STATE COLLEGE, PA—Lisbet "Lizzie" Gilchrist, a second-year undergraduate at Penn State University, told reporters that she has the makings of a good sex-advice columnist Monday.
"Whenever I read a sex column in a magazine or newspaper, I always think, 'I could totally write this,'" said Gilchrist, a 19-year-old undeclared major. "I'm always giving advice to my friends about what kind of condoms to get, or whether you should use lube or not. I'm not afraid to discuss things other people are too embarrassed to talk about."
Although she isn't old enough to drink alcohol, Gilchrist can identify the major kinds of sex toys, knows what "frottage" is, and understands the subtleties of bringing herself to climax.
"Sex is as natural a part of life as birth or death," Gilchrist said. "People shouldn't be so weird about it. I lay it on the line. Penis, vagina—I'm not afraid to tell it like it is."
The aspiring sexpert said she would draw from her own experiences to compose solid, reliable sex-advice columns.
"I've been in some pretty crazy situations," said Gilchrist, who is currently single but has had three relationships and five sexual partners. "So many college sex columnists—like the one who writes for The Daily Collegian—sound like they're copying out of a human sexuality textbook. Well, I'd talk about real-life experiences. Believe me, I've had plenty of them."
Gilchrist said that when she was 17, her mother found a vibrator in her room.
"My mom never found out that it was the 23-year-old guy I was secretly seeing who bought it for me!" Gilchrist said. "And a couple months ago, I was at a party where these guys dared me and this girl to make out. We totally did."
Gilchrist's friends are relatively inexperienced, often making them targets for her advice.
"Lizzie would make an all-right sex columnist, I guess," fellow sophomore Lisa Wong said. "She sure talks about that stuff a lot."
Wong said that Gilchrist starts off nearly every conversation by asking her if she has a boyfriend yet.
"I usually say that it's not a priority of mine right now, because I'm concentrating on getting through pre-med," Wong said. "Then she says I'm denying myself the pleasures of orgasm because of my sheltered upbringing. Last week, she sent me a link to a web site about frigidity."
Another friend of Gilchrist's, Leo Beck, said he has been dating the same girl for nearly two years.
"Lizzie says Jenny [Kroll] and I must have an unsatisfying sex life because we've been going out for so long," Beck said. "Maybe if I made something up about Jenny and me using ripcord beads, or seducing the pizza-delivery boy, she'd drop it."
When she isn't encouraging her friends to be more promiscuous, Gilchrist urges them to play hard-to-get.
"I really like this guy John, who I met in my Food Science class, and I think he likes me," freshman Wendy Wheeler said. "It was never my plan to throw myself at him, and I thought I'd made that pretty clear to Lizzie, but she keeps telling me not to return his calls. She said I'm too young to limit my options. But when I told Lizzie that I really like John a lot, she said, 'It's 2004. Go buy a dildo.' Wha?"
Added Wheeler: "Maybe I should write in to one of those sex-advice columnists that they have in, like, every single campus paper."
According to Daily Collegian editor-in-chief Graham Edwards, Gilchrist's coy attitude and obtuse advice make her a promising candidate to succeed current campus sex columnist Megan Keane, who will graduate in May.
"It's a popular column, and [Gilchrist] would have to submit writing samples first, but, yeah, if she wants the job, she should go for it," Edwards said. "But the column's really meant to be more entertaining than informative. I don't think anyone seriously reads that thing for sex advice."