Higher Education, Lower Behavior, and Bad Advice
So you’ve traveled with your daughter on the journey that has led her to freshman year at the University of Rhode Island, and within a couple of weeks of looking to the student paper, The Good 5¢ Cigar, to understand the community of which she is now a part — perhaps to glean some tips on how to behave, now that she’s away from Mom and Dad — she comes across an advice column by “Misty Pink” titled “Sex and the Cigar: Boring sex requires a visit to your local porn shop,” offering the following nugget of wisdom to a girl who complains that her “sex life is normally more exciting than it is now,” with her boyfriend of one month, and wonders how to respond to his suggestion that they “go visit a sex shop”:
Well first of all, your oh-so-wise resident sexpert here commends you on being open to even going to a sex shop with your boyfriend at all. My guess is that he probably senses you are disappointed with your dwindling sex life and doesn’t want to come out and say it. Poor guy is probably embarrassed. So, his roundabout way of making things a bit more exciting was to suggest a visit to a sex shop, which is, in fact, a great idea if you want to spice things up a bit in the bedroom.
I’m not saying you have to go all out with whips, chains and strap-ons, but try some flavored whipped cream, some edible panties, or maybe even some sexy lingerie. That’s sure to put the heat back in your relationship. For the faint of heart, there’s always penis pasta.
“Life,” Ms. Pink explains, is “too short for bad sex.” It’s certainly too short for non-flavored whipped cream.
Now, I know that this anonymous giver of sex advice has achieved the height of daring, with her writing. I also know that I’m a stodgy old thirty-something in the notoriously prudish field of construction. But I’m still not sure why it is that higher education must be accompanied by low behavior. Perhaps some adult supervision would help students to develop more richly formed lives. It might (and only might) result in better advice about a wide range of topics, including sex, that is not objectifying, dehumanizing, and more likely than not to lead students away from actual fully satisfying relationships.
Yeah, yeah, I know. College is all about exploration, self definition. It’s still disappointing, though, to come across reminders that it’s often less about growth than about playacting maturity.