Archive for Thursday, August 20, 1998


August 20, 1998


More than 100 Kansas University students were greeted Wednesday by the straightforward Dennis Dailey, the school's foremost expert on sex.

Dennis Dailey, the frank, charismatic and often controversial ``sexologist'' at Kansas University, welcomed students back Wednesday morning by dissecting the parallel but disparate curriculums found on college campuses.

Dailey, KU professor of social welfare who teaches the popular course ``Human Sexuality in Everyday Life,'' calls the first curriculum ``preparation for work.''

``KU, like most universities, does a pretty good job with that,'' he told more than 100 students gathered in room 120 of Budig Hall.

The other has to do with all the time outside the eight or nine hours you spend at work every day as an adult.

``What you learn about how to deal with the hours leftover is just as important,'' Dailey said.

One of the keys to developing a sound relationship in college and beyond, he said, is to embrace physical intimacy.

``People don't dump that, they bring it along with them (to college),'' said Dailey, a former radio show host who last year was voted one of the four most popular lecturers on Mount Oread. ``Although most of your parents hope you leave that behind.''

The presentation was one of a number of short sessions designed to acquaint or reacquaint students with campus issues as part of Hawk Week.

Dailey's main concerns are the mythologies surrounding sex and the veil of silence that often replaces productive dialogue between parents and children. One of the main myths: that folks older than 50 cannot have intimate relations, an untruth that can place a wedge between couples.

``A lot of those people making big bucks, who are highly successful, would give a lot of that up to get back their relationships,'' said Dailey, who also counsels couples.

Tara Tonsor, St. Louis freshman, said the liveliness of Dailey's presentation riveted her attention.

``He's awesome,'' Tonsor said. ``He's so open about it. ... I'm so glad he's not lecturing to us.''

Sitting nearby, Omaha, Neb., sophomore Susan Tusa nodded in agreement and said his thoughts about relationships requiring more than intense attraction hit close to home.

``I had just heard he was really popular even before I came to KU,'' Tusa said. ``He's a character.''

Pam Peck, adviser to KU's Christian Science organization and audience member for Dailey's presentation, said the session, which focused on human beings as sexual entities, was one-sided.

``To me, that's a very limited concept,'' Peck said. ``It ignores the depth and spirituality of who we are.''

Guilt and shame are often felt not by victims of sexual denial, Peck said, but by those who jump into intimate relationships too soon.

``We don't want to negate what's natural,'' she said. ``I've seen it too many times.''

Dailey, not unfamiliar with criticism, said it doesn't deter him from his mission.

``If it doesn't trigger some disagreement then I'm not doing my job,'' he said. ``I don't expect consensus. ... I don't establish criteria of rightness or wrongness. There's too much sadness in relationships already.''

For former Dailey student Beau Jepson, the hour-long talk was a good introduction to his course.

``It covers all the bases that were missed in high school sexuality courses,'' said Jepson, a KU senior from Harveyville who attended the session with his girlfriend. ``It focuses on the positives of relationships.''

-- Matt Gowen's phone message number is 832-7222. His e-mail address is

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