Heirs to the Sexual Revolution
October 22, 2015 9:21 AM   Subscribe

And yet, for all there is to worry about — and we old folks love nothing more than worrying about the sex lives of young people — campuses are still filled with college kids excited about one another and the thrill of a night that’s just beginning. To them, college sex isn’t a headline but something real. In an attempt to get past the existing media narratives, and the moralizing that comes with them, New York asked college students what they think about the campus-sex climate. Or, rather, how they experience it.

What does 'Yes' sound like?
Identity-Free Identity Politics - "A report from the agender, aromantic, asexual front line."
The Sex Habits Of 784 College Students
College Virgins Are a Mostly Silent Almost-Majority
Sally Quinn on When ‘No’ Didn’t Mean ‘No’ - "When I entered Smith College in 1959, no one ever talked about sex."

more
posted by the man of twists and turns (17 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite


 
Weirdly the first link returns a 404 in IE but not in other browsers. That's a new one!

There's an attempt to agonize over the stats in this article all kinds of ways but for me I feel pretty positive about a lot of the stuff here. "Young people in college are thoughtful; educated on and comfortable with their options" would be how I would sum up the overview.

The continuing prevalence of assault is really troubling, though.
posted by selfnoise at 11:50 AM on October 22, 2015


The link has an octothorpe at the end, which may be causing some issues.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:55 AM on October 22, 2015


[Removed the octothorpe.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:59 AM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I also wanted to say, thinking about surveys like this is so strange because we all have such a limited window on such a diverse experience set. I met my wife in college early on and that was it! And I was much too awkward for casual encounters so that actually worked out very well. But it means I have little insight into a lot of these experiences.

This always hits me when people talk about internet dating sites. I find them utterly fascinating but I just missed that window completely.
posted by selfnoise at 12:05 PM on October 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


LobsterMitten: "[Removed the octothorpe.]"

Nope, still here.
posted by octothorpe at 12:50 PM on October 22, 2015 [32 favorites]


It would seem to be a pretty confusing time to be a college student, at least as far as sex is concerned.

Said every article about this subject ever, over every decade, since the start of time.
posted by chavenet at 1:01 PM on October 22, 2015 [10 favorites]


LobsterMitten removed the octothorpe, yet the octothorpe remained!

(File under "sentences you never thought you'd read and understand.")
posted by languagehat at 2:55 PM on October 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


I feel pretty positive about a lot of the stuff here. [...] The continuing prevalence of assault is really troubling, though.

This was basically my reaction, too.

The other big thing that stood out for me, especially from reading the "College Virgins" article, is the degree to which folks are still dealing with huge pressure and anxiety around sex. That's not exactly surprising, but it does make me raise my eyebrows at statements like "The sexual revolution has been won." I don't think you've reached sexual liberation until those broader social pressures are dissolved.

It's not really the point of the series, but I'd be curious to know more about how the experiences covered here compare with those of 25 or 50 years ago. There's one short article on this subject, but it's pretty anecdotal.
posted by Gerald Bostock at 3:10 PM on October 22, 2015


Also, this line from the "What Does 'Yes' Sound Like?" article really jumped out at me:

“She has to say ‘yes’ and be reasonably sober. I’m black, can’t take no risk.”
posted by Gerald Bostock at 3:13 PM on October 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, this line from the "What Does 'Yes' Sound Like?" article really jumped out at me:

“She has to say ‘yes’ and be reasonably sober. I’m black, can’t take no risk.”


I was struck by that too but the whole thing is interesting. I've argued in defense of affirmative consent laws/policies that the essential purpose is not - or should not be - to mandate a specific verbal exchange (as people make fun of) but to eliminate the hoary "she didn't resist, how could I have known" defense. But many of the laws/policies I've actually seen are rather unclear on what constitutes affirmative consent, which it really seems like someone, somewhere should come up with some guidelines for.
posted by atoxyl at 4:23 PM on October 22, 2015


But many of the laws/policies I've actually seen are rather unclear on what constitutes affirmative consent

Though they are generally specific about what is not, supporting my argument about the purpose of such a policy. I would just like to see more discussion of what is.
posted by atoxyl at 4:32 PM on October 22, 2015


This is good, but they really need a better style guide for trans stuff. They seem to be legitimately trying to do a good job, but then they use "transgenderism" and "transman" and "transwoman".
posted by vibratory manner of working at 5:01 PM on October 22, 2015


Tom Wolfe can be funny and sometimes insightful, but he's a perfect example of "old folks love nothing more than worrying about the sex lives of young people". 'In Our Time' and 'I am Charlotte Simmons' make him seem upset by the idea that anyone in college is having any fun.
posted by ovvl at 5:56 PM on October 22, 2015


It would seem to be a pretty confusing time to be a college student, at least as far as sex is concerned.

It was confusing when I was in college, too, but differently in at least some ways. I don't know if they chose their subjects well or if it was the editing, but the people in the interviews were largely thoughtful and interesting, and in every case I wished the transcript was much longer.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:56 PM on October 22, 2015


"transman" and "transwoman"

Is it the lack of a space that's the issue here?
posted by atoxyl at 7:18 PM on October 22, 2015


Yes.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:25 AM on October 23, 2015


to elaborate: It's also how they use it. Take this passage:
You may want to sleep with men, or women, or transmen, or transwomen
They're setting up four categories of gender: men, women, "transmen", and "transwomen". Being trans is, in this figuration, a separate gender to itself. It's the core of what putting the space in is meant to work against.

With the space in, there's men and women, cis or trans. Without the space, we've gone from a gender binary to a gender quaternary, and it's gross.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:35 AM on October 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


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