The Happy Trail

Getting down at Puget Sound

Sex. Let’s talk about it. This is the first article of my (hopefully recurring) sex column. I will do my best to be less annoying than Carrie Bradshaw, but no promises. For starters, this column is a personal challenge. Or an inside joke, depending on how you look at it. To be clear, The Trail is not a joke; the joke is that I haven’t exactly had sex. Yet here I am.

That’s the funny thing about sex: the complexity of such a simple act that can make you satisfied or make your life a living hell. Where do I begin? Where should I get my information to present the issues in the fairest light? I will say that this column is going to be biased. I am a straight, single female. This column is ultimately based on what experience I have and what I have heard. I’ll tell you how I see it. You don’t have to agree.

There seems to be a lot of talk about sex around campus, but it’s surprising how little discussion goes on. We should be discussing the nasty parts of doing the ‘nasty.’ Especially the stuff you want to talk about with your friends, but are afraid might gross them out. Let’s get in there and get our hands dirty.

I am curious to get to the bottom of why it is sometimes confusing and uncomfortable to talk about one’s sex life. Yes, it’s personal. And yes, some people like to keep their personal lives to themselves, but is there something else going on? We live in a country where directly contradicting standards are placed on us. Advertisements have provocative images of scantily clad men and women and it is widely known that hormones are a-ragin’ and promiscuity is normal.

To contrast, our country was founded on Christian morals and whether or not you were raised Christian, you have probably been preached to that premarital sex and even masturbation are big fat no-no’s. A natural response to this, in my experience at least, is feeling shame that you may not realize exists. To demonstrate is an anecdote.

I will come out and say it: I masturbate. And I’m a girl. Sorry if you mind just got blown, but you had to find out sooner or later. Not only do I masturbate, but I have since I was little, which is natural. Problem being, I was raised extremely conservative Christian and for a good portion of my childhood, I thought exploring “the Netherlands” made Jesus cry, or something similarly devastating to a 6-year-old mind exposed to Sunday School every week. Moral of the story being, this hesitancy to be open can be rooted deeper than the surface of our consciousness.

If you haven’t totally suppressed puberty and/or middle school dances, you have more than likely fallen on awkward times concerning first kisses, spontaneous boners or being jealous of all the fast bloomers. (I may or may not still be bitter).

Even if you had it all figured out in middle and high school (and if so, I hate you), college is a whole ‘nother story. Sexuality is blossoming (gag) and is an undercurrent of a lot of college activities. Starting out as a freshman, living in co-ed dorms in a party culture can leave you empowered, confused or somewhere in between. And the confusion does not stop the first year.

Is the solution to go wild and sleep with everyone human and willing? Is it to pledge abstinence and avoid all interaction with the sex of your fancy? Probably not. Finding that middle ground can be tough, so turning to your friends and talking about these things without being embarrassed or feeling judged is imperative.

But we need to do more than talk. It seems that conversations concerning sex usually consist of relating abridged versions of recent experiences or complaining of lack thereof, and not enough open discussion. Talk about everything! Are you curious about kinky stuff? Do you need help finding the clitoris? Bring it up. Talk it out. I would be happy if I walked around and heard things that would make my grandmother blush.

Consider it this way: your sex life might be oversharing if on a bus ride or a first date, but hashing out the issues of sex and getting a variety of views is one of the things that makes college at a liberal arts college great. Get more bang for your buck and take advantage of it (in more ways than one).

If you are not sure what to talk about, check back for this column. I want to keep things interesting. If you want to read about period sex, threesomes or sexting, there’s a good chance I’ll write about it.

In the meantime, you could think of your own scandalous topics to discuss and bring it up over coffee or breakfast. A fun pastime is to swap the grossest, most awkward stories you can think of and make a game out of it. Good luck!