Tough love

By on October 21, 2009

If you’ve ever been at college on a weekend, you know that sexual encounters are inevitable. The most the university can do is educate you on being safe and give out free condoms. What they can’t do is curtail sexiling.or can they?

If you’re not hip to the term, “sexiling” refers to one roommate banishing the other from his or her dorm room so that he or she can have sex. It is often an unspoken understanding between roommates that when one is having sex, the other one makes themselves scarce for an hour or two, finding an alternate place to sleep or study.

Tufts University has formally forbade the practice of sexiling in on-campus housing.

Their 2009-2010 handbook states: “You may not engage in sexual activity while your roommate is present in the room. Any sexual activity within your assigned room should not ever deprive your roommate(s) of privacy, study, or sleep time.”

Quinnipiac Director of Residential Life Cindy Long Porter doubts that Quinnipiac would ever adopt such a policy.

“Right now we have I guess what you would call a common courtesy policy,” she said.

In what seems to bea large extension of authority by Tufts University officials into the bedrooms of undergrads, a number of issues with this policy immediately come to mind.

“How do you enforce that?” asked Quinnipiac junior Ryerson Stinson. “Also, what kind of people are they accepting over there if they have to make actual school law to restrain this type of activity?”

“I don’t think you can get kids in trouble for having sex,” said junior Chris McGuire. “We are all old enough and are adults.”

There are also a host of other issues, including the intoxicated state many students are in when “hooking up” while their roommate is in the room.

However, the reasoning behind the rule is fairly clear. It takes care of having the awkward new roommate conversation about having sexual encounters in your room, and basically just tells you you can’t before any feelings get hurt or sleep gets lost.

Of course, all of this could have been avoided if the students at Tufts had discussed boundaries and privacy issues amongst themselves instead of complaining about it after it happened, causing the University to take action in something they should not have a say in.

But what does this policy say about college students, and about our generation? For the University to have received so many complaints that they had to asserttheir authority means that the amount of “hooking up” at Tufts is out of control. It also means that it got to a point where students could not handle this situation on their own. Whether that is a reflection on Tufts in particular, or just college life as it is in 2009, is unclear.

There is one obvious issue that Tufts University did not address: sexual encounters with your roommate. One could certainly make the case that banning such relationships is homophobic.

The fate of this sexiling policy is indeterminable. It could totally backfire, and make Tufts look foolish. Or, it could spread like wildfire throughout the nation and end up being a policy enforced here at Quinnipiac. Either way, the fate of sexual freedom in college hangs in the balance.

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