Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Give Me That Old Time College Sex Censorship (Or, Towson Univ. Bans "Mutual Masturbation" Column)

Funny thing about college journalistic standards here in these United can say just about anything about politicians, even lie about their birthplaces, their policies, even their personal sex lives, and all that is protected, supposedly, by the First Amendment.

But try to talk frankly about mutually pleasurable sex that bothers no one and even helps fight STI's..and you get the Joycelyn Elders treatment....scorn, disgust, and rapid unemployment.

Want proof?? Try going to Towson State University.

Their student-run college newspaper, The Townlight, used to feature a column by a student named Lux -- gender undetermined, but based on history, probably female -- titled "The Bed Post", in which she would discuss the more....shall we say, intimate side of college life.

I say "was", because that column is now no more....because the editor of that paper canned it after some major stink was raised about the last "The Bed Post" column which was posted on September 27th.

The subject that created so much controversy:  Mutual Masturbation.

Yup....that would be the act of two or more people joining together to share some self-pleasure through touching themselves (but not each other).

So what was the controversy, then?? Too many explicit bombs in a "family-oriented" college newspaper?? The columnist revealed as a supporter of NAMBLA or a porn starlet?? An explicit attack on the local Campus Crusade for Christ or the College Republicans local???

Nope, not that at all.  Here's a transcript of the column in its entirity (the original version can be found via the embedded link):

The Bed Post: How to make the feeling mutual

Happy Monday, my lovely, loyal readers, I’m hoping you had a great weekend and didn’t get into trouble. What did I do this weekend? It was actually pretty standard. I caught up on some sleep, hung out with some pals, got some work done, did a little mutual masturbation.


That’s not how you spend your weekends?

Well, you might want to start.

According to Wikipedia, mutual masturbation is “a sexual act where two or more people stimulate themselves or one another sexually, usually with the hands.”

According to Lux, mutual masturbation is a way of life.

Got a boyfriend or girlfriend?

If you’re new to this concept, mutual masturbation is a great way to spice things up between the two of you.

Try not touching each other and only stimulate yourselves. Since you know your body so well, your hands will work exactly how you want them to, so you’ll always feel good.

You’ll stay safe, while being intimate at the same time. It’s sexy to watch someone pleasure themselves and even sexier for you to pleasure yourself with someone else watching.

Make a lot of eye contact during the act and there’s a good chance that you will both orgasm around the same time.

Want to take it to the next level? Try lying next to each other and linking arms.

Girls – add a vibrator or dildo into your routine.

Boys – find out if your girl will let you finish somewhere other than on your stomach. I tend to ask for it on my chest or back.

The other type of mutual masturbation might be better suited for someone that you aren’t in a serious relationship with.

This occurs when you both use your hands to pleasure each other. If you’ve been keeping up with my columns, you’re already all experts in the hand job department.

As for heavy petting, girls – tell your partner exactly how you like it, just as you would while receiving oral sex.

Want to make sure they really understand? Show them!

Use your hand or finger(s) and let them follow along.

Be careful, however, because PDS is a serious risk.

Pleasure Distraction Syndrome, or PDS, is something I made up completely to describe the situation in which both individuals are being stimulated and it feels so good, they forget what they are doing to the other person and stop.

Symptoms include failure to continue sexual act, confusion, and, if left untreated, will result in orgasm.

I almost always succumb to PDS while 69ing.

Just try to stay focused on the other person and what you’re doing, but if it happens, look on the bright side - your partner is very good at pleasuring you.

Regardless of how you do it, you should both be aroused, pleased and totally safe.

Mutual masturbation is a great way to make sure that you get what you want, your partner gets what he or she wants, and no one ends up pregnant.

So next weekend, in between watching movies with your roommates and partying with your friends, keep your hands busy with that lucky person in your life.

Now if you excuse me, the PDS is setting in.

Add another notch, the column was a touch explicit, with direct reference to hand jobs and fellatio and oral sex, but as sex columns go, it's pretty tame.

Nevertheless, talking honestly about sex in college campuses still tends to bring out the worst in sexual prudery, and that's probably what prompted the Townson administration to come down hard on The Townlight.  So much so that the paper on October 4th issued a special statement officially pulling "The Bed Post from circulation.

Perhaps that's what prompted Carrie Wood, who was the editor-in-chief of The Townlight at that time, to submit her own resignation papers on October 4th; citing a nasty email from the TU President which basically ripped the paper to shreds for allowing "pornography" to be shown in public. Unfortunately, in her haste to fall on her proverbial sword, Wood seems to want to throw Lux under the bus in typical Puritan liberal fashion.  Quoting from the resignation letter, which was posted to the paper here):

On the morning of Wednesday, September 30, I received an e-mail in my personal Towson student e-mail account from Towson University President Robert Caret. I felt the e-mail was written in an intimidating, patronizing and bullying tone, and it was copied to TU’s chief of staff and the University’s lawyer for them to see as well. Seeing this e-mail pop into my personal inbox right after I had woken up sent me into somewhat of a panic, and I responded out of feelings of fear and of being threatened. In my response, passages were worded in such a way that made it look as if I was throwing my staff under the bus and pushing the responsibility for the column on them. In no way was this my intent; however, I realize that perception is reality and that such a response makes The Towerlight look bad in the face of the University community.

I understand that my e-mail was just one of several poor decisions made by me regarding “The Bed Post.” Hindsight is 20-20, and, if I ever had the chance to do this all over again, I would have never run the column in the first place. I should have had the foresight to realize what “The Bed Post” would do to the paper and the reputation of both the paper and of Baltimore Student Media.

Oh, I see, Ms. the "reputation" of your newspaper is so threatened by the existence of one column that seeks to use humor and mutual consent to promote safe sex practices that you feel the need to resign your post?? I guess that articles on revelations about President Obama's birth certificate is more acceptable to you than talking honestly about masturbation?? Or, even safe sex??

But, not too much harm to its "reputation", though, for Wood to bail out completely...she will stay on as a regular columnist there.

Meanwhile, outside of the usual Teabagger/Religious Fundie crowd, the basic reaction from Towson students amounts to: "WTF?!?" This comment generally speaks for the consensus:

[Posted by Gwendolyn Norton on 10/7/09 @ 12:04 PM]  *This* column actually made national news? Seriously, I got here from CNN. What kind of morons run this school? OMG- the kids have figured out a way to have sex that has practical zero risk for STD's or pregnancy and they're spreading the word!!! Stop it before the STD and pregnancy rates drop!!!

Kudos to the author and editor, and "you are a total and complete moron" to anyone who purports to have a mission (in fact, paid position) at this school in perpetuating knowledge but would move immediately to squash some of the most important knowledge that can be imparted and punish those who would disseminate it.

But as bad as the actual event was, it pales to how the local media has been reporting all the controversy...with all the usual squemishness about sex (and the prurience included within) that makes our media stand so proud...with their heads firmly placed in the sand. Blogger Amanda Hess of the DC-based blog The Sexist waylaided a particularly sappy attempt by the local ABC-TV news affiliate WMAR-TV to report on the Towson sex column fracus. You'll have to read the full entry to get the gist of Hess' comparison/contrast, but her concluding graphs gets to the point:

The Bed Post’s controversial references to self-pleasure have got nothing on ABC News’ edgy decision to misspell Wood’s name, mistype the name of the column (it’s The Bed Post), and misquote Wood. She made “some poor editorial decision”? Which editorial decision was that?


Yes, the Bed Post got explicit. Maybe ABC News should try that, instead of printing comments about “people” “overreacting” or “supporting” the decision to run “it,” no matter “what people tell you.” Just so we’re clear: THEY’RE ALL TALKING ABOUT MASTURBATION. There. MASTURBATION. That was easy, wasn’t it?

Maybe they should have been talking about trips to Argentina or trysts in public restroom stalls.  That would have been more...acceptable, I guess.