A candy heart-covered nipple doesn’t hold the same sweet appeal to all who cross its path, according to a recent (mildly outraged) letter to the editor entitled “Gaucho Porn?” in the Santa Barbara Sentinel.
Last week, Ms. Ann Fox, an impassioned Sentinel reader, came upon the scene of a flustered mother “stammering to explain” the Nexus’ sex column, the “Wednesday Hump,” to her 6-year-old daughter. The Hump’s complementary “Sex Position of the Week” apparently caught the eye of her curious kid. To the 6-year-old who got “the talk” a little prematurely, we are sorry. (To her future self, however, you’re welcome. You have a lot to look forward to.)
In our defense, the Nexus is not supposed to be distributed at the Mesa Café, the site of the Incident. Quite frankly, we don’t know why our “college rag” (in the words of Ms. Fox) was there that day. The “Wednesday Hump” is intended for the college-aged and was not created with 6-year-olds in mind.
We’ll skip the First Amendment babble. Obviously our publication takes this right very seriously, and we exercise it daily. The “Wednesday Hump” is a long-standing Nexus tradition and is often accompanied by article-related illustrations depicting, well, humping.
Ms. Fox is right in that as a newspaper, we do have certain moral and intellectual responsibilities to consider. Yet we also must cater to the diverse interests of our constituents: primarily college students. Sex, as it happens, is one of those interests. Given our demographic, the “Wednesday Hump” has unsurprisingly been wildly popular since its inception a decade ago, and we see no reason in blue-balling this column: We haven’t ridden it this hard every Wednesday for years just to “put it away wet.” After all, we wouldn’t want any of our Hump-ers to leave unsatisfied — as long as the sex discussed and depicted is between two consenting adults.
We don’t print the Hump just to be crude. We do it to foster an environment of sexual acceptance, openness and awareness. Many students begin their college journeys with limited knowledge about sex in general, much less the alternative sexual practices often discussed in the Hump. Growing up, their sexual questions and curiosities may have been met with the same tongue-tied, awkward responses as that one witnessed by Ms. Fox at the Mesa Café.
Part of being a standout Opinion section involves publishing pieces on controversial topics. Where the “Wednesday Hump” is concerned, this sometimes means pushing the envelope with articles covering subjects from anal sex to S&M fetishes. Other times it means running articles on the how-to’s of dating (which was the subject of the “Wednesday Hump” edition that our concerned citizen and author of the Sentinel letter objected to). In sum, our work in the Opinion section is to inform and inspire, but definitely not to censor.
Liv Cvitanic and Tiare Hoegerman are Opinion Co-Editors at the Daily Nexus.