As I look back on the three years I’ve spent writing about sex in this prestigious paper, I can’t help but also reflect on the backlash that Sex On Thursday has recieved from angry commenters who think such writing is blasphemy. My second column, Anilingus for Picky Eaters, caused a lot of picky eaters to be upset that steaming filth like my writing could exist in something like The Cornell Daily Sun. Commenters’ fingers were frantic at their keyboards, typing, “This is Ivy League journalism now? We’re all doomed,” “These people are undiluted degenerates” and “That sound you hear is Ezra rolling in his grave.” It was likely alumni commenting on this article who were pretending like they had never swirled their tongue around an erect nipple or railed a congresswoman against a wobbly bedside table. I took a step back and wondered why we, as a society, often consider sex to be a lowbrow topic of literature unworthy of our silver spoon sensibilities.
Many of us have been socialized to see sex as dirty and therefore a trashy subject of creative expression. Without even unpacking why many of us think sex is dirty, the idea that there is lesser or “degenerate” art is actually a Nazi invention. Any art that Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels found unacceptable was dubbed “degenerate,” made by a sick and twisted artist. In Munich, there was even a degenerate art exhibit to perpetuate Nazi values, seperating what was truly German from what was other and considered inferior. Minors weren’t allowed in the exhibit because of its supposed corrupting nature, but it was still visited four times more than The Great German Art Exhibition. It turned out that taboo was popular and interesting, and even an authoritarian regime couldn’t stop people from looking at it. Making people think there is an objective difference between good and bad art is a way of holding power over them through censorship and categorization.
What makes The Sun such a great paper is that it isn’t afraid to give a voice to a degenerate like me, placing sex writing on a pedestal of Ivy. Highbrow can’t exist in a vacuum — it needs sluttiness and debauchery to set it apart with beautiful contrast. Yet, I suggest toppling the hierarchy of taste like the Tower of Babylon. I reached an apex of freedom when I escaped from the perils of taste and prudishness, scrawling the word “penis” as many times as I wanted without the ick of genitalia rattling through my bones. I was freed. No other student newspaper is brave enough to cover the story of what happens in the bedroom, the often unreported stage where so many current events happen, like someone losing their virginity or orgasming for the hundredth time. So many actors strut and fret their hour upon the stage and then are heard no more, a tale told by an idiot like me full of sound and fury signifying nothing — but that’s what life is. Life is one big sex column we’re all writing in our heads.
Still, we treat sex like it’s worthless when it might just be one of the most important things on this planet. It created us, didn’t it? It is the underlying backbone of our reality, propelling forward the gears of evolution for every species. It is a source of unlimited joy and pain for so many people; it is a force of good and evil that turns the fateful gears of our stories. Think about all the decisions you’ve made because sex was involved. Maybe you subconsciously started playing guitar because you knew it might attract a mate like a fly in a bowl of sugar water. Perhaps you shave your legs just in case someone grazes your knee on accident and realizes you’re as smooth as a sultry dolphin.
We can’t stop reading and writing about sex because it is one of life’s great mysteries. Toni Morrison, Kurt Vonnegut, Vladimir Nabokov, all shining stars in Cornell’s sky of authors — they all wrote about butts. Penises. Sex. Definitely in a more subtle fashion than me, but Nabokov’s Lolita is literally about a man’s infatuation with an underage girl. Even if they are controversial, the stories that are important to our cultural canon are the ones that are uncomfortable. We need them so that we can explore the boundaries of our human experience. You can’t do that by only reading the sports section. We need to read about sex to feel something. To think about our place in the world. It is the reason for all storytelling.
Sex is love, sex is power and sex is meaningless all at the same time. The more we explore it, the closer we get to understanding what it means to be trapped in this endlessly horny bag of flesh. To deny that part of us is denying our souls.
I am astounded that, even as my time as a sex columnist comes to an end, I never ran out of things to write about. Sex is infinite. I have an entire list of unused topics with endless possibilities. A few examples include college virginity clubs, what foods to eat for better sperm, domination for dummies, post nut sandess, masturbation procrastination, simply simping and what it’s like to be asexual in a horny world (Any of my successors can pick up these topics and write about them; consider them a parting gift from me.) Even if I no longer have a platform on The Sun, I will spend the rest of my life pondering sex in all its wonderful strangeness. Anya Neeze is not graduating into retirement, she is simply finding a new medium to spout her raunchy ramblings into that great unknown. There will always be sex to write about.
Anya Neeze is a student at Cornell University. Comments can be sent to [email protected]. This is the final installment of their column Boink!.