Elis learn how to get it on

Sex expert Paul Joannides visited Yale just in time for Valentine’s Day to spread an important message: “Even if you’re just having a one-night stand, make sure you have a good time. Life’s too short.”

Joannides, a research psychoanalyst and the bestselling author of “The Guide to Getting It On,” kicked off Sex Weekend with a Saybrook Master’s Tea on Friday evening about sexual pleasure, and how to attain it. Joannides’ event was so popular that Saybrook Master Edward Kamens was forced to turn students away at the door; ultimately, close to 50 students attended.

Paul Joannides is all smiles as he delivers a sex talk to nearly 50 students at a Saybrook Master’s Tea.
Snigdha Sur
Paul Joannides is all smiles as he delivers a sex talk to nearly 50 students at a Saybrook Master’s Tea.

The theme of anatomy and positive self-image recurred in Joannides’ discussion. During a visit to Dartmouth Medical School earlier in the week, Joannides met a young student who was pressured into seeking cosmetic genital surgery by her boyfriend.

“That really concerns me,” Joannides said. “What is our society doing so that women as smart as the women in this room don’t feel good about what’s between their legs?”

Joannides discussed the negative impact of women’s magazines and the media upon perceptions of sexual normalcy. Pornography in particular is to blame for distorted body image and sexual expectations among young adults, Joannides said.

“I have an issue with the way the male is objectified in straight porn,” Joannides said. “He’s a robot with a really big dick and no emotion. Guys ask, ‘Why can’t I be like that?’ It won’t provide you pleasure to be like that.”

Joannides encouraged couples to spend time exploring each other’s bodies to learn what feels good. He emphasized the importance of pleasure above orgasm, saying that sex can often be more pleasurable when couples take time to enjoy each other’s bodies, “forget about penises and start to explore,” Joannides said.

Younger couples especially should focus on communicating what feels good. Joannides cited the results of a survey he administered to Dartmouth undergraduates, which found that communication was the No. 1 problem among his respondents.

“Just evolving a shared language for things is a real challenge,” he said. “We don’t know what to call things. When was the last time you said, ‘Oh, darling, can I have some cunnilingus?’ That doesn’t set the mood.”

At the end of the tea, Joannides answered anonymous questions — submitted by students in attendance — about threesomes, female ejaculation and furry sex (intercourse while dressed up in animal costumes).

Then he revealed his No. 1 tip. “How you treat each other when your clothes are on determines how good your sex is, and it’s more important than how many orgasms you have. I hope you use sex to comfort each other, because it’s a pretty nasty world out there,” Joannides said.

Yasmine Hafiz ’12 said she appreciated Joannides’ enthusiastic speaking style, and the chance to hear an expert’s take.

“I’m taking Porn in the Morn, and I saw a lot of correlations with what we’re studying,” Hafiz said. “It’s great to hear different perspectives on it.”

Sam Gottstein ’10 attended the tea with a copy of “The Guide to Getting It On” in hand, but was ultimately critical of Joannides’ emphasis on heterosexual sex.

“As far as Yale culture goes, it’s weird that he didn’t discuss homosexual relationships,” Gottstein said. “The emphasis on the female is necessary, but maybe it’s not as great for others in the audience.”

Kamens said he was pleased with the audience’s reception of Joannides.

“We were thrilled to have the house so full this evening for an informative conversation on what is everyone’s favorite subject,” Kamens said.


  • From Another Ivy League University (in New Jer

    Please tell me that this is not how you people are spending your four precious years as undergraduates! Wasn't last spring's "art project" controversy sufficiently humiliating?

  • Dan

    O yeah! We spend for years getting it on — getting it on so much, in fact, that none of us particularly care about one random person's senior project.

    Isn't that what you do at Princeton? Sorry, we wouldn't know: we don't read you college newspaper.

  • highdee

    As parents, we can only hope that all of you students are practicing safe sex. It was just a week or so ago that a local physician who is also on the faculty at the Yale School of Medicine spoke on NPR about the recent dramatic rise in STD's.

  • @#1

    And you think we should spend our time worrying about…literary theory? Quantum physics? Barack Obama?

    It worries me when people imply that we should ignore any aspects of being anything beyond a student. We are people, and if we want to live fruitful, happy lives, it will be good to know a thing or two about what kinds of things can contribute to a healthy, happy sex life, and happy romantic relationships. The world would be a better place if more people took the time to appreciate another person, or learned a thing or two about how to make other people feel good.

  • JoeNo

    I sense Marxism and the Frankfurt school here !!!!! That is it…

  • OldBlue73

    To #1,
    Take it easy there, Tiger, no one gets academic credit for a Master's Tea. Mix yourself another martini. Go wild, put three olives in it. If 50 people have better sex for having been to this "tea" their lives and, just as importantly, the lives of their partners will be just a little bit better.