Sex Talk

Why a College Level Sex Column?

Question from a University of Maine male ssophomore wants to know: Why do you think a sex column like this necessary on the college-level?

Dr. Caron's Answer: Contrary to the widely held belief that college students know all there is to know about sex and despite the widely available sexual literature and explicit sex on television and in popular films, the fact is that many students of college age know very little about their own sexuality. While some are reasonably knowledgeable and comfortable about their sexuality, others, far more typically, are not. In fact, they are often embarrassed by what they perceive as their excessive ignorance, and fear ridicule if they openly seek the information they need.

While today's college students struggle with ignorance, misperceptions, doubts and fears about themselves and others just as much and just as painfully as their parents did, there is a major difference. Today's young adults are growing up in a society that permits more open discussion of sexual topics than was likely in preceding generations. Today we are more knowledgeable about our bodies, about psychological processes, and about the interplay of emotion and body, and about social processes than ever before. In addition, we live in an information age in which access to accurate information is relatively easy. But access is one thing, understanding is another. The problem today is more likely to be finding that which is significant among the overabundance of facts rather than gaining access to information itself. Few sexual topics are in "taboo closets" anymore. Many young people feel more distressed by overexposure and inept handling of sensitive subjects than by prohibitions.

© 2007, Sandra L. Caron

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It is not sex that gives the pleasure, but the lover. - Marge Piercy

American teens have the worst of all worlds...Our children are bombarded and confronted with sexual messages, sexual exploitation, and all manner of sexual criticism. But our society is by and large sexually illiterate. Faye Westheimer

Dr. Sandra L. Caron is a professor of human sexuality at the University of Maine. To submit a question to Dr. Caron or chat with your peers visit Got a question for Dr. Caron? Visit and ask away! Get a guaranteed personal and confidential response to your question: or E-Mail

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