It's been a weird week for me to say the least.
Two weeks ago my university newspaper, The Daily Californian, published an opinion piece I wrote for the sex column. It was the last column of the semester and I wanted to write something lighthearted, so I talked about an afternoon I spent having sex with a male partner in various places on campus. The only agenda I had for publishing this particular column was pure amusement, and perhaps to encourage a few of my campus peers to also make some wild memories before the semester ends.
I literally woke up one morning to find that I was in a British tabloid and the next to find that I was in some sort of Taiwanese news media video. My sexcapade on campus had gone viral on the Internet. Reporters from the New York office of The Daily Mail, Inside Edition and The New York Daily News contacted me for interviews about my column. Honestly, the very first thought I had in reaction to the buzz from the media was: do people on the east coast not have sex? Nobody I talked to in Berkeley understood why there's so much fuss over a school newspaper column. Maybe students don't have sex on campuses on the east coast, which I doubt, or maybe people just aren't as open to talking or reading about it.
My sexual adventures on campus were great, don't get me wrong, but they definitely weren't internationally newsworthy. The fact that I had consensual sex with a partner who was close to my age doesn't affect the quality of life of anyone else on the planet. Al Qaeda has been taking over Mali this week, and people are concerned that I talked about a rendezvous in the library? It really shouldn't come as a shock that college students have sex, albeit in public places.
The "controversy" of this column probably doesn't stem from the fact that college students were having sex. The controversy is that I candidly publicized having sex, and the fact that I happen to be a woman of color might have something to do with it.
The extent to which people are intrigued, shocked and offended by this column shows how unusual it is to openly talk about sexual experiences. The world needs to be more comfortable with talking about sex and openly acknowledging that it happens.
Sex is the one of the few things that are constant and universal, and human beings aren't going to stop banging anytime soon, if ever. It would benefit everyone to view sex as something more natural in a positive light, rather than a super-scandalous forbidden phenomenon.
People feel ashamed or embarrassed to talk about having sex because they feel like they shouldn't have been doing it in the first place. This is why when something really bad happens, like sexual assault, harassment or rape, the guilt falls on the victim for putting themselves in a potentially precarious situation. The unwillingness to accept and talk about it is what creates the heavy silence around sexual violence.
Being sex-negative only creates bad feelings and sentiments, whether it's shame from having sex, guilt from wanting to have sex or anger at other people for having sex. Everyone should feel free to talk about their sex lives without being invalidated and shamed for their experiences and accept that it's okay for people to have sex for no other reason than that they like to. There needs to be constructive discussion and dialogue about sex, both the good and the bad aspects of it, because it happens -- regardless of how the general public feels about it.
Simply slut-shaming all individuals who are found to have sex doesn't do anything. The fact that people are calling me all variations of slut and whore really isn't making my sex life any less awesome, nor is it going to stop me from doing it, or even writing about it. I just wish this viral media stuff wasn't kicking my ass during finals.
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