A semester in sex

Adam Griffiths

I’m in Human Sexuality this semester.

So, it probably wasn’t the best semester to start writing this column again. In previous semesters this space has gotten critiques of anything from expected “unorthodox” to socially “taboo.” And I’m sure many might even deem it “smut” or, my personal favorite, “imitation Carrie Bradshaw.”

(If you want to see what I mean, go to KentNewsNet.com/adamgriffiths.)

As an ice breaker on our second day of class, we had to move around the room and discuss various prompts with our conversation partners. We talked about the assumption that men are expected to be more sexually engaging then women, which actually brought mention of Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte. We shared misinformation we received on the playground or from older siblings as children, prompting one guy in the class to share that he once thought both men and women have penises. Another guy admitted his older brothers showed him porn when he was in third grade – something his parents still don’t know about today. And as the class wound down, one of the last prompts questioned the idea of virginity and how our generation loses it.

Maybe it was just first week hesitation in a room full of strangers keeping everyone silent, but you could see a cloud of uneasiness dissipate as the hour and a half progressed. While the room was loud with discussion as we talked one on one, when it came to putting it out openly in front of the entire group, not much would’ve been shared without my professor’s urging. I’ll admit – even I thought it was awkward to share some things so publicly, openly and personally.

But for one of my classes last semester, I conceptualized a magazine called, “OFF!” Aimed directly at horny college students, it offered faux story ideas such as “The answer to the eternal question: How to have good sex in a dorm room?” and “Your little swimmer shortage: How everything you do today affects your sperm count forever.” It probably won’t ever see the light of day here on campus, but a magazine offering “10 ways a sex tape can make your life better” is bound to be popular in a world of “Bromance” and “Girls Gone Wild.”

If it seems as if I’m shoving sex down your throat, think about it. Think about sex. If you weren’t already, you are now. And you will again – soon. We think about sex all the time. It’s natural. It’s hormonal. It’s social. It’s political. It’s cultural. It’s religious.

Very few things are so all-encompassing, but very few subjects are also so discouraged and hush-hush. We, Americans particularly, are a culture infatuated with something we keep behind closed doors, black censor strips and pixelated spots on our favorite TV shows. Our eyes widen, and our faces flush when we happen upon an exposed breast or a bare ass.

But why? Over the course of Human Sexuality this semester, and probably a few times in this column, I want to address this issue upfront. You can expect uncomfortable admissions, unexpected statistics and underwhelming public response. But if you have a question or comment or embarrassing story or compelling critique, post it on KentNewsNet, or e-mail me at the address listed below. I’ll do my best to address your inquiries as they come, and either way, we’ll both end the semester a little more open-minded and a little more comfortable with such an inherent part of who we are.

Adam Griffiths is a junior visual journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Please send him feedback at [email protected].