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Meghan Bainum is a dark-haired, attractive coed and aspiring journalist at the University of Kansas. Like most journalism students, she works for the campus newspaper, The University Daily Kansan, and hopes to land a job in the business when she graduates in December.
Lately, however, Bainum has become the subject of news rather than the reporter of it.
“It´s crazy because I´m really kind of a shy person in real life,” Bainum told Daily Kansan reporter Aaron Passman. “I prefer to be behind the media rather than being the focus of it.”
But focus of the media she is, interviewed by Fox News, The New York Times and dozens of other news agencies. In addition, she took her clothes off to pose for Playboy.
“I´m not ashamed of my body,” she said. “I´d be a hypocrite if I preached sexual comfort and then didn´t want to show myself. I´d have to kick my own ass.”
Bainum, you see, is the student newspaper’s sex columnist, part of a growing trend in campus newspapers.
Read a few of Bainum’s colums and you quickly realize this perky coed ain’t trying to be Ann Landers. She writes about the joys of making it when your roommate is asleep in the next bed, the pitfalls of sculpting public hair and what to do when sex becomes boring.
“No matter how you get off, make the most of your orgasm,” she writes in one column. “Make a lot of noise when you get off. Moan, scream, cry — let your lover know you´re having fun.”
Wow. It wasn’t that long ago when panty raids were the raciest thing on college campuses.
Yet Bainum is tame compared to some other student sex columnists.
Natalie Krinsky writes the sex column for the Yale Daily News, the oldest campus newspaper in America. Her columns feature headlines like “Spit or swallow: It’s all about the sauce” and “Sex Bulldog style: Myth and harsh reality”
“I merely ask that every once in a while, when you are getting laid, or thinking about getting laid, or hoping to get laid, you think about love,” Krinsky wrote in an April column about the differences between sex and love. “And when you find it, you clue me in on how exactly you were able to do so.”
In a recent column of advice to incoming Yale freshman, Krinsky advised: “So what should you all expect when you get here? Everyone’s experience, in the end, is completely different. You may indeed fall in love with the girl (or boy) next door. You may get engaged in the post office. You may end up sleeping with an entire team, a cappella group or circle of friends. To the Class of 2006, I say have fun, be safe, be crazy and get laid along the way.”
Ask an average Yalie about Krinsky’s column and the men will point to her writings about oral sex as their favorite. Krinsky admitted in one column that at the tender age of 14 she and a friend raided the fridge for bananas and carrots because “we didn’t want practical, hands-on (or mouth-on) experience, we just wanted to know what to do in case the occasion ever arose that we would have to lose our respective oral innocence and take the plunge.”
Later, she admits: “I am an avid swallow supporter. (Wow. My popularity rating just skyrocketed with the male demographic.) I figure that swallowing is like taking cough syrup. Sure it’s a little painful at first, but eventually the taste will go away, and it’s pure lovin’ from then on.”
Krinsky, Bainum and other campus sex columnists point to the HBO series “Sex in the City” as their inspiration. The series features the adventures of sex columnist Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) and her three female friends who get laid more often than a sailor in a Tijuana whorehouse. The series is based on the writings of real-life New York sex columnist Candace Bushnell.
Whatever their inspiration, the sudden spurt of college sex columnists draws the ire of those who say the columns of student newspapers should not read like the letters section of Penthouse magazine.
Yet campus newspapers have often stretched the limits of what is or is not allowable. The Washington Post may still put dashes in dirty words, but such words are not censored in The Yale Daily News or most other campus newspapers. And some may argue that censorship of words or ideas have no place in journalism, a profession that so often fights against the oppression of news.
Forget about the morality of the issue. Sex has long been a part of the college experience. Thirty years ago, most young men and women lost their virginity in college. Now they come to campus with more experience in bed than their parents. The genie left that bottle long ago.
We may be shocked by what student sex columnists like Meghan Bainum or Natalie Krinsky write but lets be honest: When I was a horny young man of 19, I would have loved to have met a young college coed whose only concern about oral sex was whether to spit or swallow.