Archive for September, 2007
My boy has a consistent bedtime routine: He brushes his teeth, sets his alarm and logs on to ESPN.com to check his fantasy baseball ranking and the homepage of his beloved Astros. I quickly learned I could tease him about his OCD-esque nightly redundancy, but I could never slight his Houston heroes.
What he liked sexually in the bedroom proved harder to learn.
As a sex columnist and general sexual connoisseur, I was naturally eager to hear exactly what he’s into.
“I don’t know,” he responded, turning away from me in bed. “The normal stuff, I guess.” He started snoring five minutes later.
I remained vigilant but downtrodden. Sadly, because of societal taboos, much of our sexual selves remains cloaked in darkness, lit only by the dim, neon glow of a computer screen streaming porn when we’re alone.
My theory regarding both relationships and sex, however, is that they thrive on communication and honesty.
I asked my boy what he liked not only because I want to please him, but also because it would open up the discussion to explain what I like.
Wouldn’t we both be more satisfied if we each got what we wanted (within reason) out of our sex life? Wouldn’t we all?
Sadly, however, it’s a slippery slope, and many of us are afraid of being embarrassed or judged.
So how do you talk to your partner about what you really want in bed?
Lying in my own bed right after he closed his laptop, I opened up. I discovered that by beginning the sharing, I could both break the ice and set the pattern of acceptance. He quickly followed suit.
While it’s often easy to share your favorite movies or best childhood memories, delving into the sexual subconscious is understandably more difficult.
The boy and I were luckily able to talk openly, and we decided together what to venture into.
My friend found herself in the same predicament when she started dating her boyfriend a few months ago. She decided to gauge her new guy’s response to her favorite fantasy by hiding it in a story about one of her friends.
“Jessica is really into ______,” she slyly suggested. “She is trying to get this new guy she’s seeing into it also. What do you think she should do?”
Opening up dialogue is key, and sometimes avoiding the first person and making insinuations allows discussions to flow with ease. Amazingly, your partner is probably not as dense as you think.
Try renting porn with that particular act or scenario in it. Visit X-Mart. Where better to begin a discussion about sex than in a sex store?
I don’t at all advocate sacrificing your own internal compass or engaging in anything you’re not completely comfortable with, but be open enough to consider experimenting.
The Astros may not make the playoffs this season, but at least now my own sex life is a home run.
Yesterday at UF, Senator and former Presidential hopeful John Kerry came to speak. When student Andrew Meyer went to ask a question the below event ensued. I was not at the event, and while I don’t necessarily condone Meyer’s bombastic tactics towards addressing the Senator, I view the below events as completely unwarranted and frankly reprehensible. Judge for yourself:
what many of you blog readers don’t know is that I also write a weekly column for my college newspaper. indeed what I love about this blog is that most of the columns and commentaries I post here are the uneditted versions of those and as such I can be a bit more blunt.
my last column, the hookup piece that is posted below, fueled some nasty comments from readers of the newspaper’s online site. it also sent me some interesting Facebook messages and promoted a very complimentary Letter to the Editor in my defense.
still, I felt my own voice needed to be heard. I just now (read 6 minutes ago) sent the following to my editor in the hopes that it will be publised and my message (and yes somewhat selfishly me own repuation) will be clarified and defended.
below, is that attempt. enjoy.
IN DEFENSE OF MY COLUMN AND MYSELF
In the past I have abstained from further comments on my articles. I think most speak for themselves. However, I couldn’t resist defending my September 19 column.
I recently had a friend who, gasp, was a former hookup partner of mine, stop me on Gameday to tell me he didn’t like this past week’s column very much. Everyone he knows engages in hook ups to some degree, he said, I was simply stating the obvious.
The reaction I have received regarding this column, however, speaks to the contrary.
From people stopping me on the street to random Facebook messages, a letter to the editor and a dozen comments posted on the online version of my column seem to signal that my intent on writing the column is justified – people all have opinions on hookups.
My aim in writing the column was two-fold.
For one, I always try to examine an issue that appeals to a large cross-section of students, and I think this does. I find it less than ironic that most of the negative feedback has come from the alumni, while much of the positive reaction has come from currently enrolled students.
I’m not at all saying that there are not important lessons to be learned from the past. I’m a history major who tried to put the whole “phenomena” into context by using an example from our not so distance past.
My own mother (who was a college student during the early ‘70s and is probably my biggest critic) read the piece and thought I had an excellent point, her only substantial comment being that “pu pu platter” was not spelled “puu puu platter,” an error which the keen copy editors at the newspaper thankfully caught.
My second aim is probably more important. I was trying to preach acceptance. I make it very clear that key to the hookup is safety (using condoms, birth control, etc.) and willingness (not being too drunk, not feeling peer pressure, etc.). I do agree that without those essential elements a hookup is not worth it.
Lastly, I want to address those who personally attacked me. Not that I care, but my boyfriend does. You see I am currently in a committed relationship. This article has less to do with my own sexual history and more to do with acceptance of a lifestyle that is very common on college campuses nationwide.
To those who wonder who would marry me, let me reiterate that my significant other knows about my past, I know about his. Perhaps shocking to some, he likes me because of my honesty, open-mindedness and wit and does not chastise me for my past, conscious choices. Truth is they all led me to have a successful relationship with him. Couldn’t many of you alumni say the same? Is a large part of college not experimentation meant to direct the course of the rest of your life?
Perhaps the column was more necessary then my friend (former hookup) acknowledged.
Hookups are part of our collegiate culture; I won’t back peddle on that. Why not try to then lift them from their subversiveness and accept people who engage in all realms of sexual behavior? Once again, safety for one’s sexual and mental wellbeing, as well as that of others, is pivotal.
A healthy attitude regarding sexuality is crucial to our societies success. Everyone engages in sex, it’s what life is, why then do people feel the need to make other’s feel shameful for what they feel or want? The only answer I can think to offer is fear.
Call me a slut if you wish, I truly take it as a badge of honor now. Because if the word slut denotes voicing your opinion, wishing for sexual equality among sexes and being a proponent of all types of sexual lifestyles, then I will proudly wear that title.
Thank you Michael Walker for reminding me why I love my job and why a sex column, which is deemed purely fluffy entertainment by some (and to my own omission sometimes is), is also so important. We all still have so much to learn and discuss.
Everywhere I turn it seems someone (usually someone older than 30) is bashing the so-called “hookup culture.” And yet I know only a handful of people who don’t somehow engage in it.
As I’ve come to know it, a “hookup” is a catchall phrase for a brief sexual encounter ranging from kissing to intercourse. “Subversive,” “demoralizing” and “unfulfilling” are the terms most associated with the act. For women especially, the stigma is intense.
To the critics, I offer this: You are retrograde and narrow-minded.
In the 1960s counterculture, the idea of “free love” was conceived and immediately linked with promiscuity and deviance. But “free love” was much more than that. It never advocated unhealthy sexual relationships. Instead, it advanced the idea that love and sexual relationships should be free of government and religious jurisdiction.
“Free love” allows me to have this very job because it attempted to lift the taboo associated with allowing sex to be a normal part of public discourse.
Hookups today are similarly attacked for not falling within society’s predefined courtship patterns.
I can’t help but think there’s more than one way to skin a cat.
For as long as I can remember, education has taught us there is no set way of doing things. Who’s to say that our hookup culture is not making us more sexually savvy?
For me, hookups have been both rewarding and unsatisfying experiences. I have learned a good deal about myself sexually, have felt powerful and sexy by engaging in a sexual act for only the pure pleasure it brings, and have freed up time I would usually spend fostering a relationship, devoting it instead to my schoolwork and career aims.
At the same time, I have felt sad on some occasions when my hookup partner did not call me or when I craved a deeper emotional connection. But can’t the same sentiments be applied to so-called “normal” relationships as well? There will always be favorable returns as well as disappointments in any relationship.
The basic question I see here is this: Can sex, or more broadly, sexual acts without love, still be gratifying? For me, the answer is a resounding yes. For others, that is not always the case – and that is perfectly acceptable too.
Maybe what’s lacking in our culture’s view on sexuality is an open mind for people who engage in both hookups and traditionally defined relationships.
As long as you are engaging in an act of your own free will while being safe doing so, is it really so harmful? Central to that equation is communication, which is the cornerstone to all relationships.
Perhaps I simply view “the hookup” as another item to be enjoyed on the sexual pu pu platter.
Like “free love” before it, hookups extol an important virtue: Love and sex exist in various forms, none of which should be judged or controlled.
I had an entirely different column written and submitted to my editor a few hours before my Tuesday 5 p.m. deadline. It was about trusting your gut when it comes to the dating realm.
Truth is, I was denying mine.
Over the last few weeks I have casually been seeing a new guy. Casually would be an understatement. When he texts, I roll my eyes. Calls me, I cringe. Tries to kiss me, I back away.
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I am completely terrified of letting go of my single status.
What’s weird is that I always know what guidance to give my friends regarding dating or how to maneuver any sexual situation. I’m the go-to gal when answers are needed about your relationship.
So why can I never heed my own advice?
Why is beginning a relationship so scary?
I have completely engineered the entire situation with my new man. When I am out and drunk and want some attention, I call him. When I need a large object in my house moved, he’s the one to do it. When I’m feeling bad about myself, he’s there.
Yes, I’m a horrible bitch. You can send me hate letters.
Thing is, my new guy is incredibly nice. He epitomizes the “good guy” we all search for. He is responsive, communicates constantly, and is beloved by my friends. I have no doubt that he would be here for me.
Having to rely on someone else and to give up my thrill seeking, happy-go-lucky ways is still petrifying to me. But perhaps growing up means not being so inherently selfish?
Maybe when I wrote about trusting your instincts over the opinions of everyone else I failed to realize that I was being hypocritical.
Relationships cannot exist in a bubble; they are subject to the scrutiny of the outside world. Believing in what you have with another person is the only remedy. No one knows what happens in those private hours at night, and no one has to.
My friend cornered me the other day. She likes a guy who she never imagined she would. He’s completely different from her, and she’s completely smitten. Afraid to admit her admiration to others, she asked me what to do.
“It’s so simple,” I sagely suggested, “YOU like him, what more do you need?”
I will acknowledge, like most things, it’s much easier said then done.
For some of us, myself included, the baggage of past relationships makes it difficult to trust. For others it takes strength to accept that someone wants to care for you. Still some are overly concerned about what their peers think.
My initial column was correct in many regards. Trusting your instincts is arguably one of the most difficult aspects of dating. It’s also the most necessary.
There is never a connect-the-dots formula to finding happiness, but what’s beautiful about the process is that sometimes unexpected things happen.
Sometimes columns need rewrites.
*literal “promise ring” i.e., do you promise to do this to me?
*in case you were ever wondering how to classify your kink – boinkology did it for you with this VERY detailed flowchart. gotta say I never knew there was such a thing as balloon fetishes. see, you really do learn something new every day!
* 100 reason’s you’re still single with such gems as “you refuse to remove your Bluetooth earpiece during sex.”
*Playboy creates social networking site to compete with Facebook and Myspace…because poking on Facebook wasn’t enough
*finally, some incentive to do housework – Vortex Vibrations is a new “plastic device made to fit on the end of a vacuum cleaner hose that concentrates the airflow to create a rapid and gentle vibration.” Bonus: supposedly you can climax in 10 seconds
*College gets gender neutral restroom and a gold star from naked on university avenue for being so open and accepting!
mtvU the version of MTV that plays on college campuses nationwide (think inside the Reitz) has a new show with renowned sexpert (and my new Facebook friend!) Dr. Ruth. You should definitely check it out, this week’s short (roughly 4-min) episode asks the question: is college life conducive to abstinence?
SEX CRED WITH DR. RUTH
More incentive to watch? How fabulous would it be to see yours truly on the show?
You know you wanna write in and tell mtvU that UF students, and more aptly their sex lives, need representation!