Silencing sexual rumors

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September 2, 2008

8:54 PM

Welcome back to Williamsburg, loyal readers. I hope all of your summers were hot, wild and completely condom-covered. To start off the year, I thought I’d write about sexual gossip. We’re all back in the ’Burg and, except for a few of you early birds, most of us haven’t begun seeking out partners yet. The rumor mill is dry, and, though some things are awesome when they’re wet, I’d rather keep the rumor mill the way it is.

To varying degrees, people define themselves based upon their sexuality, sexual choices and sexual prowess. Sex is a natural part of one’s identity. For example, I had a friend in high school that prided herself on giving the second-best blowjobs in the student body.

Rumors have the power to distort our sexual images based on the way others see us and the way we see ourselves. Heaven forbid a guy told my friend she only gave the fourth-best blowjobs in the school; she would have been devastated. And even if she did actually give the second-best head, it wouldn’t have mattered — the rumor would still have been out there.

A recent example of sexual gossip concerns a man who’s made a few guest appearances in my dreams: Mr. John Edwards. After news of his affair with Rielle Hunter hit the stands, his political career took a turn for the worse. A “family values” man with a former mistress? Talk about taking a blow to public sexual persona.

Of course there are many other examples of political sex scandals: Bill Clinton, Eliot Spitzer and Gary Hart, to name a few. All of these rumors, which were eventually confirmed, had wide-reaching impacts on the figures involved.

Maybe we don’t feel bad for those men. But what about rumors that cannot be definitely proved? The Duke lacrosse scandal, the child molestation allegations against Michael Jackson and whispers that Zac Efron is gay (say it ain’t so!) were all damaging despite their questionable validity.

These stories change not only the public perception of the people involved but can also alter the way they feel about themselves.
Getting these stories out into the open can sometimes have a positive effect. What if an adulterous woman vows never to cheat again? But sadly, they most always tend to have a negative effect.

A man accused of being gay might decide to end any friendships with homosexuals; a woman rumored to be bad in bed might decide to avoid further sexual contact.

Here at the College of William and Mary, thankfully, we don’t have full media coverage of our sexual lives. But, at a small-sized college like ours, rumors can still be far-reaching and harmful. With only 5,700 students — all hand-picked for their sexual abilities — a juicy rumor can easily spiral out of control. J.T.’s date, anyone?

Admittedly, there will always be gossip. Let’s be honest with ourselves, there’s not much else to do in the ’Burg. But there’s something to be said for keeping our sexual experiences behind closed doors.

Therefore, I propose a solution to the boredom that brings about gossip: sex. What else? It’s just what the doctor ordered.
Instead of sitting in your dorms murmuring over who likes fish tacos or about how many members of the student body have penetrated your resident assistant, get out there and make some news of your own. As long as you stay true to your own sexual self-image (don’t cheat if you think you’re honest; don’t kiss girls if you say you’re a straight woman), there’s no harm in exploring the sexual fantasyland that is our campus.

Even if sex won’t solve the problem — if you ask me, a pure hypothetical — still try to refrain from sexual rumor-mongering. Who cares if you can hear your suitemate’s girlfriend making animal noises through the wall? We all do weird things. You wouldn’t want everyone to hear about that one time you accidentally called a girl “Mom” between the sheets, now would you?

So let’s wipe the slate clean. Start the year with the gossip buzz at a minimum and the bedroom moans at a maximum. Welcome back.

Maya Horowitz is the Flat Hat sex columnist. She secretly master-minds the campus’s hottest sexual gossip.

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