[Paleopsych] WP: Bared in Boston
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Sat Jan 8 16:17:38 UTC 2005
Bared in Boston
Editor of Campus Sex Magazine Hopes to Put the Harvard Competition to
By Libby Copeland
Washington Post Staff Writer
Alecia Oleyourryk is a fast-talking, jumpy senior at Boston
University. When she's really concentrating, like now, she picks at
her cuticles with a thumbtack.
"Desperately grasping his damp skin," she says, picking away and
reading aloud from a computer screen. She is editing her new campus
sex magazine, called Boink, due out in February. The idea is to beat
the Harvard students who last year published a campus sex magazine
called H Bomb with references to Freud, French structuralism and
Lacanian psychoanalysis, along with skin shots such as a naked guy in
an Einstein wig.
Desperately grasping . . .
She doesn't like the "grasping."
"What would you use -- 'cling'?" asks Christopher Anderson, 38, her
co-founder. He is not a BU student but he is a man fond of
photographing young people who wear no clothes.
They're reading an account of sex in a Fenway Park bathroom during a
Red Sox game. The piece is tentatively titled "Heading for Home" and
includes the phrase "forcefully pushing me against the baby-changing
station." It's supposed to be true, but it reminds you of those
letters to the editor that start, "Dear Penthouse, I never thought
this would happen to me, but . . ."
Oleyourryk and Anderson promise more nudity than Harvard delivered --
naughty bits and everything. Faces, too. (Many of the models in
Harvard's magazine didn't want their faces shown. Something about
wanting careers.) The Harvard editor says her magazine isn't porn,
that it serves as "a rebellion against all of our porn-saturated
popular culture." Boink has a different ethos.
"It is porn," Oleyourryk says. "There's nothing wrong with porn. Porn
has such a negative connotation."
Oleyourryk is skinny but takes up a lot of space. She pulls her wavy
blond hair into a messy ponytail. Her closet is a technicolor chaos of
shoes, metallic blue pumps and metallic pink pumps with extremely high
heels. What appears to be a red thong dangles from a pull on her
bureau, and her bra lies on the couch in the living room of her
There have been sex magazines at Vassar, Oberlin and Swarthmore, a Sex
Week panel at Yale and S&M parties at Bard. As far back as the '70s,
University of Chicago students held a "lascivious costume ball," to
which students showed up in various states of undress. But Boink is
mostly focused on outdoing Harvard. Oleyourryk exhibits an
intercollegiate competitiveness that most students reserve for
football rankings and U.S. News & World Report scores.
Unlike H Bomb, she says, Boink will not have "artsy" sex, which is to
say "sex that's okay." There will be fewer avant-garde photographs of
girls covered in gold paint or slimy hair, or guys with their nether
regions tastefully obscured by shadow. There will instead be a
well-lit close-up of a guy's nether region, and a review of a sex toy
called the BedBuddy, and photographs of guys kissing, and a heavily
tattooed woman clothed only by a huge snake. While H Bomb has
university approval and was given a $2,000 grant from the student
government, Boink has been shunned by the BU administration and is
beholden to no one.
"We can do whatever we want," Oleyourryk says.
Oleyourryk, 21, felt it would be hypocritical for her not to pose for
Boink while asking others to, so she did two photo shoots with a
20-year-old student named Erica Blom. She and Blom didn't know each
other before they started working on the magazine, but during the
first photo shoot they got to know each other more via a kissing
session. Oleyourryk says it felt weird and she tried to imagine Blom
as a boy.
"I've kissed my friends before but not passionately," she says. "Just
like, 'Hey, we're drunk and betcha if we kiss, he'll give us a free
The magazine's prospective cover came out of the women's second photo
session, when they'd apparently gotten to know each other even better.
In it, Oleyourryk is wearing only a pair of frilly red panties and her
hand is wandering down Blom's torso.
Go BU! Beat Harvard.
The Natural Order
In BU's student union recently, a table of mostly female students
who've been reading about Boink in the campus newspaper regard the
magazine with mild interest, as though it's no more unusual than a new
Taco Bell in the food court. Two of them volunteer that they'd pose
for it. Then the conversation devolves into talk of off-campus events
like the " '80s Porn Party" and the "Anything-But-Clothes Party," and
Boink starts to seem less shocking and more like the natural order of
Pity today's college students. It's tough to be transgressive these
days; all the good stuff's been done. Nudity is about as exciting as
it gets, and even nudity isn't such a big deal. If you believe the
spring break lore, everyone has already been naked at the tiki bar.
College can seem like Las Vegas -- a place where debauchery is tried
on like a tight outfit, where no one keeps score of misdeeds. A BU
sophomore named Yianni, who doesn't want his last name known because
he's posing nude for Boink, says he probably wouldn't pursue nude
modeling after graduation. It's "fun" so long as he's in college, he
says. "But in the real world, it's not like that."
Still, Oleyourryk had to draw the line somewhere. Boink will not
depict sex acts, mostly because she isn't sure about the legality of
them. Eight printing companies that Anderson approached turned him
down, six of them because of Boink's adult content. He finally found a
printer in Quebec.
Boink's one-upsmanship does not impress the editor of Harvard's H
Bomb, whose first issue included a piece called "ART vs. PORN: the
polemics of desire."
"I find it kind of depressing, to be honest," says Katharina
Cieplak-von Baldegg, a junior. "The focus of theirs really is nudity
in a way that it never was for us." Cieplak-von Baldegg says in
creating H Bomb, she was conscious of "the male gaze and the
objectification of women." H Bomb, a nonprofit, is distributed to
Harvard students free, while Boink, a commercial venture, will cost
$7.95 per issue. Cieplak-von Baldegg feels that charging for nude
photographs is "perpetuating the status quo" of commercial porn.
Oleyourryk has no such compunctions. She doesn't talk about "the male
gaze." There is something like integrity in her refusal to offer
high-minded justifications for Boink. She's starting a magazine that
she knows people will pay attention to, and that's reason enough.
Oleyourryk is an unlikely rebel. She describes herself as having had a
"sheltered" upbringing in Oswego, N.Y. Her mom does clerical work, she
says, and her dad works for a power company and keeps beef cows on the
side. Neither went to college. Oleyourryk describes them as "a bit
old-fashioned." They wanted her to go to state school in Oswego, she
says, but she demurred: "I'd rather blow off my own leg."
She says she has tried to explain Boink to her mom, who thinks it's
nice but doesn't seem to grasp the totality of the project.
Oleyourryk is a magazine journalism major, but unlike her classmates
she does not hope to be a writer for the New Yorker. "I picture a
40-year-old man with bifocals and a pipe," she says. In her heart of
hearts, Oleyourryk confesses, she wants to be a Hollywood actress.
A 'European' Attitude
Time to get naked.
Christopher Anderson is at the home of Lindsey, a 19-year-old BU
student who occasionally earns money by modeling nude. She is from the
Gulf Coast of Florida and doesn't want her last name in Boink or this
newspaper, not only to keep this from her parents but because she
doesn't want "weirdos" stalking her. That her classmates might
recognize the face of that naked girl is also a matter of some
"It's definitely creepy," Lindsey says. "I almost didn't do it."
But the money Boink pays models -- $100 per nude shoot -- is "more
than I have," and she was flattered that Anderson contacted her twice
after seeing her picture on a modeling Web site. Both her housemates
are out and only a pet ferret is around to observe.
Anderson walks in and out of the room in a plaid lumberjack shirt,
holding a light meter. For nine years, he ran a software consulting
company. Since he sold the company three years ago, he has
photographed fine art nudes, supplementing his income with software
consulting work. He calls his attitude toward sex "European." He says
he shoots the naked body because it is a thing of beauty.
After Anderson shot some free photos for the first issue of H Bomb in
exchange for ad space, he e-mailed Oleyourryk. They'd been friends
ever since she modeled nude for him a few years back. He said he
thought H Bomb was a cool idea, but they could do better. She was
Oleyourryk and other models who've posed for Anderson describe him as
polite and professional, but he's well aware that he may come off like
those older guys who hang around high schools, chatting up underage
girls. He shakes it off.
"My mother's worried about that. I'm not worried about that," he says.
He circles the room taking test shots while Lindsey sits in a beige
chair from Wal-Mart, nervously applying lip balm .
"I don't want to do this forever," she says. "This isn't my passion."
Her dream is to work for a pharmaceutical company and discover an
alternative to antibiotics. In the meantime, she says, she works only
with photographers whose work is "tasteful." She won't perform sex
acts, or pose with others. She is strawberry blond, dimpled and
pretty. She has modeled nude for a photographer friend and not-nude
for a tattooist who paid her by needling an abstract design into her
Anderson mutters something to Lindsey about "some skin, all skin," his
voice soft like they're sharing a secret. Lindsey lifts off her
T-shirt and stands awkwardly in a white bra with the shirt in her
He starts shooting.
"I like that, actually," he says in his quiet, soothing voice. "Tilt
your head to the side. Bring your chin just a little bit. Yeah, I like
the hair falling . . . "
Lindsey's hands bunch the T-shirt, unbunch it, bunch it again.
'It's for Entertainment'
Just how fulfilling Boink will be to its readers remains to be seen. A
reader who buys the magazine for the cover photo of Oleyourryk and
Blom might not enjoy an inside photo of two men kissing. Boink is
supposed to represent everyone; Anderson says they'd include a
transgender person if one volunteered. But successful porn plugs into
a niche; it is not tied to lofty college-campus notions of diversity
and inclusion. And unlike H Bomb, Boink must be compelling enough to
make people buy it.
Anderson and Oleyourryk charge on, confident, already planning a
second issue for May. On a recent Sunday afternoon, Oleyourryk hosts
an editorial meeting with about 20 people. They are mostly BU students
and a few from other local schools, equally divided between women and
men. Some are preppy and a few are punk or goth, wearing leather
jackets or steel-toed boots. Oleyourryk, barefoot, takes a seat on the
Issue No. 2 will be devoted to the topic of self-gratification, she
announces. The students start offering story ideas and making lewd
jokes, and Oleyourryk's cell phone rings.
"Mom, can I call you back?" Oleyourryk says.
A BU sophomore raises his hand.
"Are we going to have any legitimate articles?" he asks, as if he
doesn't quite get the point of Boink.
After the meeting, Oleyourryk proudly shows off the prospective cover
photo, featuring herself, to a Boink student staffer named Simon
Snellgrove. She analyzes the positioning of the bodies and the facial
expressions and sounds pleased.
"Props, babe," Snellgrove says. "I didn't know you had that good a
Oleyourryk goes out into the kitchen, where she cooks pasta for
dinner. A friend eats Cheerios out of a champagne flute. Oleyourryk
and Anderson consider what, ultimately, is the point of their venture.
Are they helping people? Are they creating a necessary forum where
college students can talk honestly about their desires?
"It's not necessary," Oleyourryk says. "It's for entertainment."
"It's not like without this nobody's going to talk about sex,"
The room watches as Oleyourryk joyfully throws a strand of spaghetti
at the ceiling, and it sticks briefly before falling. "It's ready!"
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