By Kassondra Cloos
The clock strikes 10 and the FCC regulations dictate that radio content can legally get a little edgier. At Elon University, senior Alexa Johnson and a handful of her peers turn on the mics at WSOE 89.3 and turn off their inhibitions. “The Carnal Romp” is Elon’s only sex talk show, and it’s been giving students the chance to talk openly about sex and sexual health for two years.
Johnson started the show as a junior when she was the program director for WSOE, after she finished a summer internship with a sex and dating blog and realized how little college students actually know about their bodies and sex. Since then, she and her co-anchors have provided students with a hilarious mix of personal escapades, serious and thought-provoking commentary on sexual health and equal rights and news and research about sex and sexual health.
“I think (the show) does do Elon a service because it gets not only WSOE folks and our listeners, but other organizations and people on campus talking about our show even if they’re not listening,” Johnson said. “Even if there’s a little awareness, obviously some people think sex needs to be talked about, that’s important.”
Because “The Carnal Romp” is a radio talk show and anchors aren’t visible to their audience, listeners are treated to a great deal of bluntness and honesty, according to Johnson. During the March 29 show, the hosts went through Jezebel’s “sex vs. chocolate” version of March Madness, discussing which sex positions and types of chocolate are better than others. (The missionary position was determined the ultimate winner.)
Although some may consider any kind of sex talk controversial, Johnson said she has discussed her show with her professors and, although they may not listen, they agree on the importance of an open dialogue.
“They like the idea of somebody pushing against Elon,” Johnson said. “Elon, let’s face it, comes off as pretty conservative. There’s not much talk about sex on campus, and they liked that someone was going to talk about something that was important, I mean we can’t pretend that college students aren’t having sex.”
Sophomore Jesse Scarborough went on the show for the first time March 29, and said he had previously appreciated the openness of the show from a listener’s standpoint.
“I had listened to it several times before, and I always thought it was really funny and oddly informative,” he said.
Scarborough said he was initially nervous to go on the show when he was first invited. But he, too, agreed that radio is freeing in its nature, and it’s easy to forget one is broadcasting for an immeasurable audience.
“It’s kind of a scary concept, being on the radio, talking about whatever intimate relationships you may have, and you have no idea who’s listening,” he said. “But at the same time, you hope someone is.”
One of the most frequent topics on the show is drunken sex, Johnson said, but she approaches it from a sexual and emotional health standpoint and strongly encourages students to think before they act.
“I could talk all day and tell you that you shouldn’t be having sex when you’re drunk, because technically it’s rape and technically there’s no consent there,” she said. “But kids are going to do it, so the best thing you can do is try to encourage them to think about it before doing it, making sure they’re protected.”
“The Carnal Romp” will live on as a blog and roam when Johnson graduates in less than two months. But, she said she hopes the show will continue under a different name with others interested in hosting it.
“I think it’s important to keep talking about sex at Elon,” she said. “The discussion we have with the student body is so excellent, I strongly feel that it would be a disservice to discontinue it.”
Catch “The Carnal Romp” from 10 p.m.-midnight Thursdays.