Wednesday, February 4

Don’t think that way!

Last night I had wild and amazing sex with a college student. Well, to be more accurate, I had a dream involving a student I know. I woke up feeling like an evil old man (I am twice the age of my students).

For the record, I have never had (nor will I ever have) a sexual relationship with a student. I am happily married, and besides, my institution’s policies are very clear on this subject. What I find curious is that my colleagues and I pretend like we don’t find students attractive. Maybe it is just my department or the guys I hang out with, but we never discuss having attractions to students (though sometimes we discuss the logistics of how to handle students who have expressed interest in us). If you are thinking “Good, that’s the way it is supposed to be”, you think like many of my peers.

Here is the problem. Like most college campuses, more than half of the students are female. Most of these females are healthy, active and between the ages of 18 and 22. If you are a typical American heterosexual male, a good chunk of your sex drive is driven by visual stimulation, and any particular combination of visual cues that happen to float your boat will likely be found in droves on a campus (and in your classroom, office, lab, etc.). The extent that this visual orientation is due to genetic codes versus socialization is a meaningless question in this context, because it is what it is. Of course the whole reason we have frontal lobes in our brain is to CONTROL our impulses. But controlling something and not having it are two different things.

My colleagues must occasionally find some sub-set of their students attractive to the extent that it is at least temporarily distracting. Given all of the other things we talk about, why not this? I am not saying we should have these conversations in a lecherous manner as certainly that is wrong. However, have we reached the point where it is harassment to discuss with one adult that we are attracted to another adult? Is it productive in the long run to have normal humans pretend that their impulses are nonexistent because those impulses are socially or politically dangerous?