Juniors Alison Michalak, Kamryn Leoncavallo, and senior Abbrianna MacGregor always discuss their sex and love lives together.
So, it’s unsurprising the trio started SHEETS Magazine—Emerson’s sex magazine—the first week of this school year.
SHEETS is a digital magazine dedicated to “sharing the human experience of love, romance, and sex,” as stated on its website.
“We’re such a diverse school with so many sexual orientations represented that it’s weird that we haven’t had one yet, exclusively for dating, romance, and relationships,” MacGregor said.
Last year, Michalak, Leoncavallo, and MacGregor conceived SHEETS while sitting in Center Stage. Together, they started brainstorming ideas about what articles the magazine would publish.
Michalak, a creative writing major, started working on the magazine mid-summer. Michalak said she taught herself how to use Wix—an online website creator—and created SHEETS at a beach by her house.
Leoncavallo, who wrote for Your Magazine’s romance section, and copy edits for the Berkeley Beacon, has previous experience writing about sex and relationships. However, according to Michalak, SHEETS is not about expertise in relationships or sex, but rather different experiences and their validity.
“Everybody has their experiences and all of those experiences are valid,” Michalak said. “It’s not about being an expert in sex, love, and relationships. [It’s more] ‘Let me tell you about my experiences.’”
SHEETS is not a Student Government Association recognized organization. Michalak said SHEETS must remain an organization for a year for official recognition. Without official recognition, SHEETS is limited to a digital platform and cannot circulate a print issue.
Junior Emma Cox, SHEETS’ art director, says an online platform fits the publication more.
“Print is great,” Cox said. “But I think for what [SHEETS] is, online has a lot more freedom.”
Junior Peyton Hassler, SHEETS’ social media executive, said she agrees with Cox.
“I think the great thing about SHEETS is that it’s a constant online database,” Hassler said. “I think it’s a little bit more personal than the other magazines.”
Sheets published several articles on their website so far, such as “Pregnancy Anxiety” and “How to Collect Boyfriends.”
“Pregnancy Anxiety: Why it Sucks and How to Navigate it,” is SHEETS’ most popular article. Written by Suffolk University student Micaela Clark, the article explains how to deal with pregnancy anxiety and offers strategies to avoid it.
SHEETS also includes poetry, a quiz, and a suggested playlist.
MacGregor said SHEETS plans to write articles about sensitive topics, such as sex workers or human trafficking, after asking students what topics they want to see.
Because SGA does not officially recongize SHEETS, they can only advertise the organization on social media.
Hassler says social media is an important tool to get the word out about SHEETS. SHEETS has almost 70 followers on Instagram.
“As we gain more recognition and put out more content, I definitely plan to build on our social media presence,” Hassler said.
Hassler, a member of the LGBTQ community, said while a lot of their content is heterocentric, SHEETS is open to all identities. Hassler said, as more people get involved, SHEETS will become more diverse.
Michalak and MacGregor said SHEETS also encourages sexual empowerment.
“I think the more you open up the conversation and make it less taboo, the more people are willing to talk about their own experiences, and that can even mean talking about their experiences with assault,” Michalak said.
Leoncavallo said students may feel very hesitant about submitting personal works, so SHEETS allows students to submit anonymously.
Sophomore May O’Day said she would love to read articles related to sexual experiences, despite not wanting to submit her own experiences. She said many of her friends would enjoy reading SHEETS’ content.
O’Day also said since Emerson is such a progressive school, she didn’t think SHEETS would face any controversy.
Hassler said creating, sitting down, and talking as a group makes it easier for students to share experiences.
“If [students] were more comfortable as a group interpersonally, it’d be easier to put those ideas and feelings down on paper,” Hassler said.