Hot 4 Teacher

Dear readers of TSL’s sex column,

I, Humpfree Blowhard, present the following for your
consideration: Pomona College’s Faculty Handbook states that “romantic or sexual relationships”
between students and professors “potentially
violate the integrity of the student-teacher relationship …  a relationship in
which objectivity and trust are essential…”

To me, the above statement does
not read like the college takes a strictly moral stance against
student-professor sex or romance per seit just says banging your professors gets in the way of what this place is
about. And in most cases, it can lead to disciplinary punishment all the way up
to getting your professor fired.

That’s all well and good, but what if you think your psychology professor is kind of sexy? What if, while explaining the comparative
historiography surrounding Cold War “two-camp theory” narratives, your history
professor uses a growling baritone that just gets you all hot and bothered? Or
your biology professor is giving an especially saucy lecture on bonobos, whose mating
habit of “penis fencing” made even Alfred Kinsey blush?

Being carnally or romantically attracted to a professor makes
for a tough time. But before making any sort of verdict about what the
randy student ought to do, let’s quickly acknowledge some of the woolly details that desiring
a professor entails.

Chiefly because of the way the university system is set up,
there is a lopsided power dynamic inherent in the way teachers and students
interact. Professors, whether or not they are successful at their job, are
established as “mentors” by university culture. We are immersed in this “professor-as-guru” lingo all the time; just recall the brochures you looked at when
applying to schools, the ones that emphasized “close relationships” with professors and a low student-faculty ratio. (From the Pomona website: “With a
student-faculty ratio of 8:1 and an average class size of 15, Pomona students
get to know their teachers very well.” Italics added. Wink wink, nudge nudge.) 

The close, “objective” relationship argument is the one that firm opponents of student-professor romances always seem to
return to. For a professor to break such a holy bond would amount to making the student a victim, even when the relationship is between two
consenting adults. It’s not difficult to see that this narrative does make some
sense: An inequality of power can certainly make a victim out of someone.

But doesn’t it seem hypocritical to advertise the closeness
of student-teacher interactions and at the same time counsel against these
relationships becoming erotic? Wouldn’t one expect that, at some point along
the timeline of any given college, a student might want to fuck his or her

After all, the teacher is one of the most
supremely fetishized professions in both popular culture and porn. Recall Max
Fischer’s unrequited love in Rushmore,
Cameron Diaz’s role in Bad Teacher,
Ms. Veronica in Happy Gilmore, and the teacher-fetish porn you’re totally not going to look at after you
finish reading this column. Being “hot for teacher” is one of the most
socially accepted taboos out there. Examined through a media-focused lens, a
professor having a relationship with an adult student seems relatively benign.

Then, at least from a student’s perspective, those who make
the “objective mentor” case seem like they don’t take into account the full
extent of the sociological phenomenon that is the petri dish college
environment, or the cultural impetus behind being attracted to a
professor. Not only that, but their argument takes out the student’s own agency
in choosing to have an intimate relationship with a professor.

Still, getting frisky with your economics professor can get messy with
allegations of foul play or cheating. And as a sex columnist who’s supposed to
give some advice along with my observations, I feel like my hands are tied
between this messiness and the reality that student-teacher attraction does
happen. The best I can offer is to say this: My dear sexed-up student
reader, you are not alone in your academic and sexually charged daydreaming,
but you’re a smart person, so know what you’re
getting into.

Stay thirsty,

Humpfree Blowhard

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