Confessions of a Sexpert

Elisa Benson

A big shout out to Carlos from the Coop, who told me during a routine smoothie purchase that he’s a big fan of Minus the City. I will be a hard writer to replace, he said. He catches the column every week.

Although “sometimes it’s a little harsh,” he added.

I debuted Minus the City in January of my sophomore year with a somewhat unoriginal commentary on the search for Mr. Right in all the wrong places. Since then I’ve tried to tackle more serious subjects and confront a default of heteronormativity. I try to limit my reliance on gender stereotypes and speak to the delicate, subjective balance between sexual freedom and responsibility. Sometimes I fall short. But I am always unapologetic.

And so in six semesters and sixty-some columns, I’ve heard a lot worse than “harsh.” Before I wrap up with next week’s final column, I decided to share some of the feedback and questions I’ve received over the past two and a half years.

People always ask what my boyfriend/parents/professors think of the column. Brad doesn’t read it, or any of the Maroon-News, so his opinions are generally limited to the specific instances when I solicit them-like when I need a male perspective or some additional inspiration. He’s come to expect the random midweek phone calls: “Do men have sex and think about sports?” or “Would you ever have a threesome to spice up a committed relationship?” You hafta admire a guy able to gracefully sidestep these questions, especially since the poor kid has had to field criticism for my column more than once.

My parents are aware that I write about relationships for the student paper, but if they read it on the website they never comment. Fine by me; they’re hardly the target audience and it’s not exactly the stuff of long distance phone calls.

Professors are usually my biggest cheerleaders, and I’ve heard some have used the column in their classes. I find this deeply flattering regardless of how the articles are framed. I hope more professors work to highlight the relevance of a liberal arts education by incorporating Colgate media and current campus events in the classroom.

People ask if it’s hard to come up with ideas every week, and it’s not – I have a million things I’d love to write about that I’ve simply run out of time to cover. Many articles arise from dinner conversations I have with my friends or time on Facebook. Sometimes people wonder if I make stuff up, but with this much material to choose from, I’d never need to.

Finally, the criticism. The worst came from a girl I lived with last year, who wrote a letter to the editor that began, (direct quote) “What is our society coming to that we are now forced into submission in listening to people talk about actions which should remain fundamentally private?” I’m assuming she used the phrase “forced into submission” loosely. Earlier this semester my editors told me nicely to “tone it down” after one of the articles. But the most controversy I’ve ever stirred up was in response to bashing the campaign for SGA president. One of the campaign managers actually called me and politely filled me in on points he thought I had overlooked.

That’s the whole idea, really: to spark discourse, thought and pillow talk about issues between the sheets.