Whether it is a private institution such as Yale or a public one such as the University of Delaware, the truth is that things begin going badly for them right off the bat. Princeton is all-too-typical. As part of the freshman orientation program, students are required to attend an event entitled “Sex on a Saturday Night.” It consists of a series of skits ostensibly designed to discourage “date rape.” For years, critics have contended that the play, which features vulgarity and suggestive conduct, does nothing to serve this laudable goal; rather, it reinforces the campus culture of sexual permissiveness, primarily by shaping students’ expectations to include sexual license as normal.
And then there is “Sex Jeopardy” (officially “Safer Sex Jeopardy”), an event that Princeton freshmen are “strongly encouraged” by the University to attend. Modeled on the long running television game show, this activity invites students to show off their knowledge of such topics as anal intercourse, flavored condoms, dental dams, sex toys, and sado-masochism. As described by one female student, Sex Jeopardy is “suffused with sexual bravado and conveys the strong impression that only someone with hang ups would have a moral problem with hook ups.”...
Conspicuously absent, however, are centers or programs offering meaningful support for students who desire to live chastely. “Sexual health” offices do not supply the need because staff members see their roles, not as promoting self-discipline and high moral standards, but as providing “non-judgmental” advice about how to have sex while avoiding pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases and infections.
So while universities are willing to speak out on the dangers of alcohol abuse, eating disorders, and date-rape, they sometimes treat as privileged—in practice, if not in theory—the moral view that any sexual conduct someone happens to desire is good, healthy, and acceptable, so long as it is consensual and “safe” from the risks of pregnancy and disease.
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