Posted on

By Arthur O’Sullivan

“Late Nite bought over one thousand dollars worth of sex toys for Sexapalooza this year.” 

So spoke my source from inside Binghamton University’s “Late Nite” organization, which provides food, programming, and all other forms of entertainment to those students awake and alert enough to enjoy them. As someone with the social and sleeping habits of a reclusive retiree, my experience with Late Nite is limited. On some occasions, I have enjoyed the post-9-P.M. fried food at C4 and Appalachian dining halls—usually purchased with friends after a long-running Binghamton Review meeting or party. Usually, however, I’m spending my “late nights” (the ones I have free, anyway) watching episodes of What’s My Line on YouTube or Frasier on the cheapest Hulu plan imaginable (or, if I’m feeling frisky, “Family Guy Funny Moments” by IllyrianGhost on YouTube). It may not be as social as Late Nite, but it keeps me rested. And thanks to this Epicurean walled garden I’ve maintained between myself and Late Nite, I’ve written nothing about nor criticized their shenanigans… until now.

“Sexapalooza” is an event I only noticed from my Sophomore year on. (Apparently COVID cancels sex, in the world of college administration—or at least renders it virtual.) Their advertising left little to the imagination. That year, “Sex Toy Bingo. Sex in the Dark. DIY Sex kits.” and something ominously titled “Entanglement Twister” were oh-so-tastefully advertised on a peach emoji.  

Sexapalooza’s 2022 advertisement.

The following year’s advertisement was kind enough to add “Queer Sex Positive Button Making” to its suite of events. (What we would do without it, I shudder to imagine.) Both, interestingly enough, advertise over $700 in “prizes.” Apparently they hadn’t heard of Bidenflation. (Or perhaps they had heard the term, but only got aroused.) In their day, $700 may have bought a top-of-the-line Japanese sex robot, including shipping and handling. In this economy, it would hardly afford my lightly worn cum sock.  

Sexapalooza’s 2023 advertisement

Fortunately for the poor students of Binghamton, the penury of Sexapalooza’s prizes has ended. In addition to the “Free condoms, Chocolate fountain, Sex education” et cetera, Sexapalooza 2024 offers over $1,000 in “prizes.” So says the most recent advertisement, decorated with charming imagery of barbed-wire-hearts and fire burning below. Perhaps the sponsorship of Planned Parenthood, with its tens of millions in federal funding, allowed for this modest increase in the purchase of “prizes.” 

Sexapalooza’s 2024 advertisement.

Remind a forgetful old man: what are these “prizes”? If your answer was “expensive sex toys a la the $100 Sasha Grey pocket pussy (including both realistic holes modeled after her own)” congratulations! You’ve won one as a prize! (It seems like there’s plenty to give away.) 

I’ve been largely sarcastic up to this point, but seriously: When did it come to this? I hate to be “that guy” at the queer-positive-entangled-twister-button-making orgy, but is this all really necessary? Whenever I see these ads, I constantly think of the “groooomer” meme from a number of years ago. It’s of course ridiculous to compare a collegiate event strictly involving adults to actual cases of sexual exploitation. Still, this overbearing interest that the university and all its partner organizations—especially groups like ResLife and Planned Parenthood—take in our sex lives gives me the creeps. I suppose, by the conventional collegiate model of sexual morality, there’s technically nothing wrong with this. Yet “technicality” is far from a great defense.

Pictured: The 35-year-old groomer.

Don’t mistake me for some sexless puritan. As cynical as I can be about sex and sexuality, I still smile at every romance I see—in fiction and in real life. I just don’t need the gory details. Half the “fun” of sex, in my view, is that it’s undertaken with some secrecy: the wink, nod, and giggle—and maybe a light elbow jab in the ribs; the kiss and pan away in those classic films… there’s a magic in that, otherwise missing from these pornographic displays. Those who attempt to make sex an “open” thing seem hell-bent on stripping all the romance and mystique from it. Can anyone tell me with a straight face that there’s more romance in the “Sexapalooza” than the mold on my shower curtain? 

When I lost my Catholic faith in Spring of freshman year, I lost many moral justifications for my conservative sexual beliefs. Often, this is where people proclaim their “liberation” from benighted religious mores, and brag about masturbating every other hour or something. As much as I admire their prostate cancer prevention program, that didn’t exactly happen with me. Then as now, I see this obsession with sex and think that it’s—if nothing else—missing the damn point. We live in a society so oversexed that few now remember real romance—real love. “Sexapalooza” simply stands as its symbolic gravestone. O tempora! O mores! etc. etc.

Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic. Creepy administration events aside, plenty of people—young and old—find romance at Binghamton. (Must be something in the spiedies.) And who knows? This is written before this year’s Sexapalooza event. Maybe it’ll end up being a wholesome, family-friendly event which ends in a mass-wedding of its newly-in-love attendees. I won’t hold my breath, but I will say this:

If you’ve found love this Valentine’s Day, I’m happy for you. I sincerely hope you two lovebirds enjoy yourselves. I just don’t need to know how much

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *