Get thee to a nunnery!

Gillian Seaman, The Rational Component

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Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex.

Everyone’s giggles out? Alright. So the topic of today’s column will be, you guessed it, sex.

And it is times like these, when I am grateful my grandmother is afraid of the internet and only reads the columns I send her via snail mail. I do not think her WASPy, octogenarian heart would be able to handle that I am mentioning the SEX. But then again, as the case of Duke graduate Karen Owen illustrates, the inability for people to have a sex positive discussion extends beyond our grandparents.

Now, Karen Owen decided to create a PowerPoint presentation depicting her sexual conquests. She then proceeded to e-mail this PowerPoint to her (presumably now former) friends, who then forwarded this project to others. Suddenly, her joke thesis project is being splashed across dozens of websites and her life is destroyed.

I do not question the clear lack of intelligence that went into making this project and emailing it to people. Every female knows that you cannot trust your female friends. Ever. Haven’t chick flicks and literature taught my generation anything? Clearly identifying the guys with photos and names was also highly stupid. Lambasting Owen for naming the men she had sex with and providing pictures is thus perfectly reasonable.

What I find objectionable is the derisive dialogue that has surrounded her decision to have sex with multiple partners. Karen Owen had sex with at least 13 men according to the PowerPoint. I see no inherent problem with that. Owen was simply exercising her freedom to have sex.

But others seem to take definite issue with Owen’s sexual choices. Donna Rice Hughes commented on Today that Owen’s behavior is a reflection that there seems to be “a lack of modesty or discretion even among our girls,” she said. She also stated that Owen’s serves as an example that parents need to instill morals and values when there bombarded by a “sexualized” culture.

Again, I freely admit the whole “Let’s turn my sexcapades into a PowerPoint” plan was beyond stupid. But if we’re going to vilify Owen, let it be for her decision to broadcast her partners’ private information over the internet, not for her choice to have sex in the first place. As Rich Hughes comments illustrate, it appears people are having a definite issue with separating the two problems at hand. Indeed, Owen’s sexual activities are being cast as repugnant as her decision to make the infamous Powerpoint, which is simply ridiculous

Besides the fact that not even a fraction of this coverage has ever been focused upon a man engaging in sexual banter regarding previous partners, depicting people who enjoy having sex as somehow the result of moral failings doesn’t do anyone any good. According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2009, 46 percent of high school students had engaged in sexual activities. The sex positive approach to dealing with this would be to have an open dialogue with students about the acknowledgement that people do have sex, here’s how you can protect yourself, and it’s alright to actually enjoy it. But how can we encourage a positive and open dialogue about when a person’s choice to have sex is subject to such derision?

People have sex. Many people will have sex with multiple partners. Some people enjoy casual sex. Sex is not the result of individual moral failings. These are things that people need to come to terms with.

As for Owen, well she’s still an idiot. I read the PowerPoint. The men who she listed will presumably never forgive her for what she’s done and will take everything but her bones when they go to court.

But I will defend to the death her right to have sex with as many people as she wants without her actions being defined as somehow repugnant.

Even though she’s still a tool.