February 22, 2018

The NYT would love to hear your most intimate sex stories. Please describe in graphic detail.

Does this seem creepy?
We’ve seen it play out on a public stage, from the Aziz Ansari incident to The New Yorker’s “Cat Person” story. So-called “gray-zone sex” has prompted impassioned conversations about — and personal reflection on — what constitutes consent and how we signal our desire or apprehension in the moment.... We want to hear how you handle consent for sexual intimacy in relationships and encounters. Do you have a particular experience you find yourself thinking back to? What was said, texted or hinted at, through words or physical cues, that moved the encounter forward — or stopped it? How did it make you feel at the time, and how do you think about it now?...

• We are seeking accounts from college undergraduates worldwide in 500 words or less.

• Visuals that illustrate your story (text message conversations, social media screenshots or similar images) are welcome....
I note that the solicitation is written in a gender-neutral way. Other than the reference to the Ansari incident and the Kristen Roupenian short story, there is no indication that they are only seeking stories from women who've had encounters with men. I'd like the Times to reveal in the end what proportion of the submissions (double meaning intended) are from women encountering men. 99%? Would a man who grudgingly provided sex to a woman and regretted it — or extracted himself after inspiring expectations — write up the graphic details for the New York Times? With screenshots!

Isn't it a question of who feels righteous about invading another person's privacy?

89 comments:

Leland said...

Penthouse has been doing this for decades.

Tommy Duncan said...

So what is the difference between the NYT and the National Inquirer these days?

MadisonMan said...

To answer your question: Yes. It seems creepy to me.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Leland beat me to it. Every exhibitionist and freak will be delighted to share their story with the Times. I would love to hear about (but not necessarily read) what kind of responses this little exercise draws.

Leland said...

Whatever sells print. But it seems like it would be easier to just comb through Facebook, but I guess you might come across Russian propaganda, and you can't have that. I heard there is this dossier that explains the fun of golden showers. The NYT could run with that story.

Seeing Red said...

I’m old enough to remember when we were supposed to stay out of everyone’s bedrooms.

Is the NYT that desperate they’re turning into Penthouse?

Chris Cyr said...

Have they asked Oxfam? I'm just getting round to reading through The Spectator, and it's horrifying.

Hunter said...

Dear New York Times Style desk,

I never thought it would happen to me...

Caligula said...

So, perhaps revenge porn will liven up the paper once known as "the old grey lady"?

"I note that the solicitation is written in a gender-neutral way."

Yes, I'm sure they're about to run stories about teenage boys being aggressively courted by older gay men. Aren't they?


Henry said...

I don't know about the gray zone, but a neutral zone infraction is five yards from the line of scrimmage.

Fernandinande said...

The NYT is always creepy.

Henry said...

a gender-neutral zone infraction is probably loss of down as well.

chuck said...

Ha, ha. I knew a peace corps volunteer who taught in Swaziland who gave her students the standard "what did you do during summer vacation" essay assignment, and one of the girls wrote about being some guy's mistress.

rhhardin said...

They're after readers. Creepy people are their base.

mockturtle said...

Anyone who would share his or her sexual experiences with the NYT is not playing with a full deck to begin with.

rhhardin said...

I used to do aerobatics without getting the airplane's consent.

mockturtle said...

So what is the difference between the NYT and the National Inquirer these days?

The Inquirer is cheaper?

Wince said...

Lots of submission.

"You must be at least 18 years old to submit... to the NYT's 'gender editor' and Modern Love."

How to Share Your Story

• We are seeking accounts from college undergraduates worldwide in 500 words or less.

• Visuals that illustrate your story (text message conversations, social media screenshots or similar images) are welcome.

• Your submission will not be published unless we contact you first. Reasonable measures may be taken to protect the privacy of those involved.

• The deadline is 11:59 p.m. EST on Sunday, March 11. You must be at least 18 years old to submit.

For updates along the way, follow Jessica Bennett (@jessicabennett), The Times’s gender editor, and Daniel Jones (@danjonesnyt), the editor of Modern Love, on Twitter, and like the Modern Love Facebook page.
— Jessica Bennett and Daniel Jones

This is a project of The New York Times Gender Initiative and Modern Love.

Asterisked fields must be filled.

What is your name? *
First and last name, please.

What is your email address? *

What is your phone number?

What college are you currently attending? *

What is your expected graduation year? *

Country *

Please share your experience: *

YOU HAVE 500 WORDS LEFT.

Please share visuals to illustrate your account:
Text message conversations, social media screenshots, or similar images

Drag an image here or click to browse for an image on your computer

By submitting to us, you are promising that the content is original, does not plagiarize from anyone or infringe a copyright or trademark, does not violate anyone’s rights and is not libelous or otherwise unlawful or misleading. You are agreeing that we can use your submission in all manner and media of The New York Times and that we shall have the right to authorize third parties to do so. And you agree to our Terms of Service.

exhelodrvr1 said...

And someone will publish the names of the submitters.

Bay Area Guy said...

I'm sorry but the NYTimes just isn't sexy. I keep having mental images of Paul Krugman sipping Chablis in a hot tub and it wrecks it for me.

MacMacConnell said...

I wonder how many Penthouse stories were actually frats brothers on a Sunday sitting around the dinning table finishing off the keg from the night before composing letters. It's how the one my frat got published in Penthouse, although I've always believed paid staff writer composed most of them.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

A chance to play Penthouse Zone with the New York Times! Half to three-quarters of the submissions from women will actually be from men.

Birkel said...

Dear NYT,
I never thought it would happen to me, but last night when I was delivering san-nakji, raw octopus, so freshly killed that the pieces squirm on your plate, I was sexually attacked by three vegan lesbians...

exhelodrvr1 said...

And someone will publish the names of the submitters.

Wince said...

Hmmm. Reads like an interesting contracts exam question.

• Your submission will not be published unless we contact you first. Reasonable measures may be taken to protect the privacy of those involved...

By submitting to us, you are promising that the content is original, does not plagiarize from anyone or infringe a copyright or trademark, does not violate anyone’s rights and is not libelous or otherwise unlawful or misleading. You are agreeing that we can use your submission in all manner and media of The New York Times and that we shall have the right to authorize third parties to do so.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Creepy, yes. Obsession with sex is creepy and boring.

I

Sebastian said...

The creepiest part of the solicitation is the way it reduces sexual morality to consent.

Marcus said...

Back in the late 90s I wrote and sold letters to one of these Penthouse Forum-type mags and got $15 a letter. Now the NYTimes wants me to do it for free? Not interested.

mockturtle said...

I love the wording here: "Reasonable measures may be taken to protect the privacy of those involved..." [My emphases].

the 4chan Guy who reads Althouse said...

Fifty Shades of Gray-Zone Sex.

Someone had to say it.

The Germans have a word for this.

Birkel said...

Ponytail swish.
Ponytail swish.

mockturtle said...

People who answer this call are similar to those who have Trojan horse Alexas in their homes.

buwaya said...

Birkel, you are right.
This is purest Laslo-bait.

I hope the Laslo-entity submits items to the NYT.
As many as possible.

Freeman Hunt said...

“gray-zone sex”

Give me a break. It's not gray-zone. It's people deciding to do things that they don't really want to do even though they are not being forced. It's bad choices. If someone is pressuring you to do something that you don't want to do, leave. Young people need to learn to be less nice.

WK said...

Why must they be college undergraduates? Grad students are too experienced?

Freeman Hunt said...

You'd think pressure would be the opposite of convincing. If someone you don't want to do something physical with starts pressuring you to do it, doesn't it make you want to do it even less? You'd think it would steel resolve and make people flee with repulsion.

mockturtle said...

If someone you don't want to do something physical with starts pressuring you to do it, doesn't it make you want to do it even less? You'd think it would steel resolve and make people flee with repulsion.

Freeman, a lot of people don't react that way, which is why car salesmen are successful, I guess.

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Just read that the first submission was from someone named C. Danger....?

Freeman Hunt said...

"Freeman, a lot of people don't react that way, which is why car salesmen are successful, I guess."

Then they need to learn to react that way. There's been too much emphasis on teaching young people to be "nice," the kind of nice where you go along with anything to avoid putting anyone out. Passive over principle. There needs to be a cultural correction.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Eventually, some adult editor is going to sober up and realize this is a really bad idea. I would bet they publish nothing further about this.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Visuals that illustrate your story (text message conversations, social media screenshots or similar images) are welcome....

For some reason the visual of the bunny being woken by the air-horn springs to mind. I wonder what I could use as a sexual-consent equivalent image...

Freeman Hunt said...

Will people who have passively gone along with unwanted sexual encounters now passively go along with requests for all the details from the NYT?

Kyzer SoSay said...

After 4 seconds of steamy eye contact I smacked her ass and she purred like a kitten. It was all "go for launch" after that.

Leland said...

"gray-zone sex" is whatever a woman wants it to be. For Ansari and Clinton, the woman giving the blow-job didn't consider it sex. I've met just a few woman who would consider a man just exposing his penis to them to be sexual assault. Heck, I knew women in college that just asking for a kiss on date was portrayed as sexual assault.

I grew up with the concept so well portrayed in Meatloaf's Paradise by the Dashboard Light. At the time, nobody considered 1st base to be sex. Nowadays, it is #MeToo; especially if it involves Trump in the hotel lobby. 2nd base to 3rd base was the gray-zone area (I would suggest to any college male out there to demand written consent before going into those area). Still everyone knew the real stuff was getting to home plate! No gray zone when hitting a home run.

Leland said...

Will people who have passively gone along with unwanted sexual encounters now passively go along with requests for all the details from the NYT?

Real victims, no. But a lot of people wanting victim status and other fabulist's will go to town. The whole request by NYT is to make the stories look authentic.

Rick said...

To answer your question: Yes. It seems creepy to me.

Creepy isn't the word for it. Right now retribution is limited to men famous enough to trigger a public reaction. But if activists can create a big enough dataset maybe they can leverage it and exact revenge on Joe Average as well.

Peter said...

By submitting to us, you are promising that the content is original, does not plagiarize from anyone

Damn. My whole sexual history has been plagiarized.

rhhardin said...

Germans have a word for this.

Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänswitwe, the widow of the captain of a steamship company on the Danube

gspencer said...

NYT's desperate for relevancy?

Penthouse Letters was a good as needed.

Birkel said...

Michael Bellesiles should offer a submission.

MD Greene said...

Is this more about getting the real story or more about pimping out young people to sell copies of the New York Times?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

gray-zone sex

I generally stick to pink-zone sex. Not much into brown-zone sex. Not really sure what would be gray-zone sex.

Leland said...

Not really sure what would be gray-zone sex.

GMILFs

mockturtle said...

Will people who have passively gone along with unwanted sexual encounters now passively go along with requests for all the details from the NYT?

Presumably, Freeman. Personal boundaries have gone the way of national borders.

Yancey Ward said...

Fifty Shades of The Gray Lady.

Yancey Ward said...

"gray-zone sex

Necrophilia?

Peter said...

@Crazy Jane

Yes, it makes me think a bit of old-style Victorian porn where the righteously repressed secretly and privately thrilled to illicit tales of the corrupting goings-on in girls' schools and nunneries. Are the aging Boomer and Gen X readers of the NYT now getting off on the accounts of undergrads doing wicked things they regret the next morning?

Yancey Ward said...

What do you want to wager that they get tons of letters from people who claim to have had sex with Donald Trump in elevators?

Deep State Reformer said...

To paraphrase Groucho Marx I wouldn't want to hear the sexual anecdotes of anyone who was willing to share them with the NYT's readership. Just sayin'.

Bay Area Guy said...

I think the NY Times editors and columnists should get this party started. I wanna hear about the drunken escapades of Mo Dowd and Gail Collins in the 70s, bumpin' and grindin' at Studio 54, sippin' martinis, snorting lines in the men's room.

Earnest Prole said...

New York magazine has been running its Sex Diaries feature weekly for more than ten years.

Rick said...

It's revealing to note how the current NYT request contradicts previous morality. When young we're taught that men don't kiss and tell. Privacy was important because the concerning impact was on women (although women used their experience to be cruel to men also that never concerned anyone).

But the second sharing stories becomes politically advantageous the old respect framework was jettisoned. The left is getting just what it wants: more conflict to exploit.

Bob Boyd said...

There I was...

Bob Boyd said...

Send in your stories about gray-zone journalism.

Rick said...

Why must they be college undergraduates? Grad students are too experienced?

It's easier to frame undergrads as needing protection. This is important as the primary goal is preserving Title IX witch hunts and other authoritarian oversight (legal or administrative).

Beach Brutus said...

Freeman Hunt at 9:38 : "Then they need to learn to react that way. There's been too much emphasis on teaching young people to be "nice," the kind of nice where you go along with anything to avoid putting anyone out. Passive over principle. There needs to be a cultural correction."

This is exactly right -- we need more sassy broads who know how to reject an overplayed hand with biting wit.

David Begley said...

Does the NYT realize the rest of the country is laughing at it?

NYT just needs to fill space and it can’t be Russia and Trump all the time.

Bob Boyd said...

They're hoping a number of anonymous Trump stories will be in the mix.
If it pans out, they'll have a special feature, Orange-zone Sex.

tcrosse said...

Woody Allen once said that he sold the memoirs of his sex life to Milton Bradley, so they could make a board game out of it.

Bob Boyd said...

"I was young and naive with great big tits and so excited when some friends invited me to a Cheetos rave at Trump Tower. Then Trump came out, the sun went down and things got very dark indeed."

JB71-AZ said...

"Dear Penthouse: I never thought your letters were true until I got abducted by three female aardvarks at a zoo. They were obviously desperate for attention, seeing there were no male aardvarks of any kind around.

"They dragged me back to their den, and to my surprise there was a zookeeper there! She eyed me, told me she had a 'connection with the animals', and stripped bare. I looked at her lush golden hair - then I saw that the three aardvarks were actually girls in aardvark costumes! A blonde, a brunette, and a redhead pulled my clothes off and started doing things with their tongues that I can't hardly describe in public.

"Suffice it to say, six hours later I was sore in places I didn't know I could be sore and completely drained and happy. I'm meeting up with the girls later this week, they've got an octopus they want to try out on me.

"Sincerely, Max in LA"

mockturtle said...

Beach Brutus suggests: -- we need more sassy broads who know how to reject an overplayed hand with biting wit.

Or just biting, if necessary.

NotWhoIUsedtoBe said...

What a great way to get your ex. If you let the submitter pick and choose the content they can show anything.

Perhaps I should copy/paste a section of "Fifty Shades" and see if they get it.

NotWhoIUsedtoBe said...

What stands out to me in these stories is the following passage,

"No one had ever spoken to me like that before, SO I DID IT."

What Freeman said, we need a culture of NO.

I wish people said NO more often. The world would be a better place.

Big Mike said...

You'd think all they'd have to do is collect back volumes of "Letters to Penthouse." Every story guaranteed true! Even the ones that are anatomically impossible.

JaimeRoberto said...

Just send a collection of old Laszlo posts.

Sam L. said...

Seem?? Nay; IS.

Bilwick said...

No thanks, NYT. Mine involve my mother, my father, my siblings and our pet, Fisty the Dog. Too private to share.

But we call outselves "The Aristocrats"!

Howard said...

The worst was a one night stand with a sock puppet

Virgil Hilts said...

Call me perverted, but I wouldn't mind reading a detailed account of the crazy woman in UK who did not realize her boyfriend of 2 years - Gayle Newland - was actually a chick, only had sex blindfolded, with Gayle using a strap-on, and wore a blindfold anytime Newland undressed.
The idiots in UK sent Newland to prison for 6 years (I doubt she could have even been prosecuted here). Anyway, I would really like to know the details on that one. How could you be in a sexual relationship with someone for two years and never realize that they both lacked the proper knotty bits and had additional fun bits that they weren't supposed to have. I would have locked up the other one to keep her from reproducing.

madAsHell said...

Name and address withheld by request.

Unknown said...

I ahd sex with woman and asked if she was on her period first. She said no. She lied. I fucked her but I felt raped.

William said...

I'm sufficiently degenerate to watch the Olympic Curling events for their prurient interest. Women curling has a sensuous ring to it. A lot of downblouse action if you pay attention. But is there anyone on earth who would want to read these letters--or at least the ones they choose to publish--for their salacious content? There will be a certain amount of self parody, but there won't be any good parts to mull over.

tcrosse said...

Russ Douthat is standing by....

GRW3 said...

Men’s dissatisfaction with sex they actually get? I hope they don’t hold their breath. Maybe best expressed by these set up and punch lines of an old joke:

She says “Who are you going to satisfy with that?”

He says “Me!”

n.n said...

NYT - the humanitarian pornographer, objectifying women, men, and babies, too.

ALP said...

LOL Seattle Times did the SAME thing - probably most major papers since they are all moving towards reader generated content.

mikee said...

I have one - a really, really good sex story - that I haven't ever told anyone.
Do you want to read it?
Didn't you read the first sentence?