It is largely expected that the majority of young people will attend university; studying a mammoth range of courses at a huge variety of different establishments. But, there is an undercurrent of discussion that often (thankfully) evades the ears of parents and guardians: casual sex. It’s pretty much taken for granted that if you haven’t lost the “big V” you can expect to do so within your first term, and sex is on the cards whenever and as often as you’d like. Now, this obviously has a vast number of implications for everyday life at university as sex plays such a large role, especially as young people move into mixed sex halls, away from the scrutiny of parents and start drinking more and possibly trying other substances.
I’m aware that this all sounds a little alarming, but don’t panic! Despite casual sex being almost shouted into a megaphone as AVAILABLE, every girl has the opportunity to make their own choice about what they want to do, and in this way the availability of casual sex can be pretty freeing. However, it can also be fairly restrictive. Unfortunately, in our modern climate there is still a discrepancy between the way a man who has had multiple sexual partners, and a woman who has are viewed. The reputation that comes with this is often disturbing: at university, drinking games often have sex, especially the licentiousness commonly associated with casual sex, at their core. Thus, the girl that never puts out becomes “boring” and the girl that lays everything on the table “a slag”. Casual sex is brought into discussion by games such as “never have I ever” (a game in which somebody says e.g. “never have I ever received oral sex” and the players that have done so must drink, thus revealing their secrets to the crowd), which is good as it means that the subjects are no longer tabooed in everyday situations, but can also create a lot of tension and pressure upon both us girls and the boys!
So, what can we do to avoid a reputation that will have people talking nasty about us for days? And should we even care about a gossip-filled reputation preceding us? To the latter I would like to say no, but the mental impact of having every girl glare at you with jealousy and animosity because you are known to have had a few one night stands, and guys assume that you’ll have sex with them because you do “with everyone, anyway” can be incredibly detrimental, even to the strongest willed of us. Plus, it unfortunately comes with the added danger of another taboo subject: rape. This is not to say that having casual sex means you will get raped, and if you don’t you’re totally safe, as this is obviously not true, but the collective experience of a number of girls at the university I attended suggests that if a guy has heard that you are willing to have sex on a night out, he may be more likely to assume that that means you’ll say “yes” to him, even if all of your signals are screaming otherwise.
In the end, we need to remember it is down to US whether or not we want to have sex with someone, and to decide whether or not we’re willing to engage in a “friends with benefits” system, or a one night stand. In the end, despite their best attempts, no guy should be able to guilt you into any kind of activity you’re not comfortable with, and it’s far better to wake up in the morning on your own than to wake up with somebody you regret. Also, we ought to remember that for most girls this is their first time away from their parents, and so their first real opportunity to test the waters in terms of what they want from a guy or girl. So, enjoy yourself, and do what YOU want, but always remember that the best kind of casual sex is always going to be safe sex.