The United States is driven by sex. Sunday evening, millions of viewers gathered around their television sets — some at their own private viewing parties — to kiss their beloved Sex and the City friends goodbye. In a country where saying “sex sells” is an understatement, expecting people not to discuss sexual acts or innuendos would be ridiculous and, therefore, the topic will also turn up in the media.
On Feb. 12, a student in Arizona expressed this right and her doing so should not be perceived as inappropriate, let alone a shock.
Claire Fuller, a student writer for The Lumberjack — Northern Arizona University’s official newspaper — penned the controversial column titled “Something to think about,” a how-to guide for female and male oral sex. Since the column ran, more than 50 responses have been posted on the paper’s Web site. While some are in support of the article, the majority referred to the piece as a sordid piece of smut, despite the author’s inclusion of various ways to perform oral sex safely.
Wednesday, the faculty adviser for Lumberjack, Rod Breeding, told the Associated Press that he was aware of the column before its publication. In accordance with guidelines that NAU and Lumberjack — which is an independent paper — student editors make the final call on what is to make the printing press.
Ironically, the Cornell Daily Sun ran a “how to” column on anal intercourse on the same day the other column ran. Harvard University also announced within the same week its publication of a pornographic student magazine that would be released three times a year. Neither of the two sparked a national controversy.
The Oracle publishes a weekly sex column on Wednesdays and has also received complaints. While some people may be offended by its content, the column is clearly marked as a sex column — which should be a dead giveaway that its material pertains to sex and might contain what some deem uncomfortable material.
Fuller could have used more medical or expert attributions throughout her column, but the gist of the column would have offended someone regardless of the wording.
In a society where sex is so prevalent in its every aspect, it is not plausible to think it is inappropriate for someone at the college level to write about it. And in a paper where such material is labeled as a “sex column,” shock value should not be a factor as there was a fair warning.
A writer has the right to author what he or she along, with their editor sees fit. A reader reserves the same right to turn the page.