Karen Owen List: What Does Mock Duke Thesis Say about Female Sexuality?

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(CBS) What do young women today really think about sex? It's a question guys might not want to hear answered, if a "senior thesis" by recent college grad Karen Owen is any indication.

The mock thesis, subtitled "Excelling in the Realm of Horizontal Academics," features lots of stuffy academic language - but it's actually a brutally frank kiss-and-tell about the physical attributes and sexual prowess of 13 male students Owen claims to have hooked up with.

The PowerPoint presentation includes a bar chart showing the overall rankings of her sexual conquests and photos of the men in question - many from the Duke lacrosse team. Points were awarded on the basis of physical attractiveness, sexual skills and creativity, aggressiveness, humor, and athletic ability.

Oh yes, and on "the length and girth of the subjects' hardware."

The paper is now a viral sensation online. What do sex therapists make of it?

"Men have engaged in this sort of behavior for time immemorial," says Dr. Ian Kerner, the author of "She Comes First." Now here is a woman who feels empowered to rate and rank men in much the same way. It's giving men a dose of their own medicine."

Kerner says men have been telling tales of their exploits since the dawn of time. But is turnabout fair play?

Kerner doesn't think so. He says Owen's "f*** list" reflects the coarsening of sexual mores among young people, as well as the perils of social media.

Owen reportedly intended the paper to be seen only by friends and has since said she is deeply sorry.

"I regret it with all my heart," she told Jezebel.com, "I would never intentionally hurt the people that are mentioned on that."

That point seems especially pertinent, given the the recent apparent suicide of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi, whose roommate had posted a video of him making out with a man.

"I would say it is a wake-up call for men and women to treat each other respectfully," he says.

Then again, says Kerner, Owen deserves some credit for including emotional and intellectual attributes in her ranking system. A similar ranking system developed by a man might not include humor or intelligence, he says.

"It would start with breast and butt and maybe eyes," says Kerner, and go straight downhill from there.

Can't we all just get along?


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