Putting Out for a Good Assignment

I have reported from the frontlines of my bedroom more than once in this space.

I detailed that sleepover with the hot guy who claimed not to like condoms (don’t worry, I didn’t let him get away with it). I confessed my insecurities about my vagina around the time of the advent of labial plastic surgery. I admitted to some racy sexual fantasies—a piece that was met with, shall we say, plenty of enthusiasm by the guy I was then dating.

And—oops—there there I went again, using my sex life as essay fodder. But around here, we like to think such self-revelation is all in the name of the greater good: That condom bit illustrated a growing disrespect for those invaluable little pieces of latex. My vagina monologue shed light on a common fear among women that needed to be addressed. And those racy fantasies? Well, the whole point was that women shouldn’t be ashamed of their sexuality, and there were indications that pop culture was becoming more accepting (if still not accepting enough) of such.

But when does sex writing cross the line into the kind of tawdry self-exploitation that’s just one more way of using your body to get ahead? With more and more journalists losing jobs every day, good sex writers have been among the first to go—and that makes me a little nervous that we’ll be getting more of the latter. With lots of hot young J-school grads—most of whom are female—flooding the market in search of jobs that don’t exist, will more of them be turning to the kind of confessional “reporting” that gets a girl noticed for something other than her sharp interviewing skill and her analytical know-how?

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