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ISSUE 120 VOL 13 PUBLISHED 3/2/2007

Sex on the Hill: Behind closed doors

By Sara Antonson
Contributing Writer


Friday, March 2, 2007

Two weeks ago, I hope I got your attention. But this week, I want to move beyond the closet – but not too far. We're still going to be behind closed doors. However, this isn't about closed bedroom doors, but the doors of an admission interview of a woman applying to Beloit College.

Her story underscores the nature of bisexuality, the subtle discrimination that permeates high schools across the Midwest and the need to make our own campus a place where intimacy and healthy relationships flourish.

My desire to write this column isn't to portray the critically important issues of sexual politics, but to write about the human emotions and development that contribute to healthy sexual intimacy. I will turn an empathetic ear to what it means to be a sexual minority in a culture of male-female dating scripts.

Today's column is based on the experience of a close friend who shared the meaning of her bisexuality with me.

This is Lori's story. It begins with her admissions interview at Beloit College, when an a counselor asked, “Do you consider yourself to be part of a minority group or have you been hampered by discrimination?”

While she had never been intimate with another woman, Lori decided it was time to be honest with herself and the representative of the community she was joining. Lori was confronted with questions that crystallized the realization that her high school years discouraged and discriminated against her bisexuality, an orientation she was struggling to “officially” try on for the first time in response to these questions in this admissions interview.

Was this some new “political” fad of Lori's? Now that she was about to be a college woman, was she going to try on some new hat with bright sexual plumage? Hardly.

While her mother waited in the admissions office lounge, Lori told the admission's representative she considered herself to have sexual minority status – something Lori had never shared with anyone. She knew it opened new doors for her, but realized it would certainly shut the door on the vision her mother had of her future relationships.

On the other side of the coin, that admissions representative and Beloit College opened a door to diversity, social affiliations and supportive development of both male and female intimacy.

What would have been different for Lori in high school anyway? If one considers the range of emotions sexual intimacy provides, it is easy to see that Lori missed out on many things. Imagine your most precious sexual moments: the thrill of a kiss, the passion and the vulnerability of engaging in sex with another.

Now, imagine if you could comfortably experience that moment with both sexes. There were women Lori shared a lifetime growing up with whom she would have loved to have had in her arms for a close embrace, or even just have been able to tell them that they truly kindled a passion in her.

Looking back, she would have given anything for four of her lifelong female friends to know that, too. She knew what she missed when she shut the admission's door behind her.

When Lori found out I had the desire to write about her turning point, she was excited in a way that gave me the last boost to put this article to print. She is getting ready for her senior year in college and is looking back at unfinished business from her senior year in high school. She now has the confidence to cut out four copies of this article and mail them with a personal letter to her friends.

If the spirit moves you, feel free to clip this column and mail it to someone as an addendum to that incomplete note you scribbled in a yearbook. Or set it away for the day a letter like that is possible in your life.

Most importantly, no matter what your sexual orientation, the deeper issue is being close to people in an emotionally healthy way and being a part of the community here at St. Olaf that makes those goals possible for everyone.

Sex–related comments, questions or suggestions can be e-mailed to sexcolumnist@stolaf.edu.





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