People love sex.
Wesleyan students can attest to that. They have come to expect their RAs to provide free Safe Sex supplies, and even WesWings has recently taken to providing its own charming red, hopefully non-chicken flavored, condoms. Eclectic’s annual Sex Party has become a campus tradition, as has the mildly controversial Burlesque show. The feminist club hosts sex-toy sales and workshops on the female orgasm.
Despite all of this, some students have found the University’s initiatives to increase sexual awareness waning—open discourse on sexuality is not currently at the level envisioned by Yannick Bindert ’10 and Ben Kuller ’10.
As co-founders and editors-in-chief of Wesleyan’s forthcoming sex magazine, Bindert and Kuller plan to throw open the doors even wider for free sexual expression on campus. Hence the magazine’s name, Unlocked.
“The main reason I was really happy about this project is that at Wesleyan you still have the typical high school atmosphere,” Bindert said. “People don’t talk about sex outside their cliques. When I came here, I was expecting to see orgies on Foss Hill.”
During their first year on campus, Bindert and Kuller ran the University’s darkroom. When it was suggested that they start a photography magazine, they found that they shared the same somewhat unorthodox vision. They knew of similar ventures at other colleges and decided that if Harvard had a sex magazine, Wesleyan should too.
With Unlocked, currently planned as a biannual publication, the two sophomores are striving to introduce a new kind of periodical to Wesleyan. The 60-page magazine will include both written pieces and photography submitted by students.
“What I look for is a little humor, a little adventure, stuff that’s out of the ordinary,” Bindert said. “We don’t want stories about your typical Saturday night hook-up. No one wants to read about that.”
Explicit texts will be accepted, as will any photographs that models are comfortable printing.
“We want people to take risks, to do something they can’t do outside of college,” Kuller said.
Aware of the controversy surrounding popular sex magazines, Unlocked’s founders are being careful to avoid following any trends in the genre that might elicit a negative response or offend anyone.
“This is not your traditional porno magazine because that would be creepy,” Kuller said.
In veering away from conventional sex-mag stereotypes, but also hoping to keep their work edgy, stylistically Bindert and Kuller are aiming to fuse highly sexualized images with classical nudes.
“We’re trying to keep it fun and lighthearted, but also a little naughty,” Kuller said.
Both said that they are not looking to emulate magazines like Playboy. Instead, they pegged www.nerve.com as their muse, a website Kuller described as an “online New York-based adult lifestyle magazine.” Geared toward mature women and men with more sophisticated tastes in erotica, the website may serve as an inspirational launching point for the content and style of Unlocked.
In keeping with the University’s aspirations to embrace diversity, Bindert and Kuller are very interested in including work by students of varying sexual identities and orientations. They welcome and encourage the submission of photographs featuring women, men and students who have chosen not to identify as either.
Beyond this, the co-editors-in-chief are generally concerned with conveying positive and progressive ideas on sex through their publication. According to Bindert, a WesWELL representative already approached them at this year’s Student Activities Fair to discuss possible future collaborations. A column or section on sexual health and education in Unlocked is a likely joint project.
With sufficient funding from the Wesleyan Student Assembly and the enthusiastic participation of their fellow students, Bindert and Kuller hope to publish Unlocked’s inaugural issue this semester.
“This is the kind of place where you can do this,” Kuller said. “I don’t know if Wesleyan needs a sex magazine, but I think Wesleyan wants one.”