sex

Are today’s college students more – gasp – chaste than anyone thought?

Not quite, but they’re also not sex fiends compared to 20 years ago, according to a new study from the Journal of Sex Research, which compared the responses of 18-25-year-olds from 1988-96 with those of 2004-12.

Boston.com summarizes:

for students in the 1988-1996 cohort, 55.3% said they had sex at least weekly during the last year. For the 2004-2012 students, it may surprise you to learn that the number was actually a little lower (50.6%). The number of students who reported having more than one sex partner since turning 18 was also higher for students in the past (67.3%) than it was for students in the present (62.3%). Likewise, more students today reported having no sex partners since they turned 18 (15.0%) compared to the past (10.2%). 

Though students now are “somewhat less likely to report sex with a spouse or with a steady relationship partner,” they are doing it WAY more with friends. Thanks a lot, Ashton Kutcher and Justin Timberlake:

One big way they have changed is that today’s students are more likely to report having had sex with a friend (71.0%) compared to past students (55.7%). 

Read the whole article here.

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Ross Douthat writes at The New York Times:

The culture’s attitude is Hefnerism, basically, if less baldly chauvinistic than the original Playboy philosophy. Sexual fulfillment is treated as the source and summit of a life well lived, the thing without which nobody (from a carefree college student to a Cialis-taking senior) can be truly happy, enviable or free.

Meanwhile, social alternatives to sexual partnerships are disfavored or in decline: Virginity is for weirdos and losers, celibate life is either a form of unhealthy repression or a smoke screen for deviancy, the kind of intense friendships celebrated by past civilizations are associated with closeted homosexuality, and the steady shrinking of extended families has reduced many people’s access to the familial forms of platonic intimacy.

Yet as sex looms ever larger as an aspirational good, we also live in a society where more people are single and likely to remain so than in any previous era. And since single people have, on average, a lot less sex than the partnered and wedded, a growing number of Americans are statistically guaranteed to feel that they’re not living up to the culture’s standard of fulfillment, happiness and worth.

What about feminism?

[It, too,] is often a prisoner of Hefnerism, in the sense that it tends to prescribe more and more “sex positivity,” insisting that the only problem with contemporary sexual culture is that it’s imperfectly egalitarian, insufficiently celebratory of female agency and desire.

Read the whole article here.

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Drugs, drinking, nudity, sex in public–Fox News reports on the increasingly extreme culture of students on Spring Break:

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Would you like to have electrodes implanted in your spine capable of giving you orgasms at the push of a button?

Soon you may have such an opportunity, if medical researchers have their way:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CBS Charlotte) – Scientists have patented a new machine that will provide orgasms for women at the push of a button.

A little smaller than a packet of cigarettes, the machine is designed to be a medical implant that uses electrodes to trigger an orgasm.  The device would help some women who suffer from orgasmic dysfunction.

During the operation, a patient would remain conscious so that a surgeon could correctly pinpoint the right nerves to fit the electrodes in a patient’s spinal cord.  Then, a signal generator would be connected which would be most likely implanted under the skin of a patient’s buttocks…

We’re not sure what to say about this except that we hope none of these patients gets accidentally paralyzed by the surgery.

Full story here.

(Via Drudge)

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Brigham Young University–Idaho has released a video encouraging its students to hold one another accountable on porn use.

The video shows a student viewing porn in his dorm room, then switches to combat footage, portraying the student as a wounded warrior who needs the help of his fellow soldiers.

The video includes audio from a speech by university president Kim B. Clark, who describes pornography as a “battlefield.”

Sure, this is a dramatization. But I applaud BYU–Idaho’s effort to bring attention to the damaging effects of porn. And the combat language does not overstate the importance of the issue. Porn truly is waging war on human dignity.

As it happens, I spoke at a symposium at Purdue University this past weekend on the topic of human trafficking and human dignity. One of the other speakers was Chrissy Moran, a former porn actress, who described how her history of sexual abuse and her own “bad choices,” set her down a dark road toward a career in porn.

It’s telling that while many men use porn, I’ve never met a man who wanted his sister or daughter or mother to be in the porn industry.

Why is that?

Maybe it’s because we have a hard time seeing the people in porn as people–as human beings, with feelings, hopes, desires and, often, painful and abusive personal histories.

It’s a lot more difficult to use someone when you think of them as an actual person. We wouldn’t want to feel we are taking advantage of someone’s vulnerability or history of abuse, would we?

That’s why a talk like Moran’s is so eye-opening. To use porn requires us to dehumanize another person, to treat her as an object that we use for our own gratification.

It’s very difficult, especially for us men, because the internet has made the most addictive, extreme, and violent pornography just a click away.

Defenders of porn say that as long as it involves consenting adults there’s no problem. Porn performers choose to do what they do, after all.

But to accept that argument, you have to believe that there is no other moral standard other than human consent. The violence and the brutality of today’s porn, in particular, make it difficult to ignore the ways porn debases us, difficult to ignore the fact that it is incompatible with human dignity.

Let me give you an example: During my talk at the symposium, I tell of my own exposure to violent pornography as a student during Yale University’s “Sex Week.” I saw a woman tied up with chains, stripped naked, and beaten by a man, who hurled insults at her all the while. It’s hard to come up with any definition of “human dignity” that covers such a thing.

And in fact, it’s the loss of respect for human dignity, fueled in part by the explosive growth of violent pornography online, that has accelerated the growth of human sex trafficking.

You think that’s a stretch? Try to find a sex offender who isn’t a porn addict.

Hold on, you say–porn doesn’t cause all users or even most to become sex criminals.

That may be true. Nevertheless, porn harms us in other ways–it affects even our ability to carry on healthy, loving relationships.

When boys learn at the earliest possible age to use others sexually, without regard to their humanity, there are enormous consequences. You are fooling yourself if you think it doesn’t affect how those boys treat women and girls when they grow up. See here and here for just a couple of examples.

If our sexual culture is focused only on using others to bring pleasure to ourselves, without regard to the dignity and well-being of the ones we use–what is the result?

The result is: We are all demeaned.

The result is: Lives are destroyed.

I leave you with a video clip taken from a talk at the symposium by Libby Swenson. Swenson is an advocate for International Justice Mission, a group that combats child sex slavery around the world.

(h/t The Daily Caller)

Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of the book SEX & GOD AT YALE: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.

Follow Nathan on Twitter @NathanHarden

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Students aren’t the only ones taking part in the college hook-up culture.

When the country’s literature faculty converge for their annual national Modern Language Association conference, some of the 7,500 in attendance take the opportunity to engage in random sexual hook-ups and academic role-playing fantasies facilitated by Craigslist, according to various reports.

The most notorious planned dalliance at the most recent conference, which took place last weekend in Chicago, went viral and was reported by the likes of Jezebel and The Chronicle of Higher Education. It tells the tale of a stressed-out scholar who wants to let off some steam through academic role-playing.

His Craiglist ad states in part:

MLA interviews, fraught with tension, can also be thick with eroticism. As a veteran of many (and a current job candidate), I’d like to indulge in a little stress-relief fantasy role-play at this year’s conference.

I propose to play interviewee to your interviewer. I will arrive at your MLA hotel room, in my interview suit, ready to discuss my research, my place in my field, my theoretical approaches, my teaching methods, etc.

You ask me the appropriate questions and listen, interrupt, challenge, acting as a typical faculty member of a hiring committee. …

Over the course of the interview we begin to cast flirtatious sidelong glances, adopt inviting body language and inch toward one other. At the right moment one of us makes the bold move of an innocent touch on the shoulder, followed by leaning in for a kiss. We both know it’s wrong, but we’re too titillated to stop.

The Chronicle of Higher Education found a couple more ads on Craigslist along these lines, although nothing quite as elaborate.

One stated: “I’m a professor and will be visiting Chicago … for a conference. I am 5’6″, 145 lbs., reasonably cute, trimmed beard, thin, glasses, into mild D/s and spanking type stuff. Please put ‘office hours’ in your subject line so that I know you’re real.”

Another scholar, a man looking for a man, said on Craiglist: “I am hoping to find a guy who would come over, hang out, watch a movie, we could probably go to the hotel’s pool/spa, have a drink and have some fun if there’s chemistry. … It would be cool to hang out wearing boxer briefs/trunks (just an idea). I arrive in Chicago tomorrow Friday at noon. I know it’s been really cold over there so I am sure we can warm each other up.”

Apparently this is all par-for-the-MLA course.

Inside Higher Ed has reported extensively on the MLA’s reputation, noting in this 2012 brief article:

The annual meeting of the Modern Language Association has long been the site of hook-ups (and gossip about hook-ups, real, exaggerated and fictional). Craigslist personals for Seattle (the meeting location) provide an insight into the current status of the genre of the MLA pick-up line. (Historians and economists also held annual meetings last week, but only one related personal, from a historian, could be found from their meetings on Craigslist for Chicago, where both groups convened.) Among the MLA members posting on Craigslist, one wrote “Drop me a line and let’s see what extra credit work we can come up with.” Another listed his qualifications this way: “I’m attractive and a literary genius from the wrong side of the tracks.” Yet another asked those replying to “include either the word ‘De Man’ or ‘Derrida’ in your subject line.”

IMAGE: Gaglias/Flickr

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