Courtesy of Zoe Ferguson '17

Harris ’17 and Boucaud ’17 encourage “sexual empowerment” in "...& Sex."

September 21, 2016

STUDENT STORIES | Students Promote Sex Positivity in New Podcast

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Aiming to inspire “sexual empowerment” on campus, two Cornell students launched a podcast this month entitled “…& Sex: Any Person, Any Position” — a new forum for an honest and humorous conversation about the many forms sex takes at Cornell.

Hannah Harris ’17, creator of the podcast “…& Sex,” said she was inspired to start a positive conversation about sex on campus after becoming a self-proclaimed devotee of “Guys We F**ked, The Anti Slut-Shaming Podcast” — a project begun on SoundCloud in Dec. 2013 by two female comedians based in New York City.

“Guys We F**ked” inspired Harris to talk to her roommates about sex, which she said was a critical step in the formation of “…& Sex” because “people really don’t talk about their actual sex lives.”

Gerrard Boucaud ’17, Harris’ co-host, said he felt “tension” when talking to friends about sex. He added that he would like to increase open discussion about sex among students.

“On our campus in general, people kind of hide what they want,” Boucaud said. “Feeling the need to express yourself should be something encouraged, not something bad.”

The first two episodes of the podcast, which aired this month, included discussions of virginity, bisexuality, and the sexual implications of mixers. Each episode features an interviewee conversing with Harris and Boucaud in a casual, unscripted dialogue. Guests who wish to remain anonymous are interviewed under pseudonyms. They exchange personal stories of sexual encounters of every flavor — failed, successful, anecdotal and informative.

Harris and Boucaud said they believe sex positivity is especially important on campus, because of the introduction of sex as a major social factor in college life. Harris called empowerment the “biggest thing” she wants people to take from this podcast.

“A lot of people lose their virginities in college, and it’s so important for women and men alike to feel empowered and to know their intentions before going into situations,” Harris said. “The only way to do that is if there is communication and conversation.”

While Harris described “hook-up culture” as a popular “distraction from stress and life,” Boucaud added that many Cornell students, especially freshmen, can find the pursuit of a partner frustrating.

“What’s stressful about sex to most people is getting it,” Boucaud said. “You’re trying to find your place, trying to come off as cool, and that stresses people out a lot, trying to find that person that’s willing to have sex with you.”

Harris echoed this sentiment, saying the vast size of Cornell’s campus can make finding a sexual partner or relationship “really difficult,” especially outside Greek life.

“At Cornell I think it’s hard [to date] because of lack of resources and lack of time,” she said. “I think it’s easier to bootycall.”

Though Boucaud and Harris envision “…& Sex” primarily as a venue for entertainment, they said they also aim to educate students across campus.

“We’re just two people with a very small amount of experience,” Harris said, voicing her concern that popular media depicts a largely “heteronormative,” “male-centered” image of sex. She said students from all sexual backgrounds are encouraged to join the podcast as guests.

Although all the guests so far have been students, Harris said a sex educator will appear on “… & Sex” to discuss pleasure within the next three weeks.

Both hosts said the podcast medium offers specific advantages. As an aural medium, the podcast is available for students to listen privately, Harris said, “wherever, whenever.” Boucaud said four friends had testified to listening to the podcast while showering.

For future episodes, which they hope to continue throughout the academic year, Boucaud and Harris emphasized the vitality of student participation in the show.

“I want people to give us ideas,” Harris said. “There could be so many questions I’ve never even thought of.”

New episodes of “…& Sex” premiere every Friday on SoundCloud under Harris’ channel, AnyPersonAnyPosition.