Ampersand magazine magnanimously published a letter to the editor I submitted criticizing its yearly Sex Issue. Like most discussions of sex today, only one side was represented, and its representatives think themselves bold for the effort. If traditionalists want to rebuild a healthy, caring sexual culture on campus to replace the prevailing hookup culture, they have their work cut out for them. Not least, this is because students still think of sexual liberation as “taboo,” transgressive, or worst of all, empowering. My letter in full below:
To the Editor:
The purpose of Ampersand’s Sex Issue, according to the Editor’s Note, is to “make the topic [sex] a little less taboo” and open minds to “non-traditional” perspectives on sexuality. However, given the frequency with which Ampersand publishes the Sex Issue (once per year) and with which non-traditional sexuality is presented elsewhere on campus (about once per week in UGA’s newspaper of record), can we really say there exists a taboo against frank, even vulgar discussion of sex? If there is such a taboo on campus, I have not noticed it. If anything, there is an emerging orthodoxy of license — a taboo against traditional perspectives.
College campuses, unsurprisingly, are sexually active: according to the 2013 National College Health Assessment Survey, roughly a third of college students hook up regularly with other students, and 47.4 percent reported having vaginal intercourse “within 30 days” of their involvement in the study. UGA is no exception to this trend. University administrators long ago ceased policing students’ extracurricular practices, which is probably for the best. They have now gone to the other extreme of catering to students’ every sexual interest. An illustrative example: The Arch Conservative reports that last week salaried UGA employee Katy Janousek gave a talk to students about “Orifices, Orgies, and Orgasms: Pleasure 101.” The ribald title is par for the course with UGA’s attitude toward sex. Classes, seminars and clinics serve as enthusiastic boosters for an anything-goes sexual ethic, with little attention devoted to the harmfulside effects of promiscuity and the hook-up culture besides advice on how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.
In such a permissive environment, it is often students who hew to traditional sexual lifestyles who feel pressure to conform, not the other way around. This is especially true of traditionally minded females, who feel pressure to compromise their standards in a male-dominated dating market.
Given this pressure, it is disappointing that a 48-page publication devoted to sex features not one article promoting a traditional perspective. If Ampersand wishes to open minds to new ideas, they might seek more diverse perspectives in next year’s issue.
M. Blake Seitz
Editor-in-Chief, The Arch Conservative
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