The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.


Travis Cantrell
Penn, Paper, Farce

Credit: Travis Cantrell

Sex is something that is icky, slimy and weird. Yet, sex is the foundation of humanity’s continued existence on Earth and dominates the media and general discussion. For most, sex is something that is thought about more frequently than Bono, a really famous guy or The Truman Show, an incredibly perplexing movie for an 8-year-old to see. But what about it makes it so worthy of our attention? Why all the hoopla?

Regardless of why, we must acknowledge the fact that sex — or our ideas of what sex is — permeates throughout pop culture today. And where it goes, success often follows.

Let’s take a gander at the music industry. “Approximately 92% of the 174 songs that made it into the [Billboard] Top Ten in 2009 contained one or more reproductive messages,” according to a recent study by Dawn Hobbs, a Psychology professor at the State University of New York at Albany. And that includes Ke$ha. God help us all.

So, hasn’t it gotten old yet? If we acknowledge that the proverb “sex sells” is an accurate one, do media outlets compromise their integrity by exploiting it? Are they “selling out” for sex? What about journalists? Columnists? Are all the bad ones turning to sex when they can’t think of anything else? Uhh, forget that last one.

Well, last week, The Daily Pennsylvanian’s 34th Street magazine brushed any internal doubt aside and published a sex survey. The work features the results of a survey in which over 500 individuals responded.

I find this kind of exploitation of sex on a campus as lauded for its intellectualism as Penn rather surprising and, frankly, disgusting.

My parents brought me up without giving me a proper education with regard to sex — they just never addressed it. In elementary and middle school, and heck even in high school, I couldn’t be bothered by paying attention in health class — there was a penis being displayed on the overhead projector! A penis for fuck’s sake! How on earth do they expect people to concentrate when there are penises and fallopian tubes just hanging around like they own the place, floating on the walls all willy-nilly? They were all over my handouts — and I didn’t even draw them!

My sexual miseducation continued here at Penn, where, last year, I had to use to figure out what DFMO meant. To this day, I’m not convinced it doesn’t have something to do with extra-terrestrial life. I was really expecting Street’s sex survey to fill me in on all that I’ve missed, not romanticize sex (ha!) as some sort of amazing thing that I am sure it is not!

Anyway, the survey left me intellectually unfulfilled and my curiosity piqued. Yes, it addressed important issues such as masturbation, the prevalence of student-made pornography (something the liberal media propaganda machine would have you think is OK; well pshaw to that!) and how frequently sex toys are used and what kind.

But it didn’t address the really important stuff. Like, for instance, where do the users of sex toys purchase said toys? What is the going rate for a vibrator? My friend wants to know for a project… not me. Unrelated: Mom, don’t check my debit card purchases this month.

There are so many unanswered questions. Is bestiality a big thing within Penn Vet? Are Wharton students as into masochism as I imagine they are? The study mentioned the amount of people who have filmed themselves masturbating. Does masturbating furiously on Chatroulette count into that figure? Looking at you, engineers (hey — do what you need to to keep the world running).

What do the willfully abstinent fantasize about? Finishing a paper a week early? How do our sexual practices affect our academic performance? Maybe there should be a cross-analysis of rate of sexual intercourse vs. GPA. Is there a trend? How much sex do I need to have to get above a 3.0? That would’ve been informative for those who want to study abroad, wouldn’t it have, Street? Why is there no survey about autoerotic asphyxiation? Is that a real thing? Has this whole column been written just to mention autoerotic asphyxiation, because it is hilarious?

We’ll never know now, Street. For those whose previous sexual education sucked (ha!) and had high hopes of improving it with Street’s most recent publication, on behalf of Street — whom I have no affiliation with whatsoever — I apologize.

Travis Cantrell is a College junior from Glenmoore, Pa. His email address is Penn, Paper, Farce appears every other Tuesday.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.