Sex Toys and Lennox

By Mike Ellis, Columnist and Caitlin M. Foyt, Lifeline Editor

On Wednesday, CM Life ran an article about sex toys.

But readers posted several messages saying that dildos shouldn’t have been on even an inside cover since the college newspaper reaches the community (We love it when locals tell us CM Life is so much better than the local paper, we know it too!).


We are not some tireless defender of CM Life writers; I (Ellis) try to call them out whenever possible. We believe in standing up for CM Life, and that means high standards in how the reporting is carried out.


College students publish this paper, and while we certainly appreciate the community support we feel we earn, we write for a college audience. That means sometimes there will be articles that are not appropriate for very young children or easily upset adults. We offend college students on a regular basis – it’s not that we try, they just get offended.


Another point to remember is to look at the section heading. The sex toy article may have been on the front page, but it was the front page of the second section under the heading “Lifeline.” That’s our term for human interest, different editors and generally different writers than our news sections.


Sex is a part of college culture. College-aged women more than ever are acknowledging the taboo subject by throwing sex toy parties. It’s a phenomenon that has swelled in popularity over the last several years. The popularity from the adult retailers market has even caused major chains like CVS and Wal Mart to sell their own brands of ‘personal massagers.’


But, what’s more is that these vibrating pieces of plastic and silicone are really expensive and people pay full price for them. And there is a sex shop located in town that shows no signs of going out of business.


Ellen Taylor, a former CMU student, was CM Life’s Sex Columnist for one semester. Every week, Taylor’s open sex talks stirred controversy. She wrote about doing it and doing it often and received harsh criticism from her readers. There were always countless web comments on her columns. Hate mail poured in. There were a rash of invites to join anti- Ellen Facebook groups. People seem to have no problem talking about it, but reading about it is a different story.


It’s unknown how many people actually read the sex toy articles in the paper, but several hundred visited the Web link and hundreds more e-mailed it somewhere else.


CM Life gets much criticism, some of it deserved, for coverage of local gadfly Dennis Lennox. But Lennox stories are inevitably the most popular on our Web site. Why?


We don’t know. Even the article detailing how the CMU Promise would not be offered anymore was the third most-visited link on our site. You guessed it – two Lennox articles were more popular. So it’s not like CM Life is deciding to not cover local or any other issues, we respond to what our readers want to read and they apparently prefer Lennox and sex toys.


The University of Michigan’s student paper, The Michigan Daily has run four or five sex toy articles in the last two years, (and a story on how to get away with committing sexual acts in the University’s library) and it’s the most popular site on College Publisher.

Michigan State’s State News has run several as well, but mostly about sex toy parties. Western’s Herald only had one story, written in September but since it had been commented on very recently it was viewable without even a search.


The Western article was hilarious! It was about old folks doing the nasty, pointing out that they had little sex ed, no risk of pregnancy and additionally, lots of free time. Two 93-year-olds were charged a week ago for soliciting. Yeah, they were trying to buy an undercover officer’s err… services.


The person who commented on the Western article (six months after it was published)? They were offended by the language the opinion writer used, saying seniors had a “void” to fill. Sounds like the research, and the opinion writer, was bolstered by recent events.

After all, they’ve been doing it for longer than we have. Go screw each other, old people!


One Response to “Sex Toys and Lennox”

  1. benji Says:

    So the response to criticism, from people with too much time on their hands, is to say “we’ve ran worse before! other people do it! at least it’s not Lennox, who we name dropped for hopeful attention!”?

    Should’ve stopped after the third paragraph.

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