Confessions of a sex columnist

Talking dirty with Audrey Crosby, former author of the O-Face

Audrey Crosby, last semester’s O-Face sex columnist, poses on Chico State’s campus.

Audrey Crosby, last semester’s O-Face sex columnist, poses on Chico State’s campus.

photo by howard hardee

During her semester of dishing out dirty personal details as The Orion’s sex columnist, Chico State junior Audrey Crosby was mostly able to accept the negativity that seems to come with the job.

When a pair of female classmates told Crosby that writing for the O-Face “was a sin,” she didn’t think much of it. Regularly getting an earful from a “fanatic woman” at the library didn’t faze her.

Oddly enough, it was a juvenile form of criticism that she found much more upsetting.

“One day I was in the library, I found an Orion on the table,” Crosby said over coffee at the Naked Lounge (giggle) in downtown Chico. “It was opened to the opinion section, and they had drawn faces and written stuff above everybody’s mugshots. I flip back to mine, and they had drawn giant tits on me and written ‘whore’ in really big letters.”

It’s not hard to believe that a young female college student divulging her personal sexual experiences on a weekly basis would experience some hostility from her peers. Upon meeting Crosby, however, it is hard to believe that this somewhat shy history major agreed to write openly about losing her virginity, ways to remain emotionally distant from a friend-with-benefits, and her boyfriend’s sneaky attempts at faking the occasional orgasm.

She was convinced to assume sex-columnist duties by fellow Orion writers after contributing a piece to a special section on student housing. The story, which emphasized the importance of keeping sex noises to a minimum so as not to disturb one’s dorm roommates, led friends to suggest she apply for the O-Face position.

When Crosby informed her parents she had applied to be the student newspaper’s sex columnist for last fall’s semester, their reactions were mixed.

“My mom was like, ‘I didn’t even know you were sexually active.’ And my dad knew, but he was in denial,” she said with a laugh. “He asked, ‘How can you write a sex column if you’re not having sex, Audrey?’

“They were really excited for me because they knew it was what I wanted, but at the same time they just couldn’t believe I was doing it,” she continued. “So up front we made an agreement that they would never read anything I wrote.”

Their agreement may have been a wise one—much like the work of past Orion sex writers, the majority of Crosby’s columns were shockingly frank and personal. The O-Face is not the kind of column that dishes out advice to readers who mail in their questions; rather, it is almost entirely based on personal experiences described without reserve.

For example, in her Nov. 29 column titled “Porn with a partner,” she wrote, “I watch porn as often as a teenage boy whose parents are out of town. Nothing gets me in the mood for a good romp quicker than watching other people fool around in the messiest of ways.”

Crosby maintains she rarely considered holding anything back, but hesitated when it came to issues regarding her boyfriend.

“We’re joined at the hip, so people know who he is just by association,” she said. “I feel bad about shoving his business out there.”

And toward the end of the semester, as issues of sexual assault and consent became timely topics, she struggled with how to address them properly.

“That was tough for me,” Crosby said. “It’s a touchy subject for everyone, and I didn’t really want to write them. The heavier topics make me a bit uncomfortable. I understand it’s a very current thing, especially in this area, but it’s not my favorite topic.”

This semester, she has passed the O-Face torch along to her Alpha Chi sorority sister Chantal Richards. Crosby remains with The Orion as assistant news editor, a position she believes will help her work toward her goal of writing hard news. But she hasn’t given up on writing about sex entirely—she expects to hear back on an internship application to Cosmopolitan magazine within the month.

So, as an official sexpert, what would her best advice be for a sexually active freshman woman at Chico State?

“Be careful, but not just in the physical sense, I mean emotionally,” Crosby said. “A lot of the guys I slept with, it was because I felt like shit and wanted to have some fun, and that’s not always the best way to go.”