Just the idea of Rice University coeds publishing a sex magazine gets the imagination racing. College, it seems, would be fertile ground for tales of scholastic slap and tickle, sexual education, and dorm-room adventures (see Heroes, Episode 4). Without the American education system providing college towns, the Girls Gone Wild guys would have bus loads full of blank video tapes. But those looking for tawdry tales in the 77005 zip code will find themselves disappointed. The staff at Open Magazine are making a most adult magazine, taking aim more at the intellect and less at the libido. And they don't have any guilt over the magazine's lack of wank material.
This journalistic approach may seem safe and boring, but it might bring a longevity to Open that other campus sex magazines failed to achieve. Harvard's H Bomb, Boston University's Boink and Vassar's Squirm all looked to be their college's smart smut providers. And all folded, leaving expired or out-of-date websites. Meanwhile, Open looks to publish its third issue.
Magazine founder Rachal Solnik and current editor-in-chief Christine Gerbode (as well as the rest of the staff) are working to ensure the magazine will carry on after they graduate and weather any issues that sank other college's efforts.
Issues #1 (2008, PDF and online version) and #2 (2009, PDF) included "Sex Education in Tennessee" (horrifying), a campus sexuality survey (Rice is getting less action than the national average), lots of short stories and poetry (much felt like filler) and one man's Rice Campus Coitus Map (enjoyably dirty and yet a little melancholy).
The third issue is slated to be out in April of 2010, with Rice contributors continuing to cover "perspectives on the interplay of sex and culture." The Spring issue will include the latest results of the annual sexuality survey and an article about the New Zealand Prostitutes' Coalition, the product of a summer trip abroad.
Rice's Farnsworth Pavilion will be hosting an Open Magazine-curated art exhibition in mid-November. Some select pieces will be published in the Spring issue. Details of upcoming events will be posted on the official website (http://openmagazine.rice.edu/) and interested people also can join the magazine's Facebook page.
So, for those looking for dirty pictures giggles, search somewhere else. This time, it's the soon-to-be-grown ups talking about sex.