August 25, 2010

Asch '79 is Groping Around for Something

We here at LGB try to avoid reactionary writing, but on occasion we find something important to draw attention to -- for better or worse. Joe Asch '79 over at Dartblog has lately taken to railing against the Sexperts and other sexual health organizations at the College. His arguments, which largely center on fiscal restraint in hard economic times, are hit-or-miss. Groups that provide information to students about how to enjoy a healthy sex life are vital to the modern American student, although this author sympathizes with Mr. Asch's view that bondage workshops might be a bit much.

Today, however, Mr. Asch went further, critiquing the Sexperts' annual Consent Day. He took particular issue with the advertising slogan "Consensual Groping is HOT," writing:
Consensual groping makes as much sense as consensual rape.
Mr. Asch precedes this revelation with an in-dept review of groping on the subway system in New York, as well as relevant New Hampshire statute. Readers should feel enlightened -- they now know that sexual assault in the form of groping is bad.

This type of politicized argument is distracting at discrediting. Mr. Asch would do well to remember two things:
  1. Grope ≠ rape. By its very nature, rape implies sexual assault without the consent of the victim. Groping is different, as it is the fondling for sexual pleasure. The type of groping described in the Dartblog post -- on subways, for example -- is not consensual; ergo, illegal. Groping can be performed with consent, however, and in such a case, is usually quite... well, hot.

  2. A high quality of political discourse at the College, and one's own reputation as a positive contributor to College life, depend on bringing valid arguments to the table. Attempts to fan the flames of discontent using misleading examples and doltish comparisons are a step in the wrong direction.
Perhaps the College does dispense too many resources aimed at heightening the sexual pleasure of her students. Either way, grabby poster headings (sorry!) and the resources spent to produce them are small drops in a very big bucket.

ADDENDUM: As one reader points out, "It is rich of Joe Asch to take issue with The Dartmouth's use of the word 'donate' when he clearly misuses the word 'grope.'"


  1. Anonymous8:27 PM

    Asch may have been off base in his critique of groping day. His questioning college funding of a session on orgasms was spot on. Give him credit for that.

  2. Anonymous8:17 PM

    Curious, but Asch gave numerous examples of the word "grope" being used as a pejorative, including the NYT and the Manchester Union Leader. Since when has it become a synonym for "fondle"?