Romance According to Kate

Kate Ostler

Dear Kate,
What’s wrong with masturbation?
-Solo in SageDear Solo,
This is a pretty “touchy” subject, and I suppose the answer to your question depends on whom you ask. For the sake of my good Catholic grandparents, who frequently read my column online, I’ll refrain from relaying any personal experiences or in-depth analysis, and will instead examine the different sides of the debate. Many religious organizations advocate spiritual excitement over any other sort of physical self-satisfaction, but this rather traditional view hasn’t stopped the subject from making its way into popular culture, especially in recent years. Most of us are probably-albeit unfortunately — familiar with that scene from American Pie (you know, that scene with the pie). While I don’t know anyone who’s had as awkward a conversation with his dad about sex and/or masturbation, I would imagine that the topic probably does come up between close friends or roommates who are interested in discussing techniques or scheduling some privacy. Masturbation is often viewed as a somewhat desperate attempt at fulfilling a primal desire, but for many people, it’s the best way to get what they want without having to deal awkwardly with someone else. In his classic film “Annie Hall,” Woody Allen-although a relatively creepy guy in reality — cleverly stated, “Don’t knock masturbation. It’s sex with someone I love.” And, indeed, spending some quality time with someone you love will probably do you some good.

Dear Kate,
My circle of friends is starting to feel incestuous, as everyone seems to be hooking up, and picking up where someone else has left off. How can I overcome my annoyance with this new trend?
-Creeped Out Near Co-Op

Dear Creeped,
I’ll skip the obvious Woody Allen/incest joke here and jump straight to your question, which is likely a concern for many students at smallish schools like Lawrence. Having been on campus for two and a half terms now, the pickings are slim, so it doesn’t surprise me that some people are looking closer to home for a little romantic attention. I’m sure that it gets pretty irritating having to deal with friends of yours who are hooking up left and right, but you’ve got to remember that someone else’s romance should not interfere with the friendships you’ve already established. Mind your own business and focus on something else. Getting caught up in the drama of these new hook-ups will only amplify your frustration with the circumstances and is unlikely to change your outlook.