Let's talk about sex baby
I know I'm not saying anything new or groundbreaking here but I really think that women need to talk more about sex. It's such an important part of life that can have such a big effect on us yet we aren't supposed to talk about it and even be ashamed of our sexualities. Well, I think that's complete bs.
Women are amazing and to reach our full potentials and confidence I think we have to embrace our sexualities and that means being more vocal about it.
I was a little bit of a late bloomer when it comes to boys and when I got to college and became part of college hookup culture, I let it take control of me. I was racking up bodies but I wasn't happy and the sex wasn't even good.
So fall of my sophomore year, my friend shared an article with me and our other friends called "A lot of women don’t enjoy hookup culture—so why do we force ourselves to participate?" This article had a huge impact on me and helped me to take a step back and reevaluate how I was approaching sex and hookups. I realized that I wasn't going about things in a way that made me happy and needed to make a change.
The article is by Leah Fessler who went to Middlebury College and participated in college hookup culture. If you have the time, it's really a great read and I highly highly recommend taking a look at it. But if not, I'm going to highlight my favorite parts of the piece here.
Like I said, I was a little bit of a late bloomer, and in high school, boys were not a huge part of my life in a romantic sense. I went to boarding school and I loved it. I was living with my friends, surrounded by great faculty, and so many opportunities. I was genuinely really happy and focused on friends, learning, and having fun, not on boys. I was too busy with life to add in the complicated mess of a boy and I think I needed to figure out who I was before letting someone else into my life. I don't regret that decision at all and am very pleased with my high school experience.
But it meant that coming into college I was unprepared for what I was getting myself into. Within the second week of classes, I had already found myself a consistent hookup which ended up lasting 5 months. It was the "typical" college hookup. We were friendly, we would even get lunch once in awhile, and we would hookup via a casual "Want to hangout?" text every couple of weeks. Of course, after a short period of time, I began to develop feelings for him, which eventually turned into a full blown obsession.
"A few hookups in, I’d begin to obsess, primarily about the ambiguity of it all. My friends and I would analyze incessantly: Does he like me? Do you like him? He hasn’t texted in a day. Read this text. I’m so confused. He said he didn’t want anything, but keeps asking to hang out."
We had no real relationship and we barely even knew each other but I was convinced that there was something more. He made it clear from the beginning that this was only a casual hookup and nothing more, but still, I constantly analyzed and obsessed over his every word, text, move, trying to pry out some kind of feelings from it all.
Eventually, our "relationship" ended and then I went on a bit of a bender for the next semester. I had one night stands and would go to parties just for the purpose of finding a random guy with no intention of anything more beyond hooking up.
In high school, I wasn't the "hot girl" who got with lots of guys and I think I felt like I needed to prove myself. Like, look world, I am hot and sexy and look at all of these guys that I've hooked up with. I also thought that by acting like one of the guys and engaging in this emotionless sex, I was taking control of my sexuality and being a strong feminist. Boy, was I wrong.
"The truth is that, for many women, there’s nothing liberating about emotionless, non-committal sex. The young women I spoke with were taking part in hookup culture because they thought that was what guys wanted, or because they hoped a casual encounter would be a stepping stone to commitment. In doing this, we actually deny ourselves agency and bolster male dominance, all while convincing ourselves we’re acting like progressive feminists. But engaging in hookup culture while wholeheartedly craving love and stability was perhaps the least feminist action I, and hundreds of my peers, could take."
While I thought that this would make me feel great and powerful, it had the opposite effect. I felt terrible about myself and let my insecurities build. I think the part that was the worse about it was the way that the guys would treat me after. One of the quotes from the article that resonated with me the most was this,
“The fact that most of these guys wouldn’t even make eye contact with me after having sex or would run away from me at a party is one of the most hurtful things I’ve ever felt.”
I would see some of these guys at a lunch place on campus or in the library and they wouldn't even say hi and some would avoid eye contact entirely. That felt so terrible. I mean we only did the most intimate thing that you could possible do with another person and you're not even going to acknowledge that I exist.... okay.
And like I said, the sex wasn't even good. Actually, sometimes it was even terrible but I would still continue to hookup with that same guy. I faked orgasms and pretended like I was enjoying it, convincing both them and myself.
I lost my virginity at 16. But I never had an orgasm until senior year of college, when my boyfriend and I became exclusive. It wasn’t for lack of trying: my sophomore year, I even had the campus nurse check if I had a clitoris. (A guy had ignored me after I hadn’t gotten wet the night before.) Almost every woman I interviewed said they’d experienced sexual insecurities. We’d lie about orgasms, then blame our bodies when guys told us “the sexual connection wasn’t there.”
Yet still, after all of this, I still thought that this was what I wanted. What made me start to realize that maybe this whole system wasn't beneficial to me or what I wanted was seeing how my friends were being treated. I have the most amazing, smart, badass friends in the world. They're incredible, and still, they fell into the same trap as me. Engaging in emotionless hookups, thinking that that's what they wanted, gaining feelings, and then feeling so shitty once the guys stopped showing interest.
My girlfriends and I were top students, scientists, artists, and leaders. We could advocate for anything—except for our own bodies. We won accolades from our professors, but the men we were sleeping with wouldn’t even eat breakfast with us the next morning. What’s worse, we really thought of the situation in those terms: “He didn’t ask to grab breakfast, so I walked home.”
Finally, a year of unsatisfying hookups and insecurities later, I read this article.
I realized how stupid it all was, and how unfair I was being to myself. I wanted a committed relationship and emotions but I was trying to attain that through casual emotionless sex?! How illogical is that. I decided from that moment on that I was done with mainstream college hookup culture.
I started to come to terms with my own self worth and I realized that no matter what, I am a confident powerful sexual being regardless of how many people I've slept with or who I've slept with or if I've slept with anyone at all. I realized that the way that most people think, where the goal of sex is for the guy to orgasm while women fake pleasure just to please the guy, is so fucked. What if sex was centered around female pleasure or even just an equal balance?
But if public discourse shifted to center women’s sexual pleasure as well as men’s, I wonder if hookup culture might not collapse entirely. If we taught pleasure-centric sex ed, beginning in middle school and high school and all the way through college, I can only imagine the possibilities. Young women who are only beginning to explore physical intimacy would go in armed with the knowledge that emotionless, casual sex is likely to be radically dissonant with their bodies’ desires. Men would know that it’s their responsibility to care about women’s sexual pleasure—which includes caring about their feelings. Pleasure-centric sex ed might even reduce sexual assault and encourage more students to report it, as both women and men armed with a clear understanding of how sex ought to feel would more easily distinguish between assault and “bad sex.
I'm still really young and have a long ways to go on my ~ sexual journey ~ but I'm so happy with where I'm at right now. I'm not hooking up with random guys anymore and I'm also having less sex but I'm really happy and more confident than ever.