By Robin Gracia
The Walter Stiern Library at California State University, Bakersfield has many uses. It can be used as a computer research lab, a haven to study and a repository for thousands of books.
It’s also a place to potentially meet for various sexual activities.
The digital age has revolutionized the way that students meet and hook up, with sites such as Craigslist leading the charge. It takes less than 60 seconds to place an invitation for sex online for any category one would like – same sex, group, women seeking men, and much more.
“Studying late at CSUB” was the title of the male-for-male casual encounter personal ad which was posted on Oct. 3 by an unidentified 25-year-old. “If anyone wants to stop by for a quickie let me know…looking to [expletive] or receive head.”
Another ad, titled “CSUB library”, which was posted in the male-for-male personals on Sept. 27, asked: “Anybody want to play? I’ll be on the fourth floor in the bathroom from now till 5ish.”
A third post was made on Sept. 25 simply titled “CSUB”, again in the male-for-male encounters page. It said: “4th floor of the library today. Be there from 10 a.m. till 1 p.m. hanging around looking to suck, understall, etc.”
The fourth floor of the university library is a quiet floor, meaning that noise is kept to a bare minimum to ensure that students are able to study without distraction. Seldom are library staff members on the fourth floor, and there is no type of security to be seen.
Inside of the men’s room on the fourth floor is a small hole which connects one stall to the other. On first glance, one could almost mistake it simply for damage to the wall which maintenance has overlooked. However, to the savvier eye, it’s identifiable as a glory hole.
The glory hole is roughly an inch and a half wide, capable of accommodating a vegetable such as a carrot or small squash. A glory hole serves as a way to receive oral sex with total anonymity.
Here’s how it works: one person sits inside a stall and waits for a participant. When someone occupies the adjoining stall, a signal is usually used to ensure that both individuals would like to engage, such as tapping one’s foot underneath the stall door. Should both people be willing, one of the men puts their penis through the glory hole for oral sex.
It’s a simple system; however, it comes with many risks.
“There’s always a concern when you’re having anonymous sex, such as STDs,” said Erika Delamar, CSUB’s assistant director of student health services. “You have no idea – you’re not doing any communication with your partner.
“Communication is a big key when it comes to preventing STD transmission. ‘How many partners have you had?’, ‘Have you been tested?’, ‘Do you have an STD?’ These are simple questions you should be asking people that you’re having sexual activity with.”
Of the three most recent posts on the Craigslist casual encounters page, only one of the posts made any reference to sexual safety.
“DDF and HIV negative,” were the last remarks by the 25-year-old student who posted the “Staying late” ad. The term DDF is slang used in personal ads indicating that the writer is disease and drug free.
As Delamar points out, you can never really be sure.
“How do you know they’re clean unless you’re asking or unless they’re bringing test results?” she said.
Possible health ramifications aside, there’s another side to fooling around on campus: the legal aspect.
According to Martin Williamson, the university’s chief of police, there are municipal codes and statutes that define acts, such as receiving oral sex in the men’s restroom, as criminal.
Williamson said he was aware that a “peephole” did exist in the fourth floor of the library; however, it existed over five years ago and he was unaware of any recent activity. He also said that, despite officers doing stakeouts and routine surveillance in the past, no cases or arrests were made.
“Safety is UPD’s number one concern,” Williamson said. “If it is called for, we will take proactive enforcement.”
Both glory holes have been covered by maintenance as of today. The closure of both holes, however, does not guarantee that a new one will not be created or possibly relocated.
No matter the nature or the orientation of sex one is engaging in, being aware of what services are available on campus is extremely important. Regular testing, using condoms and having open lines of communication with potential partners allows for greater sexual health and education. The cost of protection and testing should not deter students from seeking assistance.
According to Delamar, students can apply for the California Family PACT card at the Student Health Center, which covers the cost of doctor’s visits and testing. All visits and any testing are completely confidential.
Condoms can also be purchased by the dozen by the pharmacist at the Student Health Center for $1.50, which is touted as “the cheapest in town.”
Having sex responsibly, as well as in a non-public place, is arguably the best way to engage with another individual, casual or otherwise. College isn’t like Vegas – what happens in college doesn’t stay in college.