I am a Yale student who respects diversity of opinion, because a society where the ideals of one can be imposed on another is not a free one. With my love for diversity in mind, I would like to offer a criticism of Undergraduates for a Better Yale College. I may myself be in a committed and sexually exclusive relationship, but because I love Yale, I want to see her flourishing and unconstrained to the sexual practices I prefer and find to be the norm. This is the only position on Yale’s sexual culture consistent with the college’s stated mission of developing students’ “intellectual, moral, civic and creative capacities to the fullest.” It is intellectual in how it compels me to view the world from another perspective, moral in that it compels me to mature as an individual and promote the ideal of personal freedom, and creative because there are lots — and I mean lots — of ways to enjoy sex inside and outside of committed relationships. Undergraduates for a Better Yale’s message is a harmful one, and antithetical to the expressed mission it claims to promote.
If we want to affirm the dignity of all students, let’s respect their decisions and ability to choose and lead their own lifestyle instead of concerning ourselves with their sex lives. Most importantly, let’s promote a campus that has enough humility to admit that even at Yale, I am capable of being wrong, so it would be silly of me to ask everyone else to live the way I think they should. If there is one aspect of other students’ lives in which one should not stick his or her nose, it would be their sex lives.
Contrary to the statement by Undergraduates for a Better Yale College in an ad in Monday’s News, the “No means yes” chants and the complaints that followed clearly demonstrates that something is seriously wrong with Delta Kappa Epsilon’s attitude toward sex, not Yale’s. To take this as a symptom caused by the disease of a culture permitting casual sex rather than a result of the statistical inevitability that, in a student body of 5,000, some people are assholes, is silliness at its finest.
I firmly embrace Yale’s sexual culture (if calling the respect we show an individual’s personal decisions can properly be termed a culture), whether it’s gay sex, committed sex, casual sex or even missionary through a sheet with the lights out. At the age of 18, a college student is old enough to be aware of the consequences of his or her own actions. While casual sex may not be for everyone, thankfully, this is not a lifestyle forced on anyone. There is nothing indecent about any of our sexual urges, and promoting abstinence and labeling sex as self-giving love are perversely disrespectful and even objectify the body more than any casual hook-up culture possibly could. Such terms suggest that you do not own your body, and that it should be treated as something to be sacrificed as a token of your love. This is not a commendable and dignified attitude that leads to a better Yale; it’s a destructive and unhealthy one. I’m not criticizing those who wish to abstain from sex, but rather those that believe casual sex is categorically irresponsible, indecent and disrespectful and advocate spreading these unhealthy ideas about sex.
My sexuality is my own, not a gift to be given or an object to be saved, but something that is to be shared. The choice of who I share this with, be it with the woman I love, or that QPac girl I met at Toad’s my freshman year, is mine, and mine alone.
The sexual revolution and the secularization of society helped us give up demonizing fornicators decades ago. Let’s keep it that way. Because most importantly, Yale should stand for open minds and making progress, not enabling people who are uncomfortable with sexuality to get rid of Sex Week.
Alex Chituc is a junior in Silliman College and president of the Secular Student Alliance at Yale.