I have been writing this column for over two years. There is no way I could have known becoming a Behind Closed Doors columnist my sophomore year would affect my life and my personality in so many ways. It has been a wonderful two years filled with awkward sex stories, some hate mail and a lovely response piece in The Botetourt Squat. While I wouldn’t change a single second of it, there are some things I wish I had known before agreeing to become a campus sexpert:
- Writing Behind Closed Doors is nothing like being Carrie in Sex and the City. Your friends will not like you if you use their real names in your column — even if their stories are absolutely hilarious.
- The people you desperately want to read your column will never mention it to you. On the other hand, all the people you would never, in a million years, want to read your column (your boss, the football team, a few of your professors) will want to discuss it at length.
- If you write a column about period sex, expect people to continue to associate your name with it two years later.
- Everyone who hears you write a sex column is going to want to tell you their most intimate sex stories. Get ready to know far too much about complete strangers.
- When you write a sex column, thinking about sex becomes your full-time job. Expect your libido to increase exponentially. Expect everyone else’s libido to be inversely affected. After all, you did write a column about period sex.
- Any semblance of a filter you may once have had simply no longer exists once you start telling strangers about every awkward sexual encounter you’ve ever had. Anything that now seems like normal dinner conversation isn’t.
- Don’t share your computer with anyone. Your browser history makes you look sexually deviant. Additionally, expect to get very strange looks in airports from old ladies who happen to look over your shoulder and inadvertently read all about boners and lady parts.
- You will find awesome resources about sexual health. You should share them with other people: http://goaskalice.columbia.edu is an amazing site about sex education in general and has answers to just about everything. Also, http://plannedparenthood.org has lots of relevant information with a great search engine.
- You will find that you have way more feelings about things going on around you, especially things related to relationships between people, like body image, street harassment and sexual assault. You will find that you feel more empowered to talk about them, and more inclined to do something about them. It’s not a bad thing.
- People aren’t going to agree with you all the time, but even if you just change one person’s perspective about one thing, you will feel like you did something. (Seriously guys, period sex really is okay.)
- When people do disagree with you, it can get nasty. You will have loads of amazing editors who have your back — completely unexpectedly, and even without your asking.
- Your boyfriend will be weirdly supportive of your desire to tell the entire world about your sex life. His friends will not be. They will read one column about him and then never talk about it again, because none of them want to know that much about his lovemaking techniques.
- Similarly, your mother will want to read your column. She is so proud your name is in print. She will, however, stop after reading an article about shower sex. There are some mental images you just can’t un-see.
- Writing about sex teaches you a lot about yourself. I learned a lot about my own preferences and attitudes, which allowed me to change some of my sexual shortcomings and open myself up to having the kind of sex I want to have — communicative, consensual and safe.
So thanks to the editors who had my back, my friends who were never stingy on the sexy stories, and the guys who can never remember meeting me but always remember my period sex article. Stay sexy, William and Mary.
Tyna H. is a Behind Closed Doors columnist and she is working on her dinner conversation skills.