“There was a young lady named Wilde / Who kept herself undefiled / By thinking of Jesus / And social diseases / And dangers of having a child.” Dr. William Hamilton of the Colgate Rochester Divinity School orated this outdated limerick to an audience of students in the Welles-Brown room, attempting to illustrate that premarital sex was “inconsistent with the doctrines of Christianity,” as written in the Nov. 15, 1963 edition of the Campus Times. I have to assume Dr. Hamilton would have been aghast to hear of what became of the CT nearly four decades after his preaching. Oh, how far we have come.
Sex & the CT, for those unaware, is an advice column that has run on-and-off throughout CT’s tenure as a publication. The first iteration that I could find was from Sept. 13, 2001 — an unfortunate time for the start of such a column — with the title, “Clean feet, dirty thoughts make the man.” The piece, marketed as providing “a common-sense, and often humorous, answer to all your love and relationship problems,” and its subsequent works were spurred on by former Comics Editor (and, inevitably, Campus Times Sex Goddess) Joan Knihnicki ‘03, who held claim to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org (which I personally think we should bring back in full force).
When reading this first article, what stands out most is Knihnicki’s sharp and raunchy wit, perfect for the subject matter at hand. The first response of the column, which attempts to answer a question from “Offended Olfactory in Anderson” about mentioning a partner’s smelly feet to them, starts as follows: “There is nothing worse than getting down and dirty with your significant other and being strangled by a strong odor of toe cheese and salty peanuts. This problem needs to be remedied quickly.” The tagline is also acid reflux-inducingly gross and funny, urging those that have “any questions that are literally, ummm… burning” to reach out and be part of the next edition of Sex & the CT.
On a more butthurt note, Sex & the CT’s run has had multiple controversies and articles focused around anal sex. In a Letter to the Editor from Jan. 31, 2002, titled “Stimulation for everyone,” Patrick Ripton ‘01 lambasted Knihnicki for her dissuading of a man — titled as “Anxious Anus” who wrote into the column concerned about his girlfriend’s interest in penetrating him anally with a dildo. “What a waste to have a body and never explore it,” Ripton writes. “Even if Anxious is afraid, isn’t it wrong to turn away from the things we fear in life, to deny ourselves new experiences simply because we are afraid?” In addition, Jodi Armstrong ‘16 in Sex & the CT-adjacent column “Ask Jodi” — complete with its own Tumblr anonymous ask page — wrote multiple articles on anal sex during her time as resident Sex & the CT contributor.
Knihnicki seems to have been a staple of the Campus Times during her tenure at UR, even being mentioned in a Rochester Review (our alumni magazine) article concerning campus romance. After graduation, she went on to pursue a Ph.D. in social psychology at Carnegie Mellon University — and was also mentioned in a dating/relationship article in their student-run paper, The Tartan. Some things just never change. However, the editor for Sex & the CT would have to.
After Knihnicki, the column started to shift, with columns like “Ask Jodi” or “Jodi Says”, “Ask Chris” (from former Humor Editor Chris Horgan ‘17) and “Ask Estrada” (written by then-visiting Assistant Professor and current Associate Professor Marie-Joelle Estrada, part of UR’s Department of Psychology) consuming the early-to-mid-2010s. Former Managing Editor Ashley Bardhan ‘20, who was known for founding woman-focused culture magazine The Jenny on campus, was the most recent consistent Sex & the CT contributor. Maybe you could be next.