Behind Closed Doors: A few final sex lessons for the road
April 6, 2010
Dearest readers, it has been my pleasure to serve you for the past two and a half years. This being my last column, it really has me reflecting on what I’ve learned during my time here at the College of William and Mary.
When I showed up in the ’Burg, doe-eyed and horny, I had expectations of a sexual utopia. I knew the College wasn’t exactly the sexiest place in the world, but I was expecting to get laid. A lot. What I found was that doing the dirty takes a lot of work. And the transition from high school hallways and childhood bedrooms to frat parties and dormcest isn’t always an easy one.
Thus, my first lesson: Put the work in. Toss out a bunch of seeds, and see what grows. By this I mean, when you see someone you might be interested in, make sure you leave a possibility there. Who knows? That hot girl in your Intro to Japan class isn’t available now, but next fall you might run into her at a party, and she might be single. Then you can reap the benefits of putting the effort in early.
On the flip side of putting the work in, appreciate when someone else is exerting effort. If you notice that she’s trying to be flirty but kind of failing, help her out. I personally have the policy, “never say no to a date.” If there is no pressing reason not to go out with someone, why not give them a chance? Also, saying ‘yes’ is positive reinforcement, and building someone’s confidence is a worthy cause.
Given my initial naivete and insatiable libido, I was bound to make a few mistakes, which brings me to my next lesson: Look before you screw. The College has a small campus. Gossip spreads quickly, and sometimes it feels like everyone knows everyone. We’re all free to make mistakes — and we all inevitably do — but it is especially important not to embarrass yourself when people are probably going to remember your hookups until you graduate.
My next step was getting into a long-term, serious relationship. Although some people don’t, many find meaningful relationships on campus. This path perhaps isn’t as sexy as being a swinging bachelor/ette, but it can provide interesting and alternative lessons in sexuality. So lesson three is: commit. You may lose time being single, but it’s generally worth it. I spent three years in a relationship — that’s three years I couldn’t have been getting my freak on with random dudes — and it was worth every second. I learned more about myself — and my happy parts — in those three years than I had ever before. Of course, relationships aren’t for everyone. But, what’s the harm in trying?
Lesson four also pertains to relationships, but it’s not quite as positive: Your problems with your partner are not the end of the world. Everything seems so pressing and vital when you’re scrambling to keep a relationship together. Lighten up. We’re college kids. Most of our relationships are doomed to fail from the start. It’s okay to get your heart broken a few times.
Next lesson: Dream big; fantasize about whomever you want. Why not crush on a professor? Oh, he’s got a Ph.D. from the University of Oxford? She’s a prominent art historian? Maturity and accomplishment are often turn-ons. Plus, I promise thinking sexy thoughts about a professor will help you get through class. And you never know what could happen. (Disclaimer: It’s against school policy for you to bump uglies with your professors. Keep that in mind. Also keep in mind that it’s not just twenty-somethings who have urges.)
Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned is number six: Take care of yourself. This means articulating how you are feeling about a sexual encounter. Sexual openness often leads to getting what you want. It also means that you have to learn to assess risks. There are dangers in the sexual world, from rape to STIs, and wishing them away just won’t cut it. Everyone must learn to fend for themselves — whether that means avoiding drinking, going out in big groups, or just popping on a condom. Another aspect of taking care of yourself is learning to laugh at your missteps. It may not seem funny now that you wet the bed, and your one-night stand ran away before you woke up; but give it a few months. In the end, laughing is sometimes all we can do.
It took me a long time to learn number seven: You don’t have to hook up to have fun. Life is not all about sex all the time. Give yourself a break occasionally, and take the pressure off. There are tons of things to do on and off campus that don’t involve insertion.
If there was one piece of advice I could give the entire campus it would be this: Sex is not a competition, and there should never be a battle of the sexes. We are all working together to get our rocks off. Partners don’t have to be squared off against each other or divided into planets. Men and women —and men and men, etc. — are designed to help each other release sexual tensions. We’re all working toward the same goal, so there’s no reason to feel that you’re the opposition.
Lastly, be a dear and pass on the knowledge. If you know how to give women orgasms that make their eyes roll back into their heads, teach your friends. We must all do our part to make sure that sexual information is disseminated and understood. You’d want an older, wiser woman to teach you the ways of the world, wouldn’t you? Why not be that mentor figure to a lonely freshman next year?
All that said, you’ll be fine. William and Mary kids are a whole lot less awkward than they think they are. For me, it’s on to better and bigger things. Thanks for the laughs, the love, and of course, the doggie style.
__Maya Horowitz is the Flat Hat sex columnist. Her inspiring sex columns will continue to appear on adult websites and haunt her professional career for years to come. The complete article is available online at flathatnews.com.__