Titled "Man-and-Woman" the short essay includes graphic sentences about male and female rape fantasies. "A woman enjoys intercourse with her man -- as she fantasizes about being raped by 3 men simultaneously," it reads.
Written in a stream-of-consciousness style with incomplete sentences and partial dialogue, the short seems to present a couple struggling with ideas of gender roles, sexuality, and female submissiveness.
Sanders's campaign called the essay "a dumb attempt at dark satire ... that in no way reflects his views on women."
The essay was published in an alternative newspaper, Vermont Freeman, according to the news outlet Mother Jones, which featured an image of the essay in a profile piece this week about the senator.
According to campaign spokesperson Michael Briggs, it was "intended to attack gender stereotypes back in the 1970s, though it is as stupid today as it was back then."
"When Bernie got into this race he understood there would be attempts to distract voters from the real issues. He is determined to run a campaign that takes on big issues facing the American people and not a campaign of salacious gossip or anything like that," Briggs continued.
"The administrators of this university have the right to believe that unmarried students should not engage in sexual intercourse. ... However, it is inconceivable and intolerable that these men should have the right to forcibly impose their moral, social, and sexual beliefs on the 2000 student of the college."