SEX ISSUE: Talk ‘it’ out
It’s Valentine’s Day. You’re more prone to thinking about love because you’re surrounded by it. You’re more likely to make an advance. If you’re dating someone, you’re likely to take advantage of the love-focused state of the world. And it’s not that I don’t like the “post-bad sexual experience” routine of buying enough chocolate to break the bathroom scale and watching Jane Austen movies where everyone gets what they deserve while complaining that the entire male or female sex is the essence of evil. But, we can easily avoid the pain of these experiences altogether by communicating better and, in the process, save ourselves the state of depression.
In theory, sex should be one of the simplest acts around. From a basic, evolutionary standpoint, we need to create kids to propagate the species and so we are biologically driven to have sex. But everyone knows it’s far more complicated than that. We have sex in order to have children, for pleasure, as an act of love, and simply because it’s Thursday and there’s nothing better to do. The only thing as varied as the reasons people have for wanting sex are the excuses and actual true justifications people give for not wanting to have it. And half of the time it seems like people have sex without really wanting to, or avoid it by giving reasons that have no relationship to the real reason they’re choosing to abstain. Hence the reason sex is an endless subject of gossip.
Let’s play it straight. I know this seems impossible to do. We want to play it cool and pretend we aren’t carrying emotional baggage with the act or we fake some kind of attachment because we don’t want to come off as a jerk.
I remember an awkward incident where I told the individual I was with to just be honest and tell me what he wanted. He said, “there’s no such thing as honesty.” Most of us feel this way, but we’re wrong. The honesty comes when we actually are hurt and throwing chocolate at the television or when we ignore the fifth phone call in a row from the last hook-up that we forgot about the moment it was over. No matter how we play it in the moment, if we have different expectations about what the sex means, as we often do, we’re going to feel the effects of it later.
Preempting this post-sex drama does require risk. It requires stepping out of our comfort zone and making ourselves vulnerable or subjecting ourselves to judgment. It’s not easy and it requires slowing down for a moment to discuss what’s going on, which does have the potential to ruin the moment, particularly if you realize you don’t both assess the same meaning to what’s going on. If you don’t discuss it, you can’t expect your hook-up to call you again, but you also can’t expect her not to hate your guts for not calling again. If you actually take the time to figure out your expectations, even if you do find out you’re on different pages and don’t end up having sex, that ruined moment more than makes up for the ruined moments you’re going to have afterwards when you feel hurt or guilty, and can prevent 90 percent of the midnight bitching sessions.
Jill is a sophomore in Arts & Sciences and a Forum editor. She can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]
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