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Museums are more relevant now than ever. In a country that is so increasingly divided, where we have a president who uses fear-mongering tactics and hateful rhetoric to divide us even more, it is so important to go forth and seek out knowledge for yourself. Lack of knowledge about other cultures and other people breeds hostility, anger, and fear.
In this edition of the Ask the Sexpert column, we’ll be the ones asking the questions. On Dec. 1, we had the privilege of interviewing Jaspreet Kalsi ’20 , board member and co-founder of the student group Princeton Plays, the only kink and BDSM (bondage, discipline/domination, submission/sadism, masochism) community on campus.
The Sexpert: Hey Jaspreet, thanks for agreeing to do this interview with us. I wanted to start off by asking you to describe what exactly is Princeton Plays.
Jaspreet Kalsi: Hi Sexperts, thanks for having me. So Princeton Plays is an ODUS-recognized group that supports an advocacy- and education-based community that serves for the betterment of Princeton’s health at large. Princeton Plays seeks to establish an affirming and positive space to discuss matters of kink, provide education both within the group and partnering with groups across campus, promote safe and consensual methods of play, and increase awareness of the social contexts surrounding the kink community so that members will be prepared if they choose to engage in kink in their private or public lives. I should say that, contrary to some of the rumors around campus, we are not a sex club.
Sexpert: How did Princeton Plays get started?
JK: The first iteration of the club was formed in 2014. Back then it was actually called [Princetonians] in the Nation’s Service (PINS). Although the LGBT center supported that group, it was never ODUS-recognized and sort of fell off after a year or so.
In 2016, I had met a group of five other students who had heard of PINS and wanted to start it up again. We had a series of informal meetings, essentially a gathering of friends, and over the course of the year we helped create an organized group of about 20. Around the same time we came up with the name Princeton Plays. Our affiliation with the LGBT Center really helped in allowing us to grow as a group.
In spring of 2017, the process of becoming a formally recognized student organization had begun. In the fall of the 2017–18 academic year, we became Women*s Center affiliated, Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources and Education (SHARE) affiliated, and University Health Services (UHS) affiliated. In December of 2017 we became ODUS-recognized. At the start of the 18–19 academic year, we had about 50–60 people on the listserv, and now, only a few months later, we are at about 110 members, and we are proud to say we are not a homogeneous group. Also shout-out to the amazing Princeton Plays board. The success of the organization has been a true team effort!
Sexpert: You mentioned that Princeton Plays aims to improve Princeton’s health in general. How do you think the club does that?
JK: There are plenty of resources for sexual health [and consent information] on campus — Peer Health Advisers, SHARE peers, and the Student Health Advisory Board. But one area that is lacking is education on alternative sexual practices. I classify these “alternative” practices as anything that would fall under the purview of “kink.” Our definition of kink is one that mostly focuses on fetishes and BDSM.
Princeton Plays has three main principles that center around the betterment of Princeton’s sexual health and well being.
First off, we focus on educating our members on the physical aspects of kink. If we look at how popular things like Fifty Shades of Grey has become, it is obvious that there is widespread interest in alternative sexual practices. There are people on our campus who take part in these kinds of behaviors, and it is important to learn how to do these things in the safest way possible. Just this month, Plays hosted our third rope bondage workshop and we have an impact play workshop scheduled for the near future. No matter how careful you are, mistakes can happen. For example, if you’re tying someone up, it is your responsibility to know how do so in a safe way. And similarly, if you’re the one being tied up, it is also your responsibility to know the risks involved.
The next principle is one of community. While kink has gained plenty of traction, it remains often looked down upon as “deviant” by a significant amount of the general population. Princeton Plays hopes to create a safe space, where people can come and feel safe, free of judgment for their sexual preferences. For example, at all of our workshops and meetings, we start with a disclaimer, which states that members are free to share as much or as little information about themselves as they would like — they don’t even have to give us their names if they would prefer not to. In this community, we hope to practice things safely without having individuals out themselves. Safety and confidentiality are of paramount importance to us. We have a rule that states that any member who is known to share information about another member without their consent is, without exception, banned from the organization.
The third and final pillar is our commitment to improving the scholarly and theoretical discussions on kink. Our unique position as a Princeton University kink club gives us access to resources that other organizations not in an educational setting might not have access to. For example there are scholars and lecturers that can inform our members on the theoretical work behind alternative sexual practices. Plays has aspirations to host a colloquium of university kink clubs here at Princeton. We are already in the process of contacting and organizing. By bringing people together who think about this sort of thing, we hope to improve the field of kink and queer theory while promoting good, educated sexual health practices.
Sexpert: I wanted to ask, since privacy is so important for the group, how do you personally feel being one of the few publicly named members of Princeton Plays?
JK: Well, it’s both freeing and nerve-wracking. I grew up in a small, predominantly white town as the only person who wore a turban, so I’ve always stuck out in a way. I think growing up with that experience has emboldened me to always be an individual and to be true to myself. I have aspirations of going to medical school someday. It is, of course, risky, since I could miss out on some opportunities, but someone’s gotta do it, so it might as well be me. It is part of my religious beliefs that all humans are one, and that we are all equal in God’s eyes and thus we should accept each other as we are and support the health of everyone. I hope that my public expression of individuality will inspire others to be themselves.
Sexpert: How can people get involved?
JK: Email the listserv! If you send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org you will be put in touch with a board member who can answer all your questions, give you info about meetings.
Sexpert: Anything else you want people to know about Princeton Plays?
JK: We are a community that wants to help you be you! No one should be afraid of being themselves, and we hope to share knowledge and community with all those interested.
The author was granted anonymity due to his kinda rational fear of being murdered by radical feminists.
Just days into the new year, the University made a huge splash in the news. This time, the athletic department took center stage. Princeton Athletics announced the official addition of men’s curling to its D1 repertoire. Making into reality what was joked about just a year ago, the University has pulled the trigger on the new team, hoping to capitalize on the interest drawn to the sport from the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. The addition brings the total number of Tiger teams to 36. With 19 men’s teams compared to 17 women’s teams, the University also fulfills its goal of bending Title IX requirements as far as possible without being investigated by the NCAA.
In response to concerns that the University’s bonfire tradition prioritized the success of the football team over other athletic teams, the University has enacted a new policy. In order to celebrate a bonfire, all varsity athletic teams will need to beat Harvard and Yale in the same year.
Sue Talot, mother of a first-year student, filed a lawsuit against the University Campus Dining on Tuesday, claiming the service of “late meal” inflicted irreparable damage on her daughter, Ella Talot ’22.
Recently, there have been objections raised to the punitive structure of the Honor Code of our grand institution. Critics contend that punishment is not only rigid and often excessive, but also is antithetical to the spirit of the code.
The bat that invaded Frist Campus Center earlier this semester returned to campus on New Year’s Day to haunt undergraduates preparing for finals. Students reported sensing the bat’s aura upon returning to campus for reading week, especially in and around the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning on the third floor of Frist. Following numerous requests, Undergraduate Student Government has agreed to host a séance on Thursday night for students who wish to venerate the bat in exchange for good luck on their exams.
Jim Olaf ’19 was never a fan of the Bicker process. He found the process overall morally disingenuous, vaguely illiberal, and almost entirely lacking in empathy. But Olaf had a vision: a process that, instead, would be morally reprehensible, completely illiberal, and entirely lacking empathy.
The University is heading into the third week of its shutdown, caused by a debate over campus border security.
A flyer for the Zarnab Virk ’20 Undergraduate Student Government (USG) presidential campaign was found translated into Russian and lying on the floor of the Slavic languages and literatures department, causing campus officials to speculate about possible collusion.
Last Friday, the University held its first ever “He Bellows” conference celebrating male domination in fields like politics, technology, and the military. Notable alumni guests included U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R) ’92, Google’s Eric Schmidt ’76, and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ’54.
Alicia Van Cleve and Victoria Rodriguez Mitchell, the ASL interpreters for Alik Zalmover ’22, wonder if people ever think that they are the first-year’s moms or sisters when the three walk around campus together.
On Dec. 5 and 6, 18 graduate students and members of the Princeton Citizen Scientists, a student organization formed in 2016 seeking to promote scientific engagement and affect scientific policy, traveled to Washington, D.C., to advocate for issues relating to climate change, science education, and healthcare.
While most Princeton students headed home for the holidays and took some much-needed time away from campus, Tiger teams remained in action throughout the break. Here is a recap of some of the notable game results and individual standout performances.
The winter is the most dangerous time of the year — not just for chapped lips, bitter finger tips, and icy ground, but for a University student’s pride. Whether it’s applying to internships and spring classes or approaching someone on the Street to initiate cuffing season, rejection looms in the air. Hearing “the applicant pool was more competitive than ever” and “it’s not you, it’s me” hit similar soft spots.
It took me far too long, but I recently acknowledged an experience of sexual assault while at the University. It was a textbook incident: the type that almost every University student hears about in campus-wide trainings or orientation programming. It was “typical” in that way, but I have come to learn that coping with a sexual assault is not nearly as simple as some programming makes it out to be. What they don’t tell you in the trainings is that the processing that has to occur in order to truly heal goes far beyond the moment at which the assault is reported, if it is reported at all.
“I would dissuade people from attending Princeton just because of the Honor Code.”
El Sistema: Advocating for Accessible Systematic Music Education (Jan. 9) 4:30 p.m. at 10 McCosh Hall. Sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, this panel discussion focuses on “El Sistema” — a publically funded music education program in Venezuela. One of the panelists will be Maestro Gustavo Dudamel — Princeton University Concerts’ first artist-in-residence.
One year after the opening of Bezos Residential College, an investigation conducted by The Daily Princetonian found independent residents suffer from diabetes and paper cuts. First-year students in Bezos said their transition to campus was negatively impacted because they never left their dorm rooms.