I’ve been in the Law School auditorium twice.
Once was during my first Camp Yale (the hedonistic blur that was the beginning of life away from home) when I was ushered into the auditorium with a herd of other freshmen and watched a woman strap on huge plastic boobs with ridiculously prominent nipples giving a spiel about sexual harassment.
Then, last weekend, I crowded into the auditorium with several hundred women and several uncomfortable men and watched six actresses talk about Angry Vaginas and demonstrate orgasm noises in the “Vagina Monologues.”
Why do I mention these experiences (besides to make you really jealous)?
The points I’m trying to make are: 1. I’m scared of the Law School auditorium and 2. There is a Group V in our Yale education: “Sex and Relationships.”
The latter will undoubtedly be a controversial statement, but it’s my personal belief that sexuality is important to student life here. Yalies have excelled (to freakish levels) in every imaginable area: academics, art, music, sports, even obscure pastimes like cake decorating and (often fake) medieval weaponry.
What many of us haven’t conquered are relationships. Certainly not relationships like we can find at Yale: convenient, fast-paced, uninhibited by over-involved parents (although possibly impeded by homebody roommates or the ever-present circulation of mono) and with people who are just as talented and driven as we are. The potential for these kinds of relationships is a privilege. It also causes a lot of problems.
Just as we look for challenging summer internships and learn to do our own laundry to help us prepare for the “real world,” we engage in sexual or other relationships in college because they are a large part of adult life after the Ivy bubble.
Why else would women subject themselves to pelvic exams, potentially the most frightening experience in the world, were it not for the possibility of great sex? In my twisted little head, at least, the gynecologist resembles a mini Arnold Schwarzenegger, barking commands: “Put yoh feet into da stahrrups. Maybe I vill look at yoh cehvix, or maybe I vill shoot you in da fayce.” Yikes.
The real thing is slightly less militant, but (as illustrated by this fabulous example involving the Governator) sex is a reality of modern life for which we make many sacrifices and even suffer some consequences.
Not that I want to equate sex with a pelvic exam. In fact, I feel very sorry for those of you who do. It’s just that things sexual — like this annual checkup — are an inescapable occurrence and no matter how much we fear it, we’re going to have to deal with sex eventually.
I know and respect many a celibate college student. Some of them are diligent studiers, some don’t like the party scene, and others are just wiser and more hygienic than the rest of us. But the majority of us can’t resist the appeal of the sticky Beta Late Nights, sweaty Toad’s dance parties or the elusive possibility of a meaningful relationship.
Besides my parents’, people’s sex lives should be up to them. At Yale, we may know a lot about philosophy, biology and English, but the subject of sex is more complicated. However much info we’re getting out of Professor Summers’ “Porn in the Morn” lectures, there’s always more to learn — even in those tiny twin beds.
Sarah Minkus would like to apologize for the implication that all gynecologists are Republicans.