Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sex and the Street: An Introduction

Who am I? I’m just an ordinary girl with an extraordinary preoccupation with sex. I’m not Sexpert, and I’m no Carrie Bradshaw – or even a Lena Chen. I’m a Princeton student who loves talking about sex. I’m notorious amongst my friends for “always bringing up tits,” and I’m the girl who “always has her mind in the gutter.” I’m a straight girl who thinks it’s fun to kiss another girl every once in a while. I masturbate (in fact, I have two vibrators, and hopefully a new one soon), and I’ve even been known to watch a porno or two. I’m not ashamed of my sexuality, and I display it whenever possible: through my clothes, my words, my movement. I’m not a slut. In fact, I’m not even single. I don’t know everything about sex, though I’d love to say I did. I’m not a nymphomaniac, despite evidence to the contrary. I’m a Prude Gone Wild.

I wanted to write this blog because I feel that sex is an important part of our lives. Whether you’re having sex, hoping for sex, or even trying not to have sex, it’s something we all think about, and yet many of us feel terribly uncomfortable discussing sex and sexual politics in any real, honest way. If there’s anything a person should be comfortable with, it’s talking about sex and sexuality, because it’s so fundamental to social life, especially in college. Americans are so uptight when it comes to sex, and yet we have the highest rate of unwanted teen pregnancy in the developed world. Clearly something is not working. It’s time to stop focusing on how to stop people from having sex and start facing reality: sex happens. It happens in relationships, out of relationships, in triangles, in squares…everywhere. As a young woman (or really, young person), I find it so hard to find any non-clichéd and realistic information about sex and relationships as they actually occur. This blog is my attempt to fill that void on campus.

That being said, it seems only logical to start from the beginning….

I love premarital sex. It sounds so naughty with that extra “premarital” in there, doesn’t it? Sex is not something that you just DO and it’s amazing. I remember, if only vaguely, losing my virginity sophomore year. Well, I could actually tell you the exact date and time (September 30th, 3:05 pm), as my ex Adam* vowed to keep this information fresh in his mind at all times, even once writing it on the outside of a Valentine’s Day gift as wrapping paper decoration. I expected it to hurt, and it did. I didn’t expect to be so sad afterward. It wasn’t because I had been expecting to enjoy it, or because it hurt, or even that I’d done it with the wrong person. I was sad because a large portion of my life previously had been defined by my virginity. I used my virginity as a way to assure people that I wasn’t a slut. I used it as a moral stepping stone over whoever I was talking to. “Oh, you’re a virgin too? Well, I’ve never hooked up with a guy I’d just met out at the Street.” I, like the rest of society, placed this magical value on virginity, of being unpenetrated, of being unsullied. I rolled away from Adam and remained silent. “What’s wrong?” he asked. “I don’t know….” I replied.

I’d spent so much time being a virgin, so much time talking about sex incessantly and claiming to be so sexually open and yet, still maintaining some higher, holier-than-thou sense of purity that really only functioned to attract men more. I felt as if my title, my social status, one of the key lenses through which I saw myself had been taken away from me in a matter of minutes, and there was no going back. I could no longer say, “yes, but, I’ve never had sex” again, and for some reason that bothered me. Sound like a depressing account of a girl who’s had sex too soon? Absolutely not. Any change that occurs in life, good or bad, can send you into a tailspin. Questions of identity are bound to arise, and that’s hard to deal with, if even for a moment. I did lose something that afternoon, but it’s not something I want back. For so long, I thought that sex, or rather, not having sex was so important, and coming out on the other side, I realized, it wasn’t nearly as dear to me as I once believed. I made the mistake of defining myself as A Virgin instead of just adding it to the list of the many temporary parts of my identity.

Feeding into society’s hypocritical hype about casual sex and meaningful sex, the emotional damage it can do and the pleasure it can bring, I expected WAY too much from the experience. My thought afterward was, “That’s it? This is what people have been agonizing over and arguing about for centuries?” I could only imagine my disappointment on my honeymoon night, dressed in Victoria’s Secret’s brightest and whitest, full of rehearsed clichés (“I’ve been waiting for this moment for so long…”), so excited to “give myself” to my new husband, only to find out that he’s awful in bed, and it’s not the magical union I was told it would be. Of course I want the sex on my wedding night to be special. I’ve been told that it should be for all my life. I also want it to be good, and let’s be honest, first time sex is often uncomfortable at best. You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it, and cars rarely make it through a decade, why the hell wouldn’t you test-fuck your possible life partner?

It should be clear by now that I think of this blog as a way to (hopefully) serve the open-minded and curious (regardless of personal experiece) of Princeton, and of course in ways, battle with those who spread the lie that by choosing to do what I want with my body, I am immoral, disrespecting myself, disrespecting my future husband, or ruining my ability to truly love someone. In (brief) response, I have this to say:

Sex won’t make someone love you or not love you. Not having sex won’t make your relationship truer or longer lasting. Not having sex won’t equalize the feelings a couple has for each other. A couple’s connection, chemistry, and common interests will. I do think that sex is special, and I don’t have it with any and every guy I’m attracted to. Every man is different, every connection is different, sex and sexual acts are new and different with every partner. I don’t feel as if I’m spoiling my future husband’s special physical connection to me by having sex now, because I know that with him, it’ll be unlike anything I’ve experienced before. I’ll know this because I’ll have slept with him beforehand.

*Name has been changed


Anonymous said...

Much applause to you for your sincere, honest, and open thoughts which will (or at least should) increase intelligent dialogue of sex on campus. And the "why the hell wouldn't you test-fuck your possible life partner" quote surely has to be one of the year's best.

EK Black said...

Totally agree with anonymous above. This is really wonderful news for Princeton.

It is interesting to me that you do seem to assume that you will be one day married--I wonder how many of the other young people around us also share this understanding?

Julianna said...

This writing is every average high-school/college woman rolled up into one bland faux-adventure story. Like to kiss girls at parties? Check. Need a new vibrator? Check. Wow, there's even a porno or two. That's not a "Prude Gone Wild," that's Jane Doe.
There is nothing new here - hell, I received the test-drive advice from my own mother over 20 years ago.
This says a lot about your targeted audience, which I am assuming is the Princeton campus - just how sheltered are they?

sambucivox said...

Wow, I never knew that so much neuroticism could be applied to sex. I agree with julianna's comment; is the world of Princeton girls so small that you have to convince them that owning a vibrator is not a mortal/social sin? I found this blog a bit modern-day 50's documentary about sexual intercourse. That bit about having pre-marital sex was hilarious, too. Who isn't having pre-marital sex nowadays? From my point of view, this first entry could only be saved if you had defended the "keep the chastity bell, girl" position or substituted the word "sex" with the word "death", which is something that also happens in Real Life. Daily. And eventually, to Everyone.

Anonymous said...

"Who isn't having pre-marital sex nowadays?" Who isn't using a vibrator?

Umm, I'm not, I don't, and neither are/do my friends. But that's not to say that Princeton girls are repressed, or that it's fair for you to lump them all into a single category of sexual experience.

We're at Princeton because we decided--in the same years we were maturing and developing social and sexual identities--that education ought to be our first priority. Everyone arrived with a set of ideals, shaped by their environment (like me watching an alarming percentage of my friends drop out of high school to raise their new babies), their upbringing (like your mother telling you to "test-drive" or "test-fuck" your potential partners), religious beliefs, etc. Some were already having sex and obviously still are, at various levels of discretion. Some weren't having sex, and still aren't. Some because they're still wearing their virginity like a badge of honor, and some for the simple and respectable reason that they haven't found anyone worthy of the kind of emotional investment that inevitably comes with it. It's undeniable: sex makes things complicated, not always in some detrimental way, but it does.

So, before casting judgment on the lot of girls at Princeton, for heaven forbid being so sheltered or repressed as to not own a vibrator or kiss other girls, consider that any college campus is a microcosm of the wider society. The columnist isn't every high school/college woman, she is an individual. Her purpose in sharing her experiences and outlooked (which have obviously expanded since coming to Princeton) is to open the dialogue for students at all levels of experience.

Anonymous said...

If there is anything powerful about the idea of opening up this dialogue, it is nothing unique to this author. The writing is nowhere near fitting of the personal nature of the story she shares, the flippant tone seems almost intended to divert readers away from the seriousness of so personal a sharing. I would agree that it's high school paper worthy. The closest thing to value here is her willingness to share her particular thoughts. The buried anecdotal honesty in this article is the only thing worth salvaging.

That said, if the strength of this story is intimate anecdote, the Prince could do more dialogue-beginning with a series of anonymous articles by many authors detailing many experiences. I don't know how much value can be created by this one author, based on what has been written here.

phluffyphia said...

Writing style aside, this was excellent. While a bisexual and hating when girls kiss me "just for fun" I really relate to how women are taught to carry their virginity around like a shield or talisman warding off all possible sexual inuendo about their identity.
I was raised Catholic and had gone to all the youth ministry conferences and listened to these people convince me that I wanted to wait. Well, I did want to wait, but I waited until I was ready, not my church. I am now post-catholic and part of a very fulfilling open relationship. I've discovered that sex is a large part of who I am. Some people are really into sports, others love working out, I love sex. I try to learn everything I can about it, I believe in information just as much as I believe in education, because that's what it is and that's what missing: the forum of ideas on sex. I think the author of this piece is correct in saying that no matter who's doing it and not doing it and for whatever reason, we don't talk about it and we really need to. I hate that I have to worry about making people feel uncomfortable, but then I tell myself, why should anyone feel uncomfortable? It's sex.
Instead of giving people deadlines, like marriage, or college, or when you're 18, we need to impress upon the populace that because sex is different for everyone, the time that's right to take the plunge is different for everyone too. If we don't let people know that that's okay, we're going to keep having the disconnect between the presence of sex in society and the dialogue that shoul accompany it.

Anonymous said...

It's good to see your holier than though attitude hasn't followed you to your non-virgin self...

And just so you know, I feel pity that you haven't met someone that you could eye fuck the shit out of and know they would be great in bed, even if they are virgins.

Hate to say it, but chemistry undeniably will make for good sex life, you don't need to test-fuck anything, you got the rest of your married life to find out how to please each other in just the right ways. And I also hate to break it to you, but it's doubtful you're going to get a sweet orgasm on your honeymoon, no matter how experience your chum is. Fact is, every woman/man is different and it takes time to get to know each other, no matter what the level of experience. But then again I don't know why I'm arguing with someone that has no intelligence on the subject...

Anonymous said...

i can't read all this.

Claudia said...

You know, I'm one of those people that are waiting, and I have to say that I do agree with you on the fact that we use our virginity as a shield. But, I'm not doing it because of my society, I'm doing it because sex is something special. Your post made sex seem like this everyday thing that you share with people you meet randomly on the street. If that was the case, then sex wouldn't lead to deadly diseases and pregnancies. Granted, I am very religious, and that has affected the way I think. But, I'm not waiting until I'm married, I'm just waiting until I'm in a serious and committed relationship. It's OK if you have sex with two people, or three, but when you're at 10 and 20, well there's something really wrong with that. And, I'm not just saying it about women, the same applies to men. Sex, at least I believe, is special. What's so special if you've shared it with twenty different people. You can "test-fuck" your partner, but like you said sex won't make you fall out of love with them, so even if they do wait until marriage, it wont change their opinion. You are contradicting yourself in this post. It's this type of attitude that has increased divorce, teen pregnancy, and STD rates in America.

I'm eighteen, and I've never had sex. I've read about it, I've talked about it, I've imagined it, but I've never done it. Am I a prude? Sure, you can call me that. That doesn't bother me half as much as sleeping around would.