Sex and dating columnists, we need to talk. First, let me just say that I like the Mustang Daily. Sure, the copyeditors don’t always catch every typo, and there’s the occasional scandal with plagiarizing (lazy) columnists, but without the daily Word on the Street, letters to the editor and crossword puzzles, my time between (and often during) classes would be spent…I don’t know, studying. And dammit, that’s just not something I’m prepared to do.
But there is one area in which the Daily has failed me for the last four years: the sex and dating column. Many of you have tackled this Everest of the arts and entertainment section in hopes of becoming the next Carrie Bradshaw, despite the fact that it is the character’s overwhelming lack of understanding when it comes to relationships that fuels both the comedy and drama of that show. Your columns use obnoxious and often vulgar slang in a feeble attempt to be in your face and push the envelope. You assume that men and women live up to stereotypes that both sexes have been trying to squash for the past few decades and draw cliché conclusions based in pop psychology. And I’ve yet to see any of you address abstinent or non-heterosexual experiences.
OK, I know. I too hate people who whine about a problem without offering any sort of solution, so let me explain what I think a sex and dating column should be. It seems obvious that a sex column would be a great outlet to inform students about sex. The column’s primary function should be to give information. Yes, the information that we all should have learned at least by high school, if not sooner. Topics could include: How to tell if you have an STI, what types of contraception are available to you, where to get them and how effective they are and your questions answered about LGBT Issues.
Its second function should be to give an opinion about relationship or sex-related topics. Why are you columnists always so afraid to make an argument? If the topic is “Long Distance Relationships — Worth the Effort?” the writer will undoubtedly conclude with a vague “well, for some people it can work and for some people it can’t, so you’ll just have to figure out what’s right for you.”
It’s like the terrible sex-ed movies we’d watch in middle school that would try to tell you that every feeling you have is perfectly normal, even if it’s different from someone else’s experience. Boooooooring. I want a column that says “long distance sucks, don’t ever do it!” Yeah, go ahead and point out the merits of the side, but then refute them. That’s what having an opinion is about. And what’s the worst that will happen? The Daily might get 800 letters from whiny freshmen about how their long distance thing is fantastic? Awesome, you have 800 readers!
Look sex and dating columnists, I just don’t think this thing between us is working. It’s not you, it’s me. Denise is a great writer who isn’t afraid to talk about handjobs and I love that. But it’s just not enough for me anymore. I’d like to see other columns, that’s why I’ve signed up. We can still be friends if you like. This is just something I need to do for myself at this point in my life.
Psh. Everest. Bring it.
Jenna Ray is an English senior and one of Mustang Daily’s sex columnists.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Jenna Ray’s column is not replacing Denise Nilan’s sex column. The columns will run on alternating weeks. Look for Nilan’s “Sex Ed” column next Tuesday.