Natalie Timperio

Senior InsideOut Editor

Two years ago, Lindsay Jolivet, the former Senior InsideOut Editor ended her term at the Silhouette with a similar Sex and the Steel City column to this one here. She wrote – perhaps improbably – on ten things a sex column can’t teach you.

Naturally, her contentions were not without merit: as amateur journalists we are probably unqualified to provide anyone with sex advice. She proposed that instead of searching for answers, we should perhaps strive discussion about sex and all that fun stuff. I can’t say that I completely disagree with her on this point. But, of course, attempting to discuss anything sex related with other people can be difficult – sometimes impossible. We just can’t seem to get comfortable talking about sex. In closed quarters perhaps we’d venture to discuss an interesting tidbit about a recent happening with a partner, but we’re more often than not shady about the details, fearing it may freak out said friend.

There’s the fear of judgment too, of course: man-whore, hoochie mama, nympho, skeeze—these are just some of the labels we’d rather not be associated with. So how, then, can we discuss something that we’re just too darn scared to talk about?

When I was hired at the Silhouette for the 2010-2011 year, I conversed with my coworkers about my history at the Sil. As a Hamilton native, in grade 11 I spent my first term co-op here as an intern. When I told my coworkers this, someone said: “I heard that the Senior IO Editor in 2006 was a goddess [of Sex and the Steel City].” “Why?” I asked. “Because she talked about everything.” Our conversation went something like that, anyways. The point is, the 2006 Senior IO Editor had no fear when it came to writing about sex. And this isn’t to say that the Senior IO Editor before wasn’t the same; she did her job, and she did it well.

I guess I never really thought through what being a “sex columnist” would be like before I was hired on. However, I knew I definitely had shoes to fill when it came to thinking of ideas, writing and managing Sex and the Steel City on a weekly basis.

At first it was awkward—I won’t sugarcoat it. “I can’t believe I’m writing about this—people are going to think I do this.” “What if my parents read this? Oh my god.” These are just a few of the thoughts that ran through my head in the beginning stages of my time as Senior IO Editor for the Silhouette. And for the record, the very first Sex and the Steel City column my parents read of mine was titled ‘Don’t hesitate to masturbate.’ Needless to say, they didn’t read past the first sentence—and thank goodness for that.

But as time moved on, I got more comfortable writing about sex.  Instead, I thought “People may think I do this—maybe I do, maybe I don’t. But why should I care so much about what other people think?” Talking about it became easier too. If you can publically write about it, then you sure as hell better be comfortable talking about it too.  And I wrote about it, and wrote about it some more. So I talked about it, and talked about it some more. And I realized; a sex column can teach you something—in fact, it can teach you a lot of things.

Like my predecessor, I won’t “list” them, but I will say this: have no fear. This may be easier said than done, though. But start somewhere. Don’t run your mouth with sex slurs and the like, or announce to the world that you have sex, because the sad truth is that some people will judge you. But do openly talk about it amongst friends and try your best not to fear their judgment, because the truth is, if they’re your friends they shouldn’t be judging you in the first place. And, also, they’re more than likely eager to talk about sex themselves.

Think of it this way; sex is one of the most basic, not to mention essential, functions of being human. As I’ve probably said before, let your freak flag, or perhaps more tamed flag, fly. Either way, start talking about it somewhere, with someone. Or try writing about it in an issue of the Silhouette next year. Someday Sex and the Steel City may be a forum for discussion instead of simply answering questions.

But then again, I think it may already be a likely discussion, if not a source of discussion, in which case I’m more than honoured to have provided you with two years of heated conversation.



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