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What I wish I’d known

Sexy morning after.
Photo by Angela Gzowski

Your dose of our sexy sex column



I’ve been avoiding this column for the last two weeks, not because I don’t love writing about sex, but because I really wanted to articulate what I wish I’d known about sex going into university. There is no way I can accomplish this in totality, but here’s a start, by way of a few things to think about whether you are just starting out, or returning to Dal this September.

Consent: it’s not a one-time thing.

No matter where you are in a sexual experience, you always have the right to end it/say no/leave/peace/G.T.F.O. Consent is a new thing every time, and having sex with someone once does not mean you will get to again. Consenting to one thing is not consenting to all: someone inviting you to sleep over doesn’t mean that they want you in or around their junk.

Often we think we’re ready for consensual sex if we can verbalize the word ‘no’. But real experiences are generally far removed from the talk your R.A. gave you. What if the guy that every girl on your floor is crushing on is in your room with his pants down, mouth locked to yours? How are you going to tell him you want him to use a condom? If your O-Week leader is touching someone while they’re passed out in the lounge, are you going to say anything? If the person you’re fucking asks you to stop just before you get off, what are you going to do? How would you feel about that person? These are all questions that each of us need to grapple with so that when real situations occur where consent is fuzzy, you have an idea of where you stand. This leads me to my next point:

Know what you want, or start figuring it out.

You don’t need to know right away how you feel about every type of sex with every type of person, but start thinking about it. Exploring what you’re into makes it much more likely that you will, (a) have sex you enjoy, and (b) not have sex that makes you feel icky, uncomfortable or grossed out.

Lisa Wade, a sociology professor studying hook-up culture in universities is concerned about the high numbers of students reporting having bad sex their first year at university. I believe this is linked to women in university not viewing sex as something that they want but something they want to be good at. According to Wade, unlike the previous generation of university-goers, the current sexual experiences at university involve less penetrative, penis-in-vagina sex and oral-sex-on-women, and more oral-sex-on-men.

Women going into university often see their sexuality as something to prove, or as something that they need to be good at/empowered by/doing all the time. This unfortunately often leads to women feeling disempowered and not getting off. So whatever you’re doing, just make sure it’s what you and your partner(s) want to be doing and if it’s not, take a note from the previous paragraph and peace!

Your experience is your experience.

There isn’t one model for sex and sexual experiences in university. Some people are having lots of sex and some are having none. Wade found that those with the most active sex lives in their time at university were hooking up with approximately 10 people, which is around three a year.

So next time you hear someone bragging about how many people they’ve hooked up with, keep in mind they are probably bullshitting everyone, including themselves.

Three more quick words of wisdom:

1. The STI talk isn’t just one question. The majority of people potentially carrying STIs (often unknowingly) will say no, of course they don’t have any STIs. Ask more questions: when was the last time they were checked? When was their last sexual partner? What do they do to protect themselves from STIs?

2. The Dal Health Clinic isn’t the only one. Don’t want a male doctor? Don’t want to see the person you’ve been crushing on when you go for your STI tests/morning after pill/IUD consolation? Check out the Halifax Sexual Health Clinic (6009 Quinpool Rd.).

3. The queers are here, I swear! Get in touch with Dal Out (dalout.ca), go visit the LGBTQ Peer Ally (peerally@dal.ca), peruse the LGTBQ library at the Dal Women’s Centre (6286 South St.), or go see a show at the Company House (2202 Gottingen St.).

Have an awesome, sexy first week, Dalhousie!

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