The Happy Trail

Another sexy year at Puget Sound

Puget Sound is a sexy, sexy place. In order to get in on the sexy action, there are a few basic concepts on which all students should have a firm grasp before embarking on their sexual conquests – consent, open communication, and diversity of sexual expression.

Consent is rule number one when it comes to gettin’ down. In fact, call it rule zero. Sex without consent is not sex, it is rape.

One of the most well-known slogans of consent culture is the phrase, “No Means No,” which is absolutely true – no means no, not “try harder” or “ask again later.” At Puget Sound, though, we also advocate firmly for “Yes Means Yes.” This means that the absence of a “no” is not consent. Only an enthusiastic “YES!” means yes.

Getting consent is fairly easy, it only requires that people communicate with each other. Ask questions like, “Do you like it when I kiss your neck?”, “Can I suck on your nipples?”, and the classic “Hey, wanna fuck?” Even just moving your hand to a new part of the body and looking at your partner with eyebrows raised can nonverbally indicate “Is this okay?” Read their face for consent – if the person looks uncomfortable or unsure at all, stop and go back a step.

If alcohol is involved, giving and getting consent can be tricky. According to the law, if a person is mentally incapacitated, they cannot give consent. When it comes to drugs and alcohol, if the person cannot stand up, walk straight, or speak without slurring their words, they are too intoxicated to give consent.

Communicating openly about your feelings and expectations is also extremely important when it comes to navigating sexual relationships. Whether the person is your sweetheart, fuck buddy, friend with benefits or a casual fling, being honest and upfront about what you plan to bring to the relationship can help dispel confusion and avoid heartbreak.

It may not feel like a lot of fun having to talk about “serious stuff” with someone with whom you have a casual relationship, but it does not necessarily have to be serious.  It can be very helpful (and even boost people’s self esteem!) to emphasize the things you like about the relationship. One example is, “I really love that what we have is fun and casual.”

Conversely, if you want to communicate that you’re interested in making the relationship less casual, you could say, “I really care about you. You’re a fun/smart/sexy/interesting person” or “I feel really great when I’m around you.” Making yourself vulnerable can be really scary, but the people who accept you for who you are when you are vulnerable are the ones who are worth your time. You are perfect as you are and do not need to convince anyone of that.

Another thing that people on campus may feel vulnerable about is being open about their sexual/relationship preferences. Puget Sound works tirelessly to provide an environment that is accepting and inclusive of all people regardless of their lifestyle. That is why it is so important to keep an open mind about who or what people like to do in and outside of the bedroom.

Slut-shaming, homophobia, and prejudice of any kind is unacceptable at Puget Sound. People fear what they do not understand – misunderstanding is the root of prejudice. So, instead of criticizing people for the choices they make or for their preferences, try instead to ask respectful questions in order to understand their perspective. Everyone has the right to respect, no matter where you live, and at Puget Sound we strongly value respectful inquiry and understanding.

Whether you are queer, straight, asexual, cisgender, trans*, kinky, vanilla, monogamous, polyamorous, slutty, virginal, or anything in between, you have a part to play in making the sexual atmosphere on this campus safe, consensual, free of shame, and downright orgasmic.