Hurray for sex positivity!
The Reflector staff recently attended a conference in Chicago with hundreds of other student journalists, and among all the critiques and advice (solicited or not) that we received, one thing kept popping up again and again.
The sex column.
The response among conference attendees ranged from, “The writer will never have a legitimate journalism career because people will Google her name and see phrases like ‘It’s anal time, baby!’” to “Wow, I’m so impressed that your sex columnist publishes under her own name instead of ‘Jane Ho,’” to “They let you print that in the student paper!?”
There were also positive comments and genuine praise. However, the number of people who seemed taken aback by it caused us to speculate.
Was the United States just more conservative in general? Were they simply unaccustomed to straight-forward sex writing — or any sex writing at all?
However, almost as soon as we returned to Calgary we began to hear rumours of the “facials” column being derided in an MRU women’s studies class as degrading trash. So, apparently it wasn’t just the Americans.
Since Lynn Don took over the sex column in September, she has kept a simple message running: Sex is not shameful and you shouldn’t feel bad about liking what you like, as long as you’re doing it with consenting adults, of course.
Yes, there’s humour in the sex column. There’s humour in sex too, so it’s a natural fit. However, there’s also educational information in Lindsay’s articles and, above all, a message of sex positivity.
The editorial staff of The Reflector has had many discussions about how important it is to us to promote sexual activity as a normal, healthy part of life that nobody should feel guilty about.
As a result, we feel it’s important to encourage readers to express themselves sexually in whatever way makes them happy, without being slut-shamed or prude-shamed or any kind of shamed.
Sex is not anti-feminist, even if there’s a penis involved. As Lindsay pointed out in her “Cum on my what?” column, sometimes certain acts turn us on because we find them degrading. So what?
Should we beat ourselves up for finding it sexy when someone ejaculates on our face (or whatever else we’re into)? Shove it to the back of our minds to fester? Become self-loathing because we can’t reconcile our desire for whatever we find erotic with the mixed messages our society propagates around sex?
Or should we give ourselves and everyone else a break by realizing that finding sexual fulfillment, either by ourselves or with consenting partners, is a natural part of being a healthy, whole human?
Love sex and do it all the time with lots of different people? Great!
Hate sex and have no desire ever to do it? Great!
Only enjoy sex after a good spanking or perhaps some bukkake? Great!
Only enjoy sex in the missionary position with the lights off? Great!
The point is, do whatever makes you feel good and be fulfilled, and don’t worry about what other people are doing to achieve the same. To get all pagan on you, if it harms none, do as you will.
We’ll be over here promoting the message we believe students should hear and maybe don’t hear enough: Sex is nothing to be ashamed of.