In a Washington Post article, ” Colleges Speaking Up to Protect Shy ‘Sexiles ‘”, we are informed that “In an era of coed dorms and slackening rules about “overnight guests,” a new constituency has emerged on college campuses: the roommate inconvenienced by sex.” The article reports on how the issue is being handled by colleges in the D.C. For the most part colleges “have mostly tiptoed around the issue of roommate sex, reminding students in general terms of the need for common civility.”

It seems as though “sexile rights” has become a hot issues on college campuses since Tufts University has banned sexual activity in dorm rooms when a roommate is present.

Tufts officials said the change was prompted by persistent complaints from students, numbering perhaps a dozen over the past two to three years.

In response, administrators helpfully added a new item to a list of host responsibilities for students with overnight guests: “You may not engage in sexual activity while your roommate is present in the room.” Dorm sex should never “deprive your roommate(s) of privacy, study, or sleep time.”


Here’s how the Post summarizes Tufts’ policy: “Tufts might be the first college in the nation to make explicit what other schools have only hinted at: It is not cool to have sex in front of your roommate.”

Not cool! Well, that’s one way to put it, although one might think that in an era of “nonjudgmentalness” what counts as “cool” might be in the eye of the beholder. Subjecting your roommate to the Jonas Brother through your dorm room’s stereo speakers is not cool. For that matter, it is a brute fact woven into the fabric of the universe (and not mere opinion) that even having the Jonas Brothers on your iPod is not “cool.” But I doubt that Tufts or any other college or university is going to ban the Jonas Brothers. So, it is not entirely clear to me why lack of coolness should be banned in the case of one instance (sex in front of roommates) and not the other (listening to the Jonas Brothers).

Of course, the mere suggestion that colleges reconsider all this co-ed dorms stuff would meet with howls of protest. That would most definitely not be cool.

Speaking for myself, I’m opposed to co-ed dorms and in favor of strictly enforced visitation procedures, and for a strictly enforced ban on the Jonas Brothers. Which, I suppose, raises my coolness quotient in one instance but lowers it in the other. So it’s a wash.

Oh, in case you were wondering, “Among local colleges, Georgetown University has come closest to positing a bill of rights for sexiles. The school advises students that “cohabitation, which is defined as overnight visits with a sexual partner, is incompatible both with the Catholic character of the University and with the rights of the roommates.”

Articles by Keith Pavlischek

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