Blog U › 
New Free Sex Sale!
March 20, 2007 - 1:24am


That’s the headline of the world’s most successful advertisement, regardless of product—or would be, if someone had the courage to use it, said one of my former roommates, the director of a corporate art department. Well, now it’s been done.

The title of the student-run sex fair here at Hinterland last week was only slightly less attention-grabbing—something along the lines of Screaming Sex!—and I knew I had a professional responsibility to take a look. The thought of being paid to be whimsical made me so happy I stopped on the way to buy a double-decker chocolate ice cream cone with little caramel candies in it. It was a beautiful spring day, the first after weeks of subzero temps and nearly two feet of snow, and I told the server I’d like to buy everyone behind me in line whatever they wanted. [ Churm: Is this the item on your expense account labeled “Lunch w/Interview Subject”? Please call me! –Ed.]

Screaming Sex! was actually just two dozen drab booths lined up in one end of a campus ballroom. Planned Parenthood was represented, as was the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender student group, the National Organization for Women, and the Disability Sex people in their power wheelchairs (“Surprised?” their poster said). An uncomfortable-looking priest sat alone behind a card table at Sex is for Marriage. Every booth had promotional literature of varying quality and a fishbowl or basket of free condoms (except the priest’s).

I walked around among young feminists in headscarves, a group of young Indian guys looking curious but scared, and young couples strolling along arm-in-arm like they were shopping at the supermarket. I felt a little self-conscious of being a middle-aged guy licking an ice cream cone that was dripping down my fingers, so I smiled at everyone a lot with chocolate-stained teeth. But there were creepier people, such as the old man with scraggly white hair staffing the BDSM (Bondage, Domination, Sadism, Masochism) booth. He wasn’t all that friendly (maybe that’s part of B, D, S or M) and didn’t speak much, but the things on his table—how-to books, DVDs, floggers, canes, chains, and various whips—seemed self-explanatory anyway.

Next to him was a local tattoo parlor’s booth. I knew the guy from my students’ ethnographies. He has full tattoo “sleeves” and is angry that the general public doesn’t recognize him as a great artist. “Like Van Gogh,” a student quoted him as saying, “but on human skin.”

Small crowds gathered around two bulletin boards. One was for sexual fantasies, the other for sexual experiences. You could write your own anonymous narrative and stick it to a board with a pushpin, and the sheets of paper were already several layers deep. One posted to “Sex Experiences,” in very feminine handwriting, detailed how several of the writer’s friends woke to find that someone had peed on their beds while they were asleep. There was a Facebook group for the victims.

On my way out I stopped to see the coloring contest. On a long table, crayons and markers lay scattered with recent use among stacks of uncolored sheets of the same line art. It was a big vulva with three female fingers working the clitoris. A burlapped cubicle wall had been dragged in behind the table to hang entries. Some artists had tried for photo-realism; others worked in the dreamy colors of the impressionist, or the jangled clashes of the psychedelic. The popular favorite, by tally, was done up in stars and stripes.


Please review our commenting policy here.


  • Viewed
  • Commented
  • Past:
  • Day
  • Week
  • Month
  • Year
Back to Top