MIR ROR 10.19.2016
ELEPHANTS | 2
FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS | 3
GOOD VIBES | 8 TANYA SHAH AND ERIC WANG/THE DARTMOUTH
2// MIR ROR
Elephants Clara imagines what her life will be like in the
When the editors first suggested “sex” as a theme, it was mostly because both had run dry of deep, profound theme ideas. After throwing around increasingly silly article ideas varying in seriousness (one potential survey question simply read, “Anal?”), however, Lauren and Hayley found that there is a lot to explore when it comes to the sex lives of Dartmouth students. The making of this issue involved raising overly personal questions, Lauren’s getting turned away from investigating a sex shop because she didn’t appear to be 18 (she’s still bitter) and Hayley reading her favorite freeresponse survey answers out loud to a fascinated production room. We hope you find this issue thought-provoking or maybe just titillating. Enjoy!
10.19.16 VOL. CLXXIII NO. 132 MIRROR EDITORS HAYLEY HOVERTER & LAUREN BUDD EDITOR-IN-CHIEF REBECCA ASOULIN PUBLISHER RACHEL DECHIARA
EXECUTIVE EDITOR GAYNE KALUSTIAN
By Clara Guo
The year is 2060. I sit in bed, two pillows behind my back, my granddaughter on my lap. I have chosen a new picture book to read out loud in honor of her newly appointed favorite species — elephants. I kiss my granddaughter’s head, her black hair tied in a little ponytail that resembles, astonishingly well, the green Teletubbie’s antenna. “Are you ready for Rosie’s adventure?” I ask, picking up the children’s book. My granddaughter points to Rosie, a baby elephant with larger-than-normal ears and an upraised trunk. She claps and turns her head toward me, muttering a slew of sounds that must mean “elephant!” in baby babble. I applaud her. “You found Rosie!” I turn the page. “Rosie lives with her mom and dad in the savannah.” I point to the trees. “Look, the trees are green. And, look, here is Rosie with her parents.” Page 2. “They live with a lot of other elephants. Rosie’s best friend is Elmo.” How strange, I think to myself, to name an elephant after the red character on Sesame Street. I point to Elmo, ironically fitted with a bright red collar. “One day, Rosie and Elmo decide to play tag.” I make a mental note: ask daughter whether or not her generation played tag during recess. Another mental note: confirm my granddaughter’s future preschool will offer recess. I flip the page. “But, then, they get lost.” My granddaughter murmurs, and I respond with an appropriate cooing. “I know. I can’t believe they get lost either!” According to the next 16 pages, Rosie and Elmo travel far and wide and befriend several other species — a notso-subtle plot highlighting the importance of contact theory. I carry my granddaughter to her crib, rocking her and humming a lullaby without paying attention to cadence or conclusion. After she falls asleep, I walk downstairs to the kitchen, heating water for my nightly dose of green tea. My daughter is sitting in front of her laptop, undoubtedly finishing up work for the week. “Do you want some tea?” I ask.
’ 18: “Every time I go to TDX
I face the church so I can face God and walk backwards into hell.”
“Sure. Green?” I raise my eyebrows. “You’re right. It’s always green.” I wait for the boiling water to cool a few degrees before pouring it in the mini teakettle I bought decades ago from Chinatown in Manhattan. My daughter closes her laptop screen. “Thanks for putting her to bed, Mom.” “Of course. That’s what I’m here for.” I bring the tea over to my daughter and sit down at the kitchen table next to her. “Done with work?” “For today.” We sit in silence, blowing air over the surface of our tea before every sip. “Can I ask you a question, Mom?” “Of course.” “Was it hard growing up as a woman in the early 2000s?” I pause. I wasn’t expecting this question. “I guess it depends on how you’re defining ‘hard.’ We weren’t living in the 1800s, that’s for sure.” “Yes, but you know that’s not what I’m really asking.” I’m not sure what to say. “When I first extensively shadowed a neurosurgeon, I asked him, point-blank, if he thinks the gender ratio will become more equal within my lifetime. He hesitated. He talked about one extremely intelligent female resident. He named all the female neurosurgeons he could think of.” “How many were there?” “Four.” My daughter slowly nods. “Was the hook-up culture big in college?” “Oh, yes. Quite big.” “What was it like?” I shrug. My college memories have long-ago blurred together. “Some onenight stands. Late-night texts. Early morning ‘walks of shame,’ although I must say, I do prefer the term, ‘stride of pride.’ Sometimes, people were embarrassed. Sometimes, people bragged. I guess it varied, depending on who you were and what you were looking for.” “What were you looking for?” I laugh. I should have expected this question. “Fun, at first. Then something more serious, someone whom I could spend hours with in the mornings talking about neuroscience or medicine or books.”
’19 #1: “Let’s go to the Caribbean.” ’19 #2: “Okay, but we need to go somewhere cheap.” ’19 #1: “Can we go to Angola?”
’19: “Man, it is past my bedtime.” (Clock reads 3:31 p.m.)
“Was Dad the ‘something more serious?’” I nod. “Very much so.” I push my chair back and walk to the sink, washing my now-empty mug. “Did I ever tell you about the Dartmouth X?” My daughter shakes her head. “Freshmen girls and senior guys were at the top. High value. Senior girls and freshmen guys were at the bottom. Middle of the X occurred during sophomore summer — guys and girls were ‘equal.’” My daughter’s mouth hangs open in disbelief. I walk back to my seat. “We had ‘Beer Fridays’ every week during my internship over junior summer, open to the whole firm. Near the end of my internship, a few of us were drinking in the innovation room, on beer number two or three, and, somehow, the Dartmouth X came up. The group at that point was composed of all associate consultants and senior associate consultants. Most of us were Dartmouth students or recent grads. We talked about the X with acceptance, not because we believed in a decrease in ‘value’ for females, but because of other factors, like a decrease in effort. Maybe college had taught us to be unabashedly ourselves, and maybe that manifested as a striking self-confidence. Maybe it was more concretized friend groups that curtailed branching out. Maybe, simply, more of us were taken. None of us wanted to touch on the elephant in the room — that, maybe, senior girls are at the bottom because of the same reason senior guys are at the top. But before arguments could erupt, before we could consider all possible explanations, we unanimously agreed to change the subject. We agreed that the X is ‘silly,’ that no one believes in it or acts on it. It simply exists, a remnant of decades past.” My daughter interjects. “But that was the issue, wasn’t it? Its existence.” “Yes,” I affirm. “Its existence and its pervasiveness.” My daughter finishes her tea. “Do you think my daughter — your granddaughter — will have to deal with that?” “With double standards?” She nods once.
’ 19: “I’m not crazy.
I love myself.”
’ 18: “What sad movie
is this from, ‘Shrek?’’”
Friends with Benefits By Ali Hagen STORY
College students are typically familiar with the term “friends with beneﬁts,” yet their speciﬁc deﬁnitions often vary. Most frequently, this type of relationship is labeled as a “thing,” indicating that it exists somewhere between platonic friendship and dating but does not warrant a more oﬃcial label. Max Farrens ‘20 described this as a relationship between two people who already know each other who share experiences of friendship and sex, but do not combine the two, keeping the relationship platonic and non-romantic. “It’s something that continues along in two diﬀerent lines: There’s a time where they’re doing sexual
things and times where they’re not, and somehow those are not related.” There are many reasons why students speciﬁcally seek this type of relationship. Josh Perez ’17 said he ﬁnds that these can include trouble with past relationships or avoidance of commitment. “Friends with beneﬁts, to me, is often times either showing that you are insecure with communicating about what’s important to you in a relationship or that you haven’t thought much about what you need or that you’re so ﬁxated on your current position that you don’t want to go through the process of being accountable to somebody else,” he said.
Both Perez and Ezekiella Carlos ’19 expressed that the D-Plan aﬀects the prevalence of friends with beneﬁts relationships at Dartmouth. Perez explained that since students often spend time with diﬀerent people during diﬀerent terms, short term relationships are very common. Furthermore, Carlos believes that the way the D-Plan works makes “hookup culture” pervasive and a reason that “friends with beneﬁts relationships should thrive at Dartmouth.” In some cases, however, students form these relationships without even an initial or continuous friendship. Carlos refers to this arrangement as “acquaintances with beneﬁts.” “Friends with beneﬁts is also
TRENDING something that is inevitable since this school is so small and everyone knows everyone, or everyone is separated by at most two degrees,” he said. “I think that at least acquaintances with beneﬁts thrives at this school because everyone knows everyone and I feel like you will absolutely see your hookups around.” Stereotypes suggest that men prefer friends with beneﬁts relationships more than women do since women value emotional connections more, while men value physicality. However, looking further into the matter can reveal that these stereotypes are not always true. “I think it’s a very antiquated stereotype,” Perez said. “Is it applicable in many cases? Yes, but it doesn’t have to be a part of the gender binary. You’ll also ﬁnd women, my friend included, who are very sexually active and that’s what she wants, while I would much prefer to have a single partner.” Students often ﬁnd that one of the most diﬃcult parts of a friends with beneﬁts relationship is the struggle for both participants to have the exact same expectations for the relationship and to communicate these expectations clearly. “Things like hookups, friends with beneﬁts, things like that, only have a shot at being somewhat eﬀective if there’s open communication, which sounds really lame and unsexy, but it only works when there’s a clear understanding of what each party is hoping to gain out of it,” Farrens said. “And that’s way easier said than done.” While movies suggest that friends with beneﬁts relationships are temporary and bound to result in romance, students ﬁnd that they may not last for other reasons. “Friends with beneﬁts can absolutely be healthy, but with any relationship you have to be honest and upfront with your feelings,” Perez said. “It’s totally ﬁne if that’s what you and the other person are comfortable with and you’ve communicated that clearly, but to be honest the point where you’ve communicated clearly with somebody else, to me, it’s beyond a friends with beneﬁts relationship, you just haven’t really put a label on it.” In the end, these relationships, especially in college, can be extremely complex and each person experiences them diﬀerently.. “As much as college students would like to believe that we’re purely physical animals, we have emotions,” Farrens said. “Normally society would say women are emotional, men are physical, but I feel like here, everyone attempts to be purely physical, completely cut oﬀ and ﬁne moving on after doing these things. And we need to realize sometimes that’s not the case.”
Most of us were too hung over to get out of bed that day.
Standing room only for several hours, and he didn’t even bring his saxophone.
You don’t like hiking, you like getting a lot of Instagram likes.
THE BEST BIGS EVER Sorry, what’s your name again?
Collis specials never looked so bomb.
Let’s talk about sex, baby. We sent out a survey to campus that asked for some very up close and personal information. This article is drawn from a survey conducted by Pulse — an online survey platform designed to collect and share student public opinion. The survey was sent out to 2,017 randomly selected students by email from Oct. 14 to 16. Four-hundred fifteen students or 21 percent of the students participated. We asked students about the age they had sex for the first time and other questions about sex. These answers have been edited and condensed for clarity. Here are some of the most compelling answers we got from you.
Describe your sex life in five words. When you least expect it. What sex life? Inversely related to midterms. Like porn in real life. With my boyfriend and safe. Swug life sent it downhill. Quirky, sporty, chill. Frequent with same person. I’m married. Have regular sex with my husband never less frequently than once per week. Active, robust. A series of unfortunate events. Aroused. Stable, loving, passionate, respectful, rejuvenating. Mostly oral. Meep/its been a minute. Pretty dope, TBH. Infrequency because unsatisfactory, also reverse. Randos do it better. Not very active. Just with my boyfriend. Weird. Loving, warm, and respectful. Casual or serious, no in-between. Only in a relationship. Picky. In a tight spot. Empty. Sparse. Sex is fun. Nonexistent. I don’t get laid fam. Not interested in casual sex. Relatively normal. Long-term, long-distance relationship. Emotionally-driven. Frustrating, one-sided, uninteresting. Relationships are nice. Frequent and fun. With my partner. Committed long distance relationship. Completely open. Relationships with friends/partners. Infrequent, one partner. Mediocre. In a relationship. Healthy, safe, exciting, loving. Monogamous. Protected, active. Sex with my boyfriend only. Swug. Fun, convenient, intimate, stress relief. Safe and fun no strings . Nonexistent at the moment. Nice but yikes. Not much to it, unfortunately. Nonexistent currently. Exploratory. Monogamous, long-term relationship, loving. Interspersed, tame, willing to try. Can’t complain. Expression of intimacy, not lust. Fine! Healthy. Spur of moment and sporadic. Infrequent but rewarding. Hook ups and search for connection. It is fantastic and hot. Unfulfilling. Inactive. Infrequent but very pleasant. Meaningful or random. A mess. Pretty chill. Bad at Dartmouth. A tad confusing. Not a thing right now. Strictly oral. Dormant but open. Looking for meaning. Getting better. Non existent at Dartmouth. Ecstatic. Creative, frequent, committed partner. Dartmouth isn’t the place or time. Self-reflective in relation to boundaries. Lots of love, orgasms, threesomes. Respectful and meaningful. On my terms. Fun, free, no strings, infrequent. Only with someone I love. It used to be great. Pretty average. They come back for more. Exciting and tiring. Infrequent hookups. Sex with girlfriend every day. Adventurous, satisfying, confident. Fun for everyone. My right hand. Stable. Inventive and monogamous. Love and intimacy in relationship. Like a box of chocolates. We bone super often bro. Waiting for the right person. Occurring in monogamous relationships only. Sex life linked to romantic. Normal, loving, relaxed, un-pressurized. Fun. Good, lacking, content, semi satisfied. I’m all in. Who else? Comfortable, safe, exclusive, fun, thriving. RIP. Kinky, different, occasional experiences. Fun, free, crazy no regrets. Committed long distance relationship; fulfilling. Not active. Haven’t been with anyone here. Equal parts hilarious and tragic. Blah. Monogamous, committed, emotional, tender, wholesome. Long-distance monogamy. Sleep with friends not randos. Solid but inconsistent. Difficult and awkward. Standard. Non-existent until marriage. Emotionally and physically fulfilling. Very fun. Always with my girlfriend luckily. Hype. Infrequent but passionate. Adequate. Stellar. Just happens. When it rains, it pours. Grim. Dry. Detached and relatively meaningless. Hesitant but want to feel loved. Amazing. Never experienced. Impulsive, unattached, fun. Just figuring it out. Great when I’m not here. Quiet these days. Free, empowering, fun, hilarious, open. Active, safe, protected. I have absolutely no idea. Very inactive. Nonexistent by choice. It’s been awhile. Ideally free but actually guarded. Pretty good, not good enough. Lonely. Somewhat existent, though barely. Hot and a lot. Limited. Cyber. All about my partner’s pleasure. Dominated by a hookup culture. Now that I am in a committed relationship my sex life is less exciting. Very bad. Fun but unsatisfying long-term.Satisfying, adventurous, sensual, enjoyable, fun. One partner at a time.
Let’s talk about you and me. Tell us a sex story. I had a one night stand on a helicopter pad on top of an LA skyscraper. Had sex on the kitchen table and then had dinner with his dad for the ﬁrst time at the table a few hours later. Playing truth or dare. Got locked out of hotel room naked. Had to walk to lobby in a towel to get a key. Girlfriend told me to tie her up with the understanding that I knew nothing about tying any kind of knot. Did my best to tie her wrists to the bedpost and had no idea that I almost managed to knot a decent handcuﬀ knot. Spent 10 minutes in her room trying to ﬁgure out how to undo the knot without resorting to using scissors. When I was in high school and started having sex, I was so worried about getting pregnant so I wouldn’t let my boyfriend put it all the way in for a long time and actually I’m really not sure when I technically lost my virginity. I had sex in a canoe. Hooked up with someone in a classroom on an FSP. I had an Oxbridge threesome with a guy I was into and his best friend, thanks to Four Loko. I once had sex on a bridge in a park during the day. Literally 2 seconds after we ﬁnished and pulled our pants up, a group of people from our school came walking around the bend onto the bridge. Almost got caught by my drill instructor having sex in the stacks. Once got a mascara tube put up my ass and then she lost grip of it. He had a daddy kink and I was not into it so I left. Realizing door was ajar and window open after having sex One time I had a foursome? That’s not that weird. One time I secretly had sex in my grandma’s hot tub, that was weird. umm one time I had sex while camping and we realized halfway through that the light was on in the tent so everyone outside could see what was going on, that was a pretty fun time. My boyfriend and I were having shower sex in the male bathroom on his ﬂoor, and some guy knocked on the door and asked if we were almost done. We ﬁgured he would leave and come back, so we ﬁnished. Nope, he was still there right outside the shower, and that was the real walk of shame. Finals streakers are the closest I’ve ever gotten to real naked women. My boyfriend came over after a week of my being sick. Us being sex deprived, things started heating up pretty quickly. We were both down to underwear, and I was on top of him on the bed. Just as I started kissing my way down his chest, a sneeze came out of no where and BURST out of my face. And then another one came. And another one. And another one. They were uncontrollable. The sneezes were so hard, that I think I gave myself mild whiplash in the process. By the end of my sneeze attack, I had sneezed eleven times. There was disgusting face juice all over my face, my boyfriend’s face, both of our naked upper bodies, the sheets, the wall behind his head... everywhere. Luckily, my boyfriend was wonderful about it. He just cleaned himself oﬀ, helped clean me oﬀ, put me to bed, and disinfected everything within a 6 foot radius. I once had a rad sexcapade through my boyfriends house (and on the patio) where we had sex on as many weird pieces of furniture as we could. I have no idea why that family has a cheetah print love seat, but I deeply (ha, I’m so punny) appreciate it. Had a 3 hour Tinder conversation with someone about their foot fetish. Sociologically fascinating. ALEXANDER AGADJANIAN/THE DARTMOUTH STAFF
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Good Vibes Only
We asked a reluctant writer to go to Un-Dun, a sex shop in West Lebanon. The rest is history. COLUMN
By Cristian Cano
“Adult Novelties.” These are the words displayed on the windows of Un-Dun, a self-described “18+ specialty store” in West Lebanon. Notably, a white curtain conceals the contents of the store from the parking lot. To discover what lies within, one needs to go inside. On Monday afternoon, I visited UnDun alongside Mirror editor Lauren Budd ‘18 and photo editor Tiffany Zhai ‘18. As soon as we stepped out of the car, I couldn’t help but feel embarrassed. I don’t usually picture myself when I imagine the stereotypical customer of adult novelty stores, or, euphemisms aside, sex shops. The older, long-haired men smoking cigarettes in the parking lot only reinforced this stereotype. After taking a deep breath, I walked through the front door, unsure what to expect. Once we entered, the woman at the front register asked for our governmentissued IDs. Unfortunately, Lauren had forgotten her driver’s license on campus, and the woman was unable to accept her Dartmouth student ID. Crestfallen, she had no choice to wait outside as Tiffany and I continued onward to uncharted territory. We passed through the alcoholic drinks and smoking paraphernalia sections of Un-Dun before finally arriving at the adult novelty section in the very back. My first thoughts: This wasn’t what I had expected. Perhaps because of media influence, I had prepared myself for a hazy, dim room in the basement with some sketchy vibes. In front of me, however, was a well-lit room with light music playing in the background. Had it not been for the actual goods on sale, I could have mistaken the store for any
other. The topic of sex toys undoubtedly makes me uncomfortable, especially since it’s not something that’s often discussed openly. As I browsed through the aisles, I was unsure how to feel. Instinctually, I experienced some shame about my very presence in the store, but my rational mind assured me that there was nothing wrong with going to a sex shop. There was certainly nothing wrong with purchasing sex toys, either, and I knew that I was only nervous because of some arbitrary taboo. I decided that the first step to dispelling this taboo around sex toys was to take a closer look at what exactly was being sold. Of course, a myriad of artificial genitalia in a variety of shapes and sizes lined the racks. Some were certainly of gargantuan proportions, including one phallic accessory longer than my arm and another that was double-sided. One was even rainbow colored in the spirit of LGBTQ+ Pride. The female anatomy was definitely wellrepresented as well; one such device was themed “Sorority Sister,” although I’m not sure how sexual organs correlate with one’s Greek affiliation. Other toys included the discreetlynamed “self-massagers,” a variety of handcuffs and spanking paddles and even dice (for what I can only imagine is some kind of foreplay board game). There was also a collection of DVDs separated into different categories, such as “Asian,” “Family Role Play 2” and “Mean Midget.” I’m not sure which category made me the most uncomfortable, but I reminded myself that people are entitled to their own preferences, and I’m certainly in no place to cast judgement.
Around this time, I overheard one customer speaking to another: “Come look at the arma-dildo.” For better or for worse, I didn’t get the chance to see it for myself. In addition to sex toys, the shop sold several interesting items. A birthday card rack was located right in the middle of the shop; the cards were perfectly normal, like one would find in a grocery store, although I wasn’t sure what to make of the age range of the cards, which went up to “Happy 75th Birthday!” I was also amused to find edible goods in the store, including genitalia-shaped pasta and similarly-shaped gummy candies. After looking through the entire shop, I mustered up the courage to ask one of the employees a few questions about the store. When I asked her approximately how many customers visit in a single day, she told me that they usually had around 40 to 50 sales a day, but because many customers visit in groups, the actual number of people entering the store could be as high as one hundred each day. In response to being asked if customers are usually embarrassed or confident, she said that generally half of the customers seem embarrassed, while the other half do not. She noted that while many customers might seem more sheepish when they walk in for the first time, she and the other employees try their best to make them feel more comfortable. She said she is more than willing to guide people through the store if they’re unsure what they should be looking for, which can vary greatly due to the diversity of customers. She has seen customers as young as 18 years old — which is the legal minimum
age to enter the store — and as old as 80. While the DVDs are usually more popular with older men, she explained, there is otherwise no real pattern between age and preferences. Out of curiosity, I asked her if she had a favorite item in the store, and she said the bullet, a small type of vibrator. She described how many women are looking for something small, unique, cheap and powerful — and the bullet fits all of those criteria. While my initial experience was foreign and, at times, scary, her casual demeanor really helped me to normalize the concept. Sex is already an uncomfortable topic for many people to discuss, myself included, but we have to discuss it. If we don’t, then others may begin to feel ashamed of their sexuality. Thankfully, there’s never been a time where sexuality — in all its complexity — has been embraced more, but there is still much work to do. Even as I began to write this article, I was reluctant to recount my experience at Un-Dun, fearing that others would see me differently after reading it. But this is exactly the stigma that we have to destroy, and if this article helps normalize some aspect of sexuality ever so slightly, then I have done my job right. One of the last questions I asked was if there were any common misconceptions that people have about sex shops. She then went out to list the same incorrect beliefs that I had before coming in: that a sex shop was a dark, sketchy atmosphere where people averted their eyes from the back wall. Thankfully, Un-Dun proved me, and hopefully many others, wrong. As the cashier put it so well: “We try not to have that vibe. Pun unintended.”
TIFFANY ZHAI/THE DARTMOUTH SENIOR STAFF