Outcry Over Safe Sex Column in Austin

November 26, 2013
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The Daily Beast’s Women in the World section published a troubling little diddy in late October. Apparently, there has been a developing uproar in Austin, Texas (as well as other parts of the state) over a sex column in the University of Texas Austin newspaper, the Daily Texan. Four anonymous students have contributed columns about the beast with two backs for the student audience, and some have been hating on these secret writers. According to the Daily Beast, the content of these columns has ranged from guides to better sex, to similar tips about masturbation. The contributors seem stalwart in their effort to promote safe, enjoyable sex to a student populace that may not have gotten that education elsewhere.

sex column in austin paperAccording to these undercover writers, the state’s sex education was lacking, to say the least. And looking at the comments section (I love comments sections), Texas is one of those states that promote no sex at all. I recall learning very little even in Massachusetts, where I spent my formative years. The moral of this story: more education is absolutely necessary, especially seeing that despite America’s puritan undercurrent, there are a whole lot of STD problems, and cases of sexual violence. Just learning not to do something won’t stop it from happening, and the students of this mantra will lack the skills and knowledge once that completely inevitable time comes.

The case here, though, is not even about sex, but writing about sex. A good number of conservative students and alumni have responded real poorly to open columns about safe intelligent booty, showing a certain level of ignorance and fear regarding said booty. One of the writers who has received such bad vibes admitted to not knowing a lot about her body, stating that self exploration is not taught or encouraged. Writing about sex is a way of inspiring folks to really think about the mechanics and ramifications of the act. Smart sex between people who know how their bodies and minds function is absolutely safer and better than doing it under the veil of taboo.

But honest discourse about sex always attracts controversy, this case being no exception. Of course, the anonymous writers have also been met with praise, some people realizing proclivities within their own sexual minds they wouldn’t have discovered without the column’s guiding ideas. Here, the controversy seems hopefully outweighed by supporters.

What turns out to be a problem, though, is how the writers have to remain anonymous, even to their friends. One of the four, a girl, revealed to her partner her identity as one of the columnists, and things became tense (but ultimately resolved). Those of you who’ve read my kink articles know that I can’t let my identity be revealed (not that I care so deeply, but it’s a professional hazard). That, really, is a bigger problem than it seems because it means that honest discourse regarding sex can still get you into enough trouble as to necessitate a secret moniker. It’s an achievement when columns such as these can remain in print in places like Texas, but the real victory for sex will come when the stigma and taboo are removed enough so even regular shnooks can mingle over sex chats without fear of being ostracized by their peers (who probably have weirder kinks to begin with).

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