"Cock ring" isn't the easiest phrase to say into a television camera, especially without the aid of alcohol. But it's no problem if you're Vanessa Goldstein, BC '08, or Travis Cone, CC '09.
This bawdy pair of sex enthusiasts has been showcasing Columbia's provocative side on CTV's Sexiled since last fall. The inspiration for Sexiled came from co-host and producer Goldstein's tenure at Vanderbilt University last year, when she worked on their talk show, Sex Rx. "Because of my experience [on Sex Rx], I wanted to do what I thought would be something more entertaining for a college audience," Goldstein said. "I just wanted to make sex funny. Because it is funny."
Last semester, Goldstein approached CTV with her idea and shortly began filming Sexiled. This spring, in an effort to balance out the female and male points of view, she brought Cone in as a cohost. Together, they've worked on promoting the show, even posting penis-shaped flyers on campus because, as Cone said, "anything shaped like a wang is going to get your attention."
Sexiled isn't CTV's first sex-oriented program, but it is trying to blaze a new path. In addition to mixing educational guests with quirkier fare, last week they debuted their live show, allowing viewers to call in with questions. According to Alicia Berenyi, CC '09, this new approach is a winner.
"They answered more provocative questions and were able to raise it to a higher level," she said, and "the sexual tension between the hosts is very palpable."
Robert Wray, CC '06 and CTV's director of programming, said Goldstein and Cone "have a chemistry together, the two of them, that I've found, in three-plus years as CTV director, has been hard to come by."
There are still a few kinks-of the technical variety-to work out with the new format.
"We had prank callers that wanted to sodomize me in various ways," Cone said.
The show's relative success comes after a series of funding woes that have plagued CTV.
"We have no money, but [Columbia] still demands a professional product," Goldstein said. "We don't have good equipment, we don't have access to enough Columbia Journalism equipment, to really make a good enough product."
"We're definitely trying to spice up to get new viewers, because sex sells," said Kwame Spearman, CC '06, CTV president, and Spectator columnist. But don't mistake Sexiled for an overt funding bid, Wray said.
"Sex is something that college students value and talk about regularly. Sexiled is just taking that student interest and putting it on TV," he said.
As for Goldstein and Cone, they're enjoying their status as the go-to team for exploring the fun side of sex. And, surprisingly enough, their parents approve.
"They brag about it all the time. They're so proud. And they wanna watch it! But I refuse to give them the Web site. I'm like, 'I'll send you an edited version at some point,'" Goldstein said.
In the meantime, they'll continue asking the Columbia community to expose its naughty side. "We had someone from Well-Woman, from Barnard, give us different-race dildos," Goldstein said.
"Well, they weren't different races so much as one was brown and one was clear, so I don't know what race the clear one was," Cone said.
"There was also a yellowish one. And the black one, it was definitely bigger. If not the penis-"
"-the balls," Cone said.
"Yeah, the balls were huge."