To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
I have read Dean Monro's letter in your issue of October 9 with interest and approval. It seems to me high time that some member of the administration faced the facts and implications of the present parietal rules and stopped playing ostrich. Dean Monro has spoken out honestly and courageously. No one can deny that the present rules not only facilitate sexual intercourse in the Harvard Houses but also give the impression that Harvard lends its sanction to this--indeed encourages it. No other legitimate institution invites unmarried men and women to share the conveniences of a bedroom. Whether this is good or bad, desirable or undesirable, is a matter which could be--indeed should be discussed.
It does not seem to me profitable or appropriate to take moralistic, dogmatic stands toward the whole subject of premarital sexual relations. One can say that orgiastic behavior is bad because it brutalizes the participants. One can say that exploitation of a partner is bad because it mechanizes and dehumanizes a relationship.
What is important and valuable in a sexual relationship is not merely the excitement and pleasure but also its uniqueness and meaningfulness. This will not be achieved when it is indulged in as a show of athletic prowess in the male or as reassurance for his own faltering masculinity; nor in the female as a conventional compliance with what others are doing, or again to prove her own attractiveness and let her little world know that she has her man. If it is an expression of tenderness and caring and responsibility and mutuality it is quite a different matter. But this implies a degree of maturity, often not yet within the grasp of undergraduates.
Changing the rules is not the only approach open to the administration, but encouraging free discussion, as Dean Monro suggests, both among students and especially between the generations would clearly help. Carl A. L. Singer '40 Consultant in Psychiatry to the University Health Services.