>The first sex column I wrote when I was at NYU. Read it and weep (with tears of laughter). That's how I do it...

Sexuality on campus demands an open forum
The Washington Square News
Thursday, Sept. 7, 1995

Sex. It’s everywhere. Sex is on TV, in the movies, and in at least three out of every four popular songs released. It is used to sell everything from blue jeans and perfume to kitchenware and furniture. Recently, sex even began to be used in commercials to sell [Gasp!] condoms. Because our culture is so saturated with images and metaphors of sex, one would think that everyone in the U.S. has all the facts about sex and was very comfortable talking about the subject. However, this is one of the many wonderful ironies in America: we are surrounded by images of sex and sexuality, but are uncomfortable discussing it. Most Americans seem to know everything and nothing about sex at the same time.

Hence, it is important to talk about sex. In a country where rates of unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS, and rape soar, it is even more important that it is discussed in an open, honest manner.

There is plenty of “talk” about sex in America: whether it is actually myth or fact-based is another story. The messages we get about sex from the media, which are unfortunately the many people a main source of sexual information, are manifold. Depending on where you live in the country, and what resources you have access to, the messages can differ greatly. While the sophisticated denizens of New York City may find it ludicrous that many people believe that the missionary position [male superior] is sex, in Small Town, Bible Belt State, America, this may be the common belief. In certain areas, people know that there are more ways to assert sexuality than merely through intercourse, and in others, it is believed that abstinence and intercourse are the only options. Most disturbing is that many people learn that sex is something dirty that should not be discussed or that it is an act of violence. Even today, myths still circulate that men “need” more sex than women and that the only women who want and enjoy sex are whores. Of course, these myths could not be farther from the truth. The truth is that everyone, regardless of gender, race, or religion, has sexual needs. In addition, sex is supposed to be an enjoyable act, not just a necessary one in order to procreate.

Unfortunately, harmful myths such as these are rampant in our society for many reasons. Because of the prurient religious overtones of our culture, sex education programs are often too timid to discuss anything except how babies are made. A majority of schools do not dispense the information students need. They fail to impart a sense of personal choice on issues of sexual activity and abstinence (i.e. there is nothing wrong with choosing to become sexually active, just as there is nothing wrong with choosing to wait until marriage). Even worse, most students are not given factual information regarding homosexuality and are led to believe that it is sinful or wrong. What everyone has a right to know, however, is that sexuality is an individual think and no matter what choice one makes, as long as it is safe, people must respect that choice.

Because sex is often not discussed in the classroom or at home, people are not aware of the many things that can be done to express sexuality. The practice everyone knows about is vaginal or anal intercourse, also known as sex. However, if one is not ready for intercourse or merely does not feel like having it, there are many alternate ways to have a sexual experience. Expressions of sexuality include kissing, sucking, touching, biting, fondling, nibbling, and squeezing yourself and/or you partner. Making up fantasies and sharing them with someone special is also a sexual relief sometimes. Masturbating yourself or your partner can be a pleasurable experience as well. Many people enjoy licking their partner’s nipples, toes, neck, anus, penis, or vagina, or being licked in those places. The point is, sexuality is a fluid thing and there are many ways to express it. Being creative is often a plus, but no matter what, one should always be safe. A supply of condoms, spermicide, lubricant, latex gloves, and non-permeable, non-microwaveable plastic wrap is good to have handy depending on what one chooses to do.

But even if you are all set and ready to go, it is of the utmost importance to talk about it first. It is for this reason that this column has been added to the WSN. It is meant to be an open discussion of sexual issues and handy information. Even though NYU has a reputation for being sexually aware, my own experience has shown me otherwise. For example, I was slightly surprised by how many people do not know what a dental dam is. After explaining how it works [it is a small latex sheet that is used to cover the vagina when giving oral sex to a female], I am often greeting by exclamations of disgust. One friend told me that she would not expect her lover to put his face anywhere she would not put her own. My impression, then, is that oral sex, particularly performed on a woman, is not deemed acceptable. This is too bad because many women find oral sex more pleasurable than vaginal sex. However, because it is still stigmatized by our culture, some women will never have the opportunity to find out if they enjoy it or not. The stigma of certain acts can be removed merely by talking about it and encouraging exploration of one’s sexuality and what one finds enjoyable.

In order to provide more information, “The Sex Shop: encourages any questions, suggestions, or comments you as a reader may have. All questions will be researched and “The Sex Shop” will use as many suggestions as possible. The more interactive the column is, the more interesting it will be, and the better its purpose can be served. So, until next time, have fun and be safe!

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