Is your name Carrie? Are your best friends Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte? Do you live in a fictionalized Manhattan where a freelance writer can afford a closet-full of designer shoes? No? Then you probably don’t have weekly brunches with your girlfriends where you talk freely (but cleverly) about your sex life. The truth is, you may talk to your friends about if you are having sex but odds are the conversation doesn’t go beyond that. Why is that? I’m not entirely sure, but my best guess is this: as girls we walk a strange line, if you avoid sex you’re a prude but if you admit that you enjoy it, you’re a slut. I could go on about the sexism in this but that’s besides that point. For a lot of us, college is where we are really figuring all this out. In that vein here are the 10 things every college girl needs to know about sex.
1. Never have sex unless you want to.
While I hope everyone knows this, it bears repeating NO MEANS NO. However this point is about more than that. I don’t care if you’ve never had sex or if you’ve had it a hundred times you should never feel like you have to sleep with someone. Do not have sex with someone because you are worried they will leave you if you don’t. Don’t sleep with someone because you think you’re “supposed” to. At the same time if you and your partner want to sleep together don’t let perceptions about what you’re “supposed” to do prevent you from doing it.
2. Be Safe
Again, this should be a no brainer, but it isn’t. Always use a condom. I don’t care if you’re on the pill or some other form of birth control, only a condom is going to protect you from an STD. Don’t even think about not using one until you are in a committed EXCLUSIVE relationship where both of you are STD free. If that happens, remember to continue to use your birth control consistently (like taking your pill at the same time everyday) because no one likes a pregnancy scare. Also, Plan B, while an important tool if the condom breaks or your normal form of birth control fails, should not be your Plan A for preventing pregnancy.
3. Sleeping with someone will not make them fall in love with you
It seems like a regular plot point in romantic comedies is the protagonist realizing they love someone after they sleep together. This is not how it works in real life. If the object of your affection isn’t into you romantically, sleeping together is not going to change that; you’ll just end up hurt and disappointed.
4. Know your boundaries
This varies from person to person. It can be anything from “I won’t sleep with someone until we’re in a committed relationship” to “I only will sleep with one person at a time.” Figure them out for yourself and stick to them.
5. Keep an open mind…
There is a lot more to sex than the “birds and the bees” talk you got from your parents or in your sexual education classes. So the odds are good that at some point you will have a partner who will want you to try something that gives you pause. Don’t let them pressure you and then think about why you’re uncomfortable. Don’t just shoot them down, keep an open mind about why they want whatever it is. If you can wrap your head around it give it a try.
6. But if something makes you uncomfortable, your partner should respect that
This is a corollary to number 5. If you tried something and didn’t like it or if you really can’t bring yourself to try it, that’s perfectly ok. Once you’ve told your partner, they should drop it and not pressure you to do the thing that you don’t want to do.
7. Life is not porn
You are not a porn star. It’s not all perfectly positioned and sans mishaps. So while porn has its place, it shouldn’t really be how you form your bedroom expectations.
8. Don’t listen to Cosmo
Most of Cosmopolitan magazine’s sex tips are laughably bad. Take this for example “slip a doughnut around his penis, and slowly eat it off.” I’ll wait while you laugh. I don’t know about you but I don’t find anything sexy about doughnuts. Not to mention there is a reason the first rule of blowjobs is keep your teeth out of it, you don’t want him screaming in pain (unless you two are into BDSM, but that’s a topic for a whole different post).
9. Oral Sex is Sex
I don’t care what Bill Clinton said when talking about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. I would actually put oral sex past straight up intercourse on the intimacy scale. That aside, remember while oral sex is a slightly lower risk activity than intercourse you can still get plenty of sexually transmitted diseases.
10. Have fun
Sex is supposed to be fun. If it wasn’t we wouldn’t do it except to procreate. While it is normal to feel anxious about your performance, especially when sleeping with a new partner, that anxiety is going to keep you from enjoying yourself. Plus you want to be able to laugh when one of you invariably falls off the bed or the position you’re trying is super awkward.