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Columbia University Launches Erotic Mag

New York- You don’t often hear the words “erotic” and “Columbia” in the same sentence. But the editors of C-Spot, the new student-produced “erotic review” which launched in October, want to change that.

The first issue of C-Spot, created by Jessica Tang, CC ’09, is a 30-page magazine featuring semi-nude photographs of Columbia students, articles like “The Origins of the Vibrator,” reviews of Manhattan strip clubs, and erotic stories.

Tang got the idea for C-Spot after reading similar magazines from other universities, from Harvard’s now-defunct H-Bomb to Columbia’s online Outlet, which folded after one issue due to lack of funding.

Tang believes C-Spot fills a void at Columbia, which she sees as sexually unexpressive.

“Students generally agree that the campus culture is sexually stagnated and closed in comparison to most other U.S. universities,” Tang said. “Hopefully C-Spot will help to open up the campus.”

While C-Spot is student-run and student-targeted, it is not sponsored or promoted by Columbia and receives no University funding or support. But Tang believes this independence allows C-Spot “a large scope of freedom in its operations.”

Based on feedback from readers, Tang said she thinks C-Spot has “great potential,” which is why she personally financed the publication of 1,000 copies. She hopes advertisers and subscribers will fund future issues and even help her make a profit. After all, “Who wouldn’t want a sexy Columbia student modeling their sneakers?” Tang joked.

The magazine’s print format is particularly important to Tang, who envisions C-Spot as an aesthetically forceful product that displays professionally taken photographs in a visually striking way. The aesthetic focus is meant to set C-Spot apart from other college publications.

“It is a means for students to combine the intellectual, academic, and creative with the erotic,” Tang said. “We are working to build C-Spot up to a be a seriously recognized and professional publication” by “handling our content with care, sophistication, and responsibility, and rendering them through the unique view of bright, young Columbia students.”

One student who wrote for the publication is Emily Dinan, GS ’10, who contributed the article “The Origins of the Vibrator.” Tang contacted Dinan because of her involvement with Outlet two years ago, and in fact, several of the writers for C-Spot were contributors to Outlet.

Dinan said sexual expression at Columbia is stunted in the sense that only “normal” sex is discussed. As such, she believes C-Spot is not vulgar or pornographic, but could open students’ eyes to sexual experiences they hadn’t considered.

“I think we want to expose people to the fact that it’s okay to be kinky, it’s okay to talk about sex,” Dinan said. “You can be more open about it.”

Dinan said C-Spot is indicative of a new level of maturity about sexuality in that people can discuss sex and pleasure without feeling embarrassed.

While many students applauded C-Spot’s foray into the previously unexplored realm of the erotic at Columbia, others did not consider it an effective form of expression.

“It’s a little too much,” said Michael Paranac, CC ’10. Although Paranac was “impressed” with the professional appearance of the publication, he was “underwhelmed” by its content.

“It’s deliberately edgy to the detriment of the reader,” Paranac said.

While Dinan was pleased with campus interest in the magazine, she complained that students only want to read C-Spot, not contribute to it. Both Tang and Dinan encouraged students to contribute in the hopes that C-Spot will become a monthly publication.

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