Take a deep breath:
See, was that so difficult? Yet the word is so taboo that we often become cunning linguists in an effort to find more tasteful expressions. We know you’ve used them. The birds and the bees. Making love. “It.” These are testaments to how unknowable — and intimidating — so many people find sexual intercourse.
How about these?
Erection. Masturbation. Orgasm.
Are they too inappropriate? Too terrifying? Too explicit?
For some, maybe, but these words shouldn’t come with a “hush” or pointed look. It isn’t scary to talk about elbows, knees and toes, so it shouldn’t be frightening to talk about breasts, penises and vaginas either. They are our body parts; they are natural, and so is what we do with them.
Sex is a special act between two people — and sometimes more. It can be between people with the same body parts. It can be an empowering way to connect on a deeper level. It can even be fun. But it is also something we should take seriously. There are a number of factors that go into healthy, safe and enjoyable sex, and we need to talk about them — explicitly. Yet too often, in order to make both ourselves and those around us more comfortable, we resort to increasingly vague and obscure (re: “tasteful”) words. It is in the shadow these words cast that sex becomes scary, dangerous and stigmatizing.
In this special addition of Maroon Life, we shed light on a variety of issues regarding sex. We speak on the necessity of consent, the specifics of contraception and the stigma surrounding sex work and sexual health. We discuss sex from various perspectives: women, who are hypersexualized by others; the sexually inactive, who are judged for not participating; and the LGBTQ+ community, who are often left out of this country’s typically heteronormative sexual education. We also exlore the relationship between sex and religion, sex in college versus adulthood and the discrepancies among students’ sexual education and healthcare resources.
Sex can strongly impact a person’s mental and physical health, which is why understanding it is important. The Battalion’s staff hopes that by removing some of the ambiguity surrounding sex, readers will be able to approach it with less timidity. No matter your take on the topic, we hope this magazine helps start a healthy conversation, full of accurate words instead of replacements or innuendos.
Now, let’s talk about sex.