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View Count: 70 |  Publish Date: December 19, 2012
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Nadia Cho's UC sex column? Whatever.

After Nadia Cho, a junior at UC Berkeley, wrote in her college newspaper about having sex in the library stacks, her face was plastered on Londons Daily Mail and the New York Daily News. A Taiwanese news station produced a two-minute digital animation - liberally interpreted with extra kink - re-creating the campus tryst. One of the first terms that comes up when you search Nadio Cho on Google is sexcapade.
Her reaction to it all? A shrug. Unless one day Im going to work for Christians Against Masturbation, I think Im fine.
At Caffe Strada in Berkeley on a recent weekday morning, the petite Cho - wearing Ugg boots and a white cable-knit sweater - is not what one might expect from the Huffington Posts new sex columnist, a woman whos causing an international brouhaha.
The 20-year-old firebrand doesnt sneak in any lewd comments or dirty jokes and definitely doesnt show much skin. In person, Chos brand of sex exhibitionism is less raunch-culture, and she sounds more like a health-center brochure - Im trying to foster open, sex-positive dialogue - than the saucy Daily Cal writer who sent international media outlets into a tizzy.
Chos unwitting international splash started with her final college column, which was about a sex tour on campus with an unidentified male partner. She sought to have loud sex in a variety of haunts, from the librarys European Union section to the classrooms of Moffitt and Wurster - which gives you an idea of how fantastic it would be if your hot (graduate student instructor) pounded you on the front desk every time you forgot to turn in a homework assignment.Nonchalant
In an era where educators and HR representatives constantly caution young people to monitor their Google history and Facebook tags, Cho has shown remarkable nonchalance.
Having sex in the library is just not that controversial. I mean, like, who doesnt have sex on campus? she says. In the context of Berkeley, this is not one of the craziest things. Its just like everyone is so worried about whats on Facebook or whats on Google, and Im just not really that concerned. I think its generational.
After applying to the Daily Cal last summer, Cho was thrilled to be chosen as the newspapers Sex on Tuesdays columnist for the fall semester. Her columns - on threesomes, bisexuality and race - didnt generate major attention on campus. The media storm came only after her farewell installment - and from afar.
The Daily Mail wrote: Cho writes that she and an unnamed male student started their romp in Berkeleys library, Main Stacks, the day before Thanksgiving when the campus was empty.
The New York Daily News recounted, breathlessly: They almost got caught twice when two people walked past.
The Taiwanese news animation added multiple Cal-T-shirt-clad partners (there was only one man in the story) and sex props (there were none, according to Cho).
Cho was confused, even somewhat amused, about the sudden attention - her article had been out on campus for more than a week, and shed gotten few e-mails from students about it.
Yet although most of the online barbs against her have come from foreign countries, there has been no shortage of criticism in the comments section of the Daily Cals website:
My biggest problem with this column is that it isnt actually a column about sex; its a column about Nadia Cho.
She is not a journalist, shes an exhibitionist.
I know you would like your sex life to be more exciting, but do you know what is also exciting? Getting to work and thinking, There wont be people f- in the library today. Now that is liberating.Playful, exhibitionist
Throughout the semester, Chos column was at times playfully exhibitionist and occasionally political. Her writing treated sex in the kind of matter-of-fact way that someone raised with Our Bodies, Ourselves would.
There isnt anything unnatural or anything to be ashamed of in watching porn, she wrote in September. Whenever I have convenient breaks in my schedule, Ill come home after class, eat a snack, watch some porn, rub one out and go back to campus.
When she writes about threesomes, she cautions that no one should feel self-conscious if theyre left out for a few minutes and that theres proper etiquette for breakfast (the couple should treat the guest). She wrote one column about Mitt Romneys plans to defund Planned Parenthood (Cho did not think this was a good idea). Her entire Oct. 2 column was, simply, about being sex-positive. She uses terms like vagina-tarian and procras-turbation.
Born and raised in Hawaii, Cho identifies as a bisexual woman of color. She declined to provide details about her parents, other than to say that she hasnt revealed to them yet that shes been writing sex columns. She does suspect, though, that her father has heard about her columns by now.
Because, you know, he reads the news, she says. Im not sure any parent expects this. But I mean, what can you do? I just dont talk to my parents about sex.Psychology major
A psychology major, Cho wants to go into academic research. She works part time at a campus cafe and has never considered writing a career option.
I dont want to be a sex columnist for my whole life. It has a time and a place, she says. I dont regret publishing the piece. I intended to do it. I dont really mind that people know Im having sex. And who cares if its online - what isnt?
Cho is mostly concerned that this whole thing happened during a busy study time.
It probably will stay on my Google forever. I cant wait till Im like 30 and 40 and can be like, remember that one finals week when this f- happened to me and I was like 20?
But for today, Chos just worrying about her biology exam.
Nellie Bowles is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: nbowles@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @NellieBowles

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Time: 6:20  |  News Code: 37596  |  Site: San Francisco Chronicle
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