Enough is enough

Adam Griffiths


Almost five months ago, I revealed in this space that I had slept with 60 men. “A boy from Springfield became the 60th notch on my bedpost,” I wrote. The reaction was and has been almost as sensationalistic as the introduction to the column itself.

Friends told me of being at The Hub, witnessing two readers read, with jaws dropped, my recounting of my sex life since senior year in high school. I meet new guys who inform me they’ve read “that column.” They often expect me to regret it. One even asked me lately if it was true.

Why the hell would I lie?

In the only official letter to the editor, which ran four days later, a concerned member of the campus LGBT community, and someone whom I had previously messed around with, called me out on my ways.

“Throughout his columns he has continually mentioned and celebrated his promiscuity and his irresponsible behavior with various sex partners,” he wrote.

When I started this column more than a year ago, I entirely planned on raising eyebrows and raising hell. If I seem to assume stereotypes through my writing – the promiscuous gay, the political queer, the social gossip fag – it’s to blast them for the inadequacy such roles represent.

But in the end, I admitted that I was only as human as the next columnist, my own editor and even you, my readers.

“I’ve never been good at sugarcoating, which is why I’ve never been good with thank-you cards, long-term relationships or group projects. I fidget with my cell phone to avoid eye contact when I walk around campus. I systematically exorcise my ex’s from my life.

“.There are some things they might tell you not to write about. Sex. Drugs. Alcohol in the under-21 crowd. Death.”

I’ve written about all of them, some a few times over, and nothing has ever elicited a response like the sex columns.

The infamous “60” column, as I believe it’s become known throughout most of this part of the state, was intended as a lesson in double standards and an example as to the stigma still associated with HIV/AIDS in our society – a society more than 25 years deep into AIDS culture, a society equipped with treatments to enable those infected to live long lives and a society that touts openness and diversity but readily clings to almost Victorian notions of sex and sexuality. My uneasy response to a proposition from a man with HIV, being so rash and sexually indiscriminate myself, made this clear.

“It wasn’t because of his frankness or even the fact that he had HIV,” I wrote. “Those 60 notches haven’t equaled 60 condom wrappers in the trash. I’ve been tested for HIV at least every other month for the past year, and I can honestly say that each time I’m waiting for the nurse or clinician to call for me, my stomach churns a little bit.”

Look in the mirror, and look at my mug shot. If I am a self-proclaimed campus whore, I embrace the identity in an effort to deconstruct this culture in which sex is becoming more and more taboo. These mindsets perpetuate sexual abuse, the spread of sexually transmitted infections and the degradation of those in society who feel no inhibition to exploring their naturally curious sexuality.

“There are no longer such things as feelings, emotions, beliefs and personalities – there are only conquests and warm bodies,” my critic wrote in his aforementioned letter. “The way your columnist devalues individuals (especially of the LGBT community) and creates flippant remarks about his sexuality, is unacceptable.”

Sexuality is flippant. It is fluid. It changes daily. I have never meant to imply that it is simply something that is the sum of our parts.

“They told me to write a column,” I wrote at the beginning to my first editorial. “A blank page. A clean slate.”

I will not tolerate judgment based solely and indiscriminately on these 500 odd words published weekly. You have a bone to pick with me and the way I live my life? My e-mail address is included below or find and message me on Facebook. If I’m stereotypical in instigating things assumed about this community, other gays in this area have been just as guilty in spreading tales of my “conquests.” I am not the cheap slut you’ve bastardized for so long.

“Not so blank after all.”

Adam Griffiths is a sophomore information design major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].