Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 06/ 7/2010

Student sex mag at unlikely school: U of Chicago

By Valerie Strauss

This item might not be worth reporting if it involved another school. But a student-run sex magazine at the University of Chicago, which has long had the unfair reputation of a school where fun goes to die, rates a mention.

The magazine, 200 copies of which are expected to be distributed in the next few days on campus (but not online), is a revival of a publication that existed for four years before it stopped in 2007, according to the independent student-run Chicago Weekly Online.

In the last decades student-run sex magazines have appeared on a number of college campuses. Two years ago, Rice University was graced with the first edition of “Open Magazine,” a “literary sex magazine” that includes poems, news stories, essays, photos and graphics on sex and sexuality. The third volume was published last April.

But it is not a natural mental leap to go from the University of Chicago, where serious students go to do serious studying, and a sex magazine run by and for students.

Senior Jackie Todd decided to revive “Vita Excolatur,” though, as might be expected, she found it somewhat difficult to persuade students to pose nude and talk honestly about sex and sexuality for print.

Some who did participate later asked for their nude pictures to be withdrawn or pseudonyms used, citing fear of being found out later in life by employers (which, incidentally, is far less likely than being found on Facebook where too many young idiots, I mean, people still don’t grasp as they post ridiculously inappropriate material online).

The magazine’s name comes from the school’s motto, “Crescat scientia; vita excolatur,” which means, “Let knowledge grow from more to more; and so be human life enriched.”

The “Vita Excolatur” blog says:

“In an appropriately loose translation, the Latin phrase 'vita excolatur' means 'the life well lived'. It also moonlights as the title of a sex & sexuality magazine produced by students at the University of Chicago. This publication includes adult content. In fact, that’s pretty much the point.”

A January post on the Web site urged students, “do keep sending in stories of sex around campus / it will not only be featured in a map / but a potential photo spread with accompanied stories, so do be detailed.”

A magazine photographer, Tuncay Esref, is quoted by Chicago Weekly as saying, “People are scared of other people’s judgments, which I think is why ‘Vita’ is necessary.”

The University of Chicago student newspaper Maroon quoted Todd as saying that the magazine will have a variety of provocative photographers of students and erotic literature written by students. The one Vita tradition that was sustained in earlier editions, and that Todd is carrying over, she said, are pictures of “hot chicks” reading books.

But Todd told Chicago Weekly that she would not ask any student to pose for something she herself would not do, and that means an actual sex act. That, she said, would be “crossing a line I’m not comfortable with” and there "are some things you don’t get to see.”

What a relief.

Follow my blog all day, every day by bookmarking And for admissions advice, college news and links to campus papers, please check out our new Higher Education page at Bookmark it!

By Valerie Strauss  | June 7, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  College Life  | Tags:  chicago sex magazine, college life, sex magazine, sex on campus, university of chicago, vita excolatur, vita magazine  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Stressed out student sets school on fire
Next: Will new standards mean better-educated kids? -- Willingham


When will they revive the Lascivious Costume Ball?

Posted by: steveh46 | June 7, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

As a Rice alum, I'm not sure if I should be offended that Rice, implied by comparison to UChicago, is NOT a school "where serious students go to do serious studying" or if I should be happy that at least Rice doesn't have the reputation of a place "where fun goes to die."
In my day, Rice didn't have a sex magazine, but students did feel the need to blow off steam twice a month running around campus clad only in shaving cream.

Posted by: sheffy | June 8, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company