Sex and the University on Sale at Amazon Starting Today

In fall 2003, Kate Prengaman became “Sex.” She earned the nickname on the Ultimate Frisbee field, where participants often receive names based on a defining interest or characteristic. Prengaman’s teammates began calling her “Sex” during her freshman year at the College of William & Mary, not long after the debut of “Behind Closed Doors,” her weekly sex column in The Flat Hat student newspaper.

“Nicknames are big in Ultimate,” said Prengaman in July 2006. “You never play with your real name. Everyone has some sort of bizarre nickname. So, my nickname is bluntly ‘Sex.’ It’s just ‘Sex.’ . . . When you want somebody to cut to get open, you yell, like, ‘I want Liz’ or ‘I want Jenny,’ and they make that next cut to get open for the disc. And our captains just loved the idea of being able to scream, ‘I want Sex!’ in the middle of the Frisbee field.”

Prengaman’s nickname stuck and spread off the field as well. Friends and classmates regularly whispered “hey ‘Sex'” to her while in the library or screamed “hey ‘Sex,’ we’re over here!” to get her attention while she walked to class. Her Frisbee teammates at times even identified her by nickname in more awkward situations, including while waiting in line for a ride at a Busch Gardens amusement park and during President George W. Bush’s second inauguration festivities in 2005 in Washington D.C.

“I have to remind people when my parents are coming to visit to just call me Kate,” she said. “They do it in front of their parents and they don’t even realize it, and then I have to explain to them why I’m called ‘Sex.’ I have to say, ‘It’s not because I’m a big slut. It’s because I write a sex column.'” . . . (from Chapter 4, pages 52-53)

Just a snippet from my new book Sex and the University: Celebrity, Controversy, and a Student Journalism Revolution. I am hyping it mainly because it is available starting today at

In the book, I explore the beginnings and rise of modern student newspaper sex columns and sex magazines; the controversies they have caused; the fame and infamy they have brought to their student writers and editors; the sexual generation they are helping define; and the student journalism revolution they represent. The book also dives into the content of the columns and magazines, uncovering for the first time what they are saying en masse about students’ sex and social lives.  Hundreds of student newspapers, magazines, and colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and Canada are featured.

Among the stories and info included in the book: a recounting of the largest newspaper theft in the history of student journalism; and a modern student “sexicon,” or a glossary of defined terms related to student sex, love, and dating pulled directly from the columns and magazines.

Bottom line: Please order a copy today! :-)  In the meantime, check out my related interview with Inside Higher Ed.

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