The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

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

Dear Class of 2017, Now that your parents have ducked back into their rental cars and headed home, you can breath a sign of relief: you’re finally at college! You’ve made it! You can now stay up as late as you want, scarf down ice cream sandwiches for dinner and even have sleepovers where you don’t stay in your clothes (provided your roommate is accommodating)! Over the summer, while you were likely buying overpriced Penn T-shirts and Facebook stalking your future classmates, you may have seen the feature that ran on the front page of “The New York Times” about sex and hookup culture at Penn. More specifically, your parents may have seen it, and grumbled some sentiment of concern and fear about attending such a sex-soaked university. If this was the case, I’m happy to pacify both your and your parents’ concerns by telling you that sex at Penn is not altogether the way that it was portrayed in “The New York Times.” This campus is not a bastion of casual sex, fraternity hook ups and the occasional moment of sexual “cost-benefit analysis.” Oh no, young freshman. It is much worse than that. Penn is a place where sex is everywhere — except for conversation. You have likely already attended a frat party and witnessed uninvited grinding or a dancefloor makeout (note to Kate Taylor, it’s abbreviated DFMO, not DIFMO). There are human-sized vaginas that parade up and down Locust Walk every spring in honor of the Vagina Monologues. And throughout the next month, your hallmates will gradually — or immediately — deplete the pile of free condoms provided by your RA. But students rarely engage in honest-to-goodness conversations about sex. Unless, of course, they’re speaking covertly to New York Times reporters and only under the guise of their middle initials. You’ve spent the last week attending countless sessions about how to maximize your college experience, from taking advantage of the general requirements to joining all the extracurricular activities you can stomach. But here’s what no one is telling you: your maximal college experience can also involve sex — and not just having sex, but also learning about it. If you’re as smart as Amy Gutmann told you that you are during your freshman convocation, then you’ll take it upon yourself to find out — whether or not you’re doing the dirty. For starters, do you know the difference between ejaculation and orgasm? Have you ever heard of the Philadelphia Masturbate-a-Thon? Are you even sure what you’re really into, beyond vanilla missionary-style sex? As Penn students, we ought not confine our knowledge to “quantitative data analysis” and “formal reasoning,” but also to the realities of our social interactions, including sex. But while you’re engaging in your collegiate sexual education, don’t feel compelled to start hooking up just because “everyone is doing it.” That would be a stupid reason, both because peer pressure is a stupid reason to do anything and because everyone isn’t doing it. As reported in the 2011 Sex Survey by 34th Street, over 30 percent of Penn students are still virgins. And that’s totally cool. In fact, Penn is a place where you can remain virgin for all four years if that’s what you choose. I do, however, sincerely hope that you’ll allow yourself to explore sexually — on your own terms — during your freshman year. As a bonus (for you Whartonites), recent research from the Institute for the Study of Labor found that people who have sex more than four times a week garner 5 percent higher salaries. More than anything, however, I hope you’ll help to make Penn is a place where you can, for the most part, talk about sex — intellectually or casually, philosophically or clinically, sociologically or personally. It’s up to you, my dear freshmen, to make sex part of your Penn lives.
Comments powered by Disqus

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