published Friday, April 5th, 2013

Cook: Protect us from Sex Week

Sex Week — billed as a way to educate the student body on sexual awareness — begins Sunday at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville campus.

(Not Shark Week. Sex Week. You read it correctly. Although, with sharks and sex, biting is usually a sign of trouble).

The week kicks off with Megan Andelloux, who heads the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health in Rhode Island (where else) and was on campus last year, for her enlightening Fornication 101 exhibit.

Sunday, Andelloux -- "ever-enthusiastic," organizers call her -- will discuss orgasms, sex-positivity and how-to's, all without blushing once.

Monday, Sex Weekers wake up for a campuswide scavenger hunt for a hidden golden condom, followed by a workshop on virginity.

"Can one 'lose' her virginity just like one loses car keys?" the event schedule reads. "Can I find it again?"

Then Andelloux returns for an encore speech she's calling -- oh, Grandma, don't read this -- "How Many Licks Does it Take ..."

And you thought UT football was embarrassing.

If she's in a giving mood, Andelloux may talk to our future leaders about her new book: "Hot and Fast," an investigative study of one of the most compelling issues facing college kids today.

"An anytime, anywhere quickie!" her website reads.

Wish I could find my car keys that fast.

(In other news, American education continues its tragic decline).

Sex Week has a few serious components -- ways to prevent sexual assault, free HIV testing, discussions on religion -- yet the whole spectacle is tied together in reckless silliness. Sex trivia and pizza?

Come on.

When does Caligula speak? Before or after the 2 Live Crew concert?

Sex Week is not a serious, academic and soulful look at sexuality. It's foolishness disguised as college hipness.

What to really have an honest talk about sex?

Talk about this: why hookup culture sucks.

And why most students already know it.

"The culture of hooking up is causing a lot of struggle and ambivalence, and that worries me," Donna Freitas tells The Atlantic.

Freitas, a liberal feminist college educator, is everything a conservative isn't. But her new book, written after research with her own students, argues something not unlike what's been said from the right.

Her title says it all: "The End of Sex: How Hookup Culture is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled and Confused About Intimacy."

"I don't see hookup culture as an empowering culture. I see it as a culture of pretend, where you're distancing yourself from what you truly want," she says.

Hookup culture is many things, most of them defined by the practice that sexual intimacy can and should happen without any emotional or social commitment.

Friends with benefits? Strangers with benefits.

It has also spelled the slow death of dating.

"There's a social contract to the hookup -- students know they're supposed to walk away not caring. What tends to be difficult is the walking away and not caring. They find that they're not so good at it," she says.

Equally troubling is the fear of many to resist hookup culture; sadly, what was supposed to liberate has become stifling.

"There's a huge fear of dissent," Freitas says. "The idea that we need to collectively agree is part of what perpetuates hookup culture. Students may privately disagree but would never say it in public because they think everyone else thinks it's great."

Mob-think, thanks to "Sex and the City."

What has become of restraint, grace and commitment? When anything this side of porn is considered Mary Poppins prudish, what is the next generation to face?

Does the pendulum ever swing back?

Meanwhile, back in Knoxville, someone looks for a place to hide the golden condom.

We sure need some protection.

Contact David Cook at dcook@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6329. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter at DavidCookTFP.

about David Cook...

David Cook is the award-winning city columnist for the Times Free Press, working in the same building where he began his post-college career as a sportswriter for the Chattanooga Free Press. Cook, who graduated from Red Bank High, holds a master's degree in Peace and Justice Studies from Prescott College and an English degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. For 12 years, he was a teacher at the middle, high school and university ...

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dfreezy said...

Sex Week organizers at UTK took the leadership of students on campus. Organizers ask, students responded, organizers organized sex week. The events happening at Sex Week are what the students asked for. Sex week has an event for everyone. This article is disrespectful and completely dismisses their right to self determination.

You have no right to tell them what they should and should not do. What you've said is extremely paternalistic. They are adults. They can talk about sex however they want to. And if they feel like they should make sex education fun and engaging for students, then so be it. Their events are not foolish, they are designed to make people who think sex is a taboo topic more comfortable discussing it with other students.

April 5, 2013 at 1:36 p.m.
Stewwie said...

It's is extremely rare when I agree with Mr. Cook, but I certainly do agree with him on this issue. Well written, David. And Sex Week and their topics du jours are yet another unfortunate indicator of the moral decline in this country.

April 5, 2013 at 2:17 p.m.
dfreezy said...

Look at the people agreeing with you David ^^^ They think talking about human reproduction (something most people do) in public school indicates some sort of "moral decline." Disgusting.

April 5, 2013 at 5:49 p.m.
Easy123 said...

dfreezy,

It just shows you how maladapted and backward people like Stewwie and, apparently, Mr. Cook are. I respect Mr. Cook tremendously, but sex should not be a taboo subject.

Sex is normal. Talking about it shouldn't be taboo. Once we learn that, then maybe our young people will stop experimenting. Kids will ALWAYS want to do the very thing you tell them is off limits. It's called psychological reactance.

April 5, 2013 at 7:59 p.m.
GameOn said...

Easy... Talk about it with your partner. Nobody else matters.

April 6, 2013 at 9:23 p.m.
Easy123 said...

GameOn,

Sex, as a subject, does matter to everyone. Sex should not be taboo

April 8, 2013 at 11:31 a.m.
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