Closing the door one last time

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May 1, 2007

3:17 AM

With graduation rapidly approaching, I’ve been accumulating lasts. My last field trip for class. My last research paper. Last ultimate frisbee tournament. This week (I’m still not sure about what day), we have our last Blowout. And, inevitably, this is my last sex column. How can I say everything I need to say? If I tried to give advice, I might never stop writing. So instead, I’ll climb down from my soapbox and tell you a story.

p. Once upon a time, a little freshman in Monroe decided that it would be funny to apply to be the sex columnist. I told my parents I was writing a relationship column. They remained in blissful ignorance until a certain professor anonymously sent them several of my more scandalous columns: “Bondage for beginners,” “Halloween themed sex positions” and “Why women should masturbate.”

p. He also sent a note that suggested I was putting myself in danger on campus by being a public symbol of sexuality, and that I needed to learn that love should come first. Aside from that fact that he didn’t know shit about what I knew about love, it was a low, sneaky blow in the fight to stop this column and this sex-positive dialogue, and it almost worked. My parents flipped out and I fumed with rage that a professor could behave so childishly as to tattle to my parents.

p. Luckily, most of the campus stood up for me after I wrote a column about the incident. People stopped me in the Sunken Garden and at the University Center, aghast at what had happened and supportive of my writing. So many people thanked me for writing as openly as I did that I gave up any notions of quitting. Sure, there have also been a few protests, letters to the editor and personal hate mail, and occasionally when I lived on campus, a few obscene late-night phone calls, which I was never sure if I should take as compliment or criticism. Damn, time has flown since then.

p. I realized that I had truly established myself at the start of sophomore year, when The Pillory printed a two-page spread mocking me and my column. At first I wanted to cry; they were being so mean to me. Then it occurred to me that if they wasted two pages on me, I must be pretty famous (and it was kind of funny). Since then, I’ve loved writing this column — it gives me an excuse to ask people ridiculously personal questions whenever I feel like it, and they usually answer.

p. Most of the time, I’ve felt like my writing hasn’t had much of an effect on my private life, but when it has, it’s usually hilarious. Like the couple who sat down next to me (not friends, mind you, strangers) late one night at a party and said, “Hey — you’re the sex columnist, right? We need your help.” Awkward. “He wants to have butt sex, and I don’t, what should we do?” Damn. Really awkward. The answer, for the record, is to make a deal that if he’s going to put it in your butt, you get to put a similarly sized dildo in his — that usually brings the conversation to a level playing field.

p. I hate to end with a long list of thank yous, but they are more than overdue. I’d like to thank my trusted illustrator, Julia Snyder, who has been drawing scantily clad people in awkward situations for me since we first had the idea back in the fall of freshman year. Thanks to The Flat Hat for full license to operate under my discretion, as long as we didn’t do anything literally pornographic, and standing by me through the Homecoming S&M column scandal, among other things. Thanks to the ultimate team, my Monroe hallmates, the lifeguards and anyone else who’s been dragged into sex column conversations — you’ve been great fun.

p. This is like goodbye sex, I guess: bittersweet. Not the goodbye sex that was also hello sex — those brief experiences don’t count in this category. I’m worried about this sex — the end of relationship sex, the we’re graduating, we’re moving apart, we’re taking a break for the summer, we have both come to terms with the fact that our relationship is doomed, let’s end it with a bang of passion sex. Goodbye sex is hot because it’s emotional: happy and sad, distract-yourself-from-your-feelings-with-your-body kind of sex.

p. You honor the best of what you had because, damn, for a while there it was really good and you’ll never forget it. You focus on creating those memories to carry on: the smell of her hair, the smooth skin on his stomach, the way her breasts bounce when she’s on top, the look in his eyes just before climax. With real goodbye sex, you’re together, but already apart, too — in your mind and your memories. So, if you’re smart, you’ll make the most of your goodbye sex these next few weeks, walking away from a climax that you both know is closure. You savor every moment on the way there, because when it’s over, it’s over, and you know it.

p. __Kate Prengaman is the sex columnist for The Flat Hat. She’s secretly enjoyed fielding your awkward sex questions.__

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