The Sexist

Journalism Fail: Student Masturbation Column Or ABC News?

The editor of the Towson University Towerlight resigned last week over controversies stemming from the newspaper's sex column. In her resignation letter, Carrie Wood wrote that University President Robert Caret wrote her an "intimidating, patronizing and bullying" e-mail voicing concerns about the column's servicey take on mutual masturbation.Wood responded to Caret's missive with an e-mail which, Wood hedges, "made it look as if I was throwing my staff under the bus." The Towerlight issued an editorial announcing that the "The Bed Post," penned by anonymous, gender-indeterminate student called Lux, failed to live up to the paper's editorial standards.

So, how bad was that masturbation column? And could it possibly be worse than ABC News' completely nonsensical take on the controversy? Let's take a look!

The Bed Post:

Happy Monday, my lovely, loyal readers, I’m hoping you had a great weekend and didn’t get into trouble. What did I do this weekend? It was actually pretty standard. I caught up on some sleep, hung out with some pals, got some work done, did a little mutual masturbation.


Let's talk about sex. Or would you like to just read about it in The Towerlight? "Yes, I've read them all," said student Zachary Chandler.

Verdict: The Bed Post appears to be frankly discussing a sex act. On the other hand, ABC News is asking a rhetorical questions and answering it with a quote from a student who was clearly asked an entirely different question. "So, would you like to read about it?" "Yes, I've read them all." Forget "mutual masturbation"—what the fuck is "them"?

The Bed Post:

According to Wikipedia, mutual masturbation is “a sexual act where two or more people stimulate themselves or one another sexually, usually with the hands.” According to Lux, mutual masturbation is a way of life.


Several community members, even the adminstration, voiced their opposition. Matt Radhe said, 'I don't think sex should be that taboo.' Fellow student Tom Pope added, 'Apparently some of the residents hall show pornographic videos like on the TV’s and stuff and for them to get made about an article just seems really confusing to me.'"

Verdict: Masturbation as a "way of life" may be a bit of an overstatement, even for a college student. However, ABC News apparently gets off on publishing a central premise—people are opposed to the sex column—and then backing it up with a bunch of quotes from people who . . . support the sex column. Also, they can't spell "administration."

The Bed Post:

Try not touching each other and only stimulate yourselves. Since you know your body so well, your hands will work exactly how you want them to, so you’ll always feel good. You’ll stay safe, while being intimate at the same time. It’s sexy to watch someone pleasure themselves and even sexier for you to pleasure yourself with someone else watching.


“I personally made some poor editorial decision regarding the bedpost," said former editor-in-chief Carrie Wood. . . . “Based on some of the stuff we were hearing from the  administration it seemed that they were trying to infringe on our rights," Woods said.

Verdict: The Bed Post's controversial references to self-pleasure have got nothing on ABC News' edgy decision to misspell Wood's name, mistype the name of the column (it's The Bed Post), and misquote Wood. She made "some poor editorial decision"? Which editorial decision was that?

The Bed Post:

Want to take it to the next level? Try lying next to each other and linking arms. Girls – add a vibrator or dildo into your routine. Boys – find out if your girl will let you finish somewhere other than on your stomach. I tend to ask for it on my chest or back.

ABC: The column spared no detail; and while many excerpts are too graphic for this story one sentence give you an idea:  "Regardless of how you do it, you should be aroused, pleased and totally safe."

Verdict: Jesus christ. One sentence GIVES you an idea. GIVES.

The Bed Post:

If you’ve been keeping up with my columns, you’re already all experts in the hand job department. As for heavy petting, girls – tell your partner exactly how you like it, just as you would while receiving oral sex. Want to make sure they really understand? Show them! Use your hand or finger(s) and let them follow along.


“I think people are overreacting,” said Tom Pope.

“I supported her decision to run it, said another student.

“You can't just always go by what people tell you," added another.

Verdict: Yes, the Bed Post got explicit. Maybe ABC News should try that, instead of printing comments about "people" "overreacting" or "supporting" the decision to run "it," no matter "what people tell you." Just so we're clear: THEY'RE ALL TALKING ABOUT MASTURBATION. There. MASTURBATION. That was easy, wasn't it?

  • Charlie

    I thought this comment on was amusing

    "Towson U Editor Resigns After Running JO Piece - 10/6 - Carrie Wood, the editor of Towson University's Towerlight student-run newspaper, has resigned after she ran a column from an anonymous author that dealt with masturbation in a graphic manner. And caused a spurt of controversy."

  • Caro

    I genuinely don't understand this story. College newspaper sex column prints a column... about sex... and suddenly that's a huge problem and the editor has to resign? And it's even about a consensual safer-sex practice (as opposed to the writings of some AU sex columnists one could name). Are people really more upset by discussion of mutual masturbation than other kinds of sex?

  • jules

    @Charlie: Haha, SPURT, yes, thank you for appealing to the 13-year-old-boy side of my sense of humor :)

  • Martha B

    You would think sex was new in America. Just too many people with heads in the sand though. Whereas the U.S. boasts of the highest teen pregnancy and STD rates in the developed world, Masturb_tion is even encouraged in those other developed countries. The U.K. National Health Service promotes an orgasm a day and consideres it a right. It is a biologic function after all. Yet we in the U.S. are still trying to come to terms with the human condition. Either cut it off or learn to cope with it people. Grow up and accept it if you are not going to cut it off.