Mom and Dad: The New Sexperts?

Tina CovielloMaroon-News Staff

There are many things that we don’t talk about with our parents: sex, drugs and, perhaps, even rock and roll, to name a few. If you do the math, it is pretty easy to see that most of our parents fall into the category of Baby Boomers. This means that they went to high school and/or college in the mid to late sixties and seventies. It also means that they probably have some idea about “free love,” what marijuana looks like and can tell you the name of at least one band that played at Woodstock. Yet most of us still do not wish to talk about these kinds of things with our parents. It is often because we do not discuss these topics in an open dialogue that we know so little about them, or at least, what other people have to say about them. Now, all of a sudden, it is an election year and the topic of sex, in particular, is being discussed by congressmen, presidential and vice-presidential candidates and just about everyone who has a voice and some sort of a platform. The issues range from sex education to abortion bills and gay marriages. Tuesday night’s lecture given by sex columnists Emma Taylor and Lorelei Sharkey was an attempt to get Colgate students thinking about sex in an “outside of the box” manner. As part of Colgate Activities Board’s Sex Week, Em and Lo (as they are known) came to Hamilton, from Manhattan, to enlighten all of us on topics ranging from safe sex to what the Supreme Court has to say about anti-abortion legislation. Just how does one get their point across to a room full of college students? Em and Lo chose a path where they combined audience participation, video taped interviews of people with dumb answers to sexual health questions and serious statements about the ramifications of politics in our personal lives. This “lecture” was really anything but a lecture. Em and Lo took open-mindedness to a whole new level for Colgate students, speaking about sex and sexual health in a way that did not play upon scare tactics or the conservative agenda. Students who were gathered around after the event discussed how much of what they heard was informative, and how much was merely entertaining. In fact, some students were not even aware of the political “stuff” that Em and Lo mentioned in their talk. The ultra pro-Democrat perspective these women gave to their audience incorporated facts about Texas’ obscenity laws (for example, imprisoning people for purchasing too many sex toys) and how many members of Congress are anti-abortionists. However, while this information is important to acknowledge, the lecture lacked a certain depth in its political savvy. The view points of these two women were obviously biased and slanted towards a more liberal perspective, but aside from that, the presentation took so many turns that, at times, it was hard to follow where it was going. Was this supposed to be a funny, joking lecture about how little people really know about sex, or was its aim to get people thinking about different views and perspectives, both political and sexual? When they answered a few questions after the lecture, Em and Lo stated that they made this presentation a bit more political than they normally do in light of the upcoming election. While sex and politics are definitely interwoven, it is a little harder to see the connection between sex toys and let’s say, Kerry. We live in a culture that, according to the video taped interviews Em and Lo aired, knows little to nothing about the nuances of a sexual relationship. The people interviewed were also mostly in their mid to late twenties and early thirties – the very demographic that is so often chided for thinking about nothing other than sex. Could it be that the generation that did such a good job of bringing sex to the political forefront has somehow failed to give their children an adequate sex education? And what exactly does “sex education” entail? While much of what Em and Lo said was in a more comedic vein, they raise some important questions that we do not necessarily think about. When confronted with a partisan perspective on information that one may know little to nothing about, it is hard to make well-informed decisions or develop personal opinions and views. During this scenario is when the generation that brought us the “sexual revolution” might be able to come in handy. Writing off activists in the sixties and seventies – and what they had to say about sex – as something from the “hippie generation” does not seem to be productive. At a time when much of the legislation passed in these decades is being questioned and refuted, it would be beneficial to come to an understanding about why these court cases and decisions occurred in the first place. Usually, when young people talk about sex, they either do so with a giggle, a smug “I-know-it-all” expression or in a gloating manner. Em and Lo’s presentation opened up the student body toward looking at sex in a more liberal light. So, before you make any decisions concerning your body or someone else’s, what goes on in your bedroom or what exactly “marriage” is, it might be helpful to call Mom or Dad. In this way, maybe a two-sided dialogue can begin between generations and we can better understand the social ramifications of political actions.