Sex in numbers (Daniel Crowder sex column)

My first response to learning about sex was disappointment. The introduction of a penis into a vagina just seemed so anticlimactic after years of my parents’ reticence. I owe my enlightenment more to late night cable viewing than uncomfortable parental conversation. What I didn’t know then was that sex has precipitants and consequences, and that the missionary position can be substituted by so many other actions.

Since the early days of sexual awakening, I’ve learned that sex is so much more than a defiance of gravity using a man’s vigor to bob in and out of some fleshy orifice. Sex is a moment, an expression, and, in some cases, an ice breaker. More importantly than my own knowledge of sex, I needed to know what sex was to you, Northwestern students, and so I sought out as many 17-to- 23-year-olds as I could find through casual relationships — the nonsexual kind.

After blatantly ignoring the scientific approach, what I found is illuminating, interesting and, above all, amusing. Sex, as the average NU student sees it, cannot be defined by the mere act. Many students see sex as a mix of emotion, pleasure and the occasional, and often times serendipitous, study break. Asking questions that wouldn’t normally appear at the dinner table has demonstrated commonalities and differences among groups. I began with the basics: How old are you? What do you consider sex? How many partners have you had? After these questions, I would say words or phrases associated with sex, such as "female breasts" or "ejaculation." Most students consider ejaculation "messy." Although one of you did respond simply with "facial." That respondent was a male. Almost all groups responded to "female breast" with some variant of the word "soft." The majority of both gay and straight males describe the penis positively, while gay and straight females responded to the penis as "strange," "smelly" and downright "ugly."

Some proudly enumerated their partners (well beyond 50 in some cases), while others demurely declined to respond. Unexpectedly, straight males were tightest lipped where straight females were most ready to kiss and tell. Making me proud, gay participants were frank in disclosing sexual endeavors. Most interesting were those who did not indicate just one gender preference; a handful of participants, both male and female, told me they had had some sexual contact with both sexes. Of those, only one said the experience with one gender was better than the other. However, all of those who enjoy sexual contact with both genders consider themselves heterosexual.

This survey of sorts did not prove anything conclusively, but gave me an idea of what the sexual playing field is at NU, changing from person to person. Sometimes sex is love and other times sex is sport. What I know is that two people make more heat than one, and three make more than two, and so on and so forth, and that it’s damn cold outside. Maybe it’s time to get creative in order to stay warm.4

Weinberg sophomore Daniel Crowder is the PLAY sex columnist. He can be reached at [email protected]