It’s been a long day.
You had a midterm at 8:30 a.m. which you bombed. They ran out of your favourite Centre Stage meal at the cafeteria and oh – your roommate is mad you left dirty dishes in the sink (again).
You need to do something – anything – to get rid of the tension.
Sometimes that ‘something’ is physical.
“I’ve had sex with guys who I’ve had no emotional attachment with when I’m sober,” said one female St. Thomas University student.
“We literally just want to have sex.”
The university years are said to be the period of time when you find yourself. You come to know your interests, and focus on who you like to spend your time with.
Many come to grips with their sexuality during those ‘promiscuous college years,’ as TV shows and movies portray. Who and what you like becomes built into your identity, and being away from home lets you explore without the prying eyes of family.
“I went from one extreme to the next in four years,” the young woman said. “Whether it’s good or not, we’ll find out in a few years. But I came to university a virgin from a Catholic school who didn’t want to have sex until I was married. Now I act the way I do and I’m pretty promiscuous, I would say.”
Men and women share similar experiences in university. But when it comes to sexuality, the perception of most college hook-ups tends to be geared towards male dominance. As with Prince Harry’s recent nude photo scandal, society is willing to admit ‘boys will be boys’. It’s a different story for women.
The STU student said she knew guys who slept with two or three girls a weekend all summer, exchanging stories after the hook-ups and congratulating each other. When she slept with a guy and the news leaked, however, she was labelled a slut.
“People think, ‘There must be something wrong with her if she’s doing all the initiating,’” she said. “Society views men as initiators of sexual relations as opposed to women. I definitely think there’s a double standard.”
The view of women being frantic to enter relationships and grab the proverbial wedding bouquet are waning from university campuses. Other female STU students told me while they’re not against being in a relationship, being single can often be easier long-term.
“On a bigger scale you’re not tied down in any way. At this point, I’m young and I should be able to do what I want. If I want to travel or seek job opportunities in other parts of the country or the world I’m not saying, ‘No, I have to stay here… with the man that I love,’ one said with a laugh.
And it’s not only attitudes concerning the future that are changing. When it comes to hook-ups, women are more likely to pursue what they want instead of waiting for men to approach them.
“I like it because it makes me feel like I’m in control of the situation,” said the former Catholic school student. “If a guy’s hitting on me and he wants to get in my pants it’s like, ‘You have to convince me. I say yes or no and if I say yes it’s because I want it.
“When I sleep with guys that’s usually how I am – I’m like, ‘You are fucking lucky.’”
She said she feels comfortable with her body despite occasional thoughts of being overweight or out of shape. She always has sex with the lights on and said watching the guy enjoy himself is half the fun.
Her friends differ in their opinions about her lifestyle. Some say they could never envision having sex without an emotional connection while others, she said, say ‘Good on you!’
She said she would never consider having casual sex without birth control and would never take home a stranger. One girl I spoke to said the practice was too dangerous – if you met the person that night you shouldn’t even consider going home with them.
All the girls I talked to had a story about being approached at the bar, but few had similar sexual experience levels. One told me her reaction to a group of guys coming towards her is sheer panic.
You’re at Zee’s, I said. You’re out with your girlfriends, the music is blaring, bodies are bumping into each left and right and a few guys walk towards you.
What do you do?
“I think, ‘Oh no,’” she laughed. “It’s never like, ‘Score, cute boys!’ I’m very much of the standpoint that anyone I would actually want to be in a relationship with I would never meet at iRock. That’s never going to happen.
“Even if I’m at the bar dancing with a guy, if I don’t know them I never let it go more than a song or two because I don’t want to give them the wrong idea. ‘No, there’s nothing happening here. I’m not going home with you. We’re not going to fall in love.’”
One male STU alumnus said he doesn’t believe women consider hooking up as a male-dominated situation anymore. As a rule of thumb, he said, girls are just as excited to take part in the mating dance.
“There are types of guys who go out to get laid and there are types of girls who go out to get laid,” he said. “I think the perception is definitely shifting. I’ve heard several men referred to as man-whores and this is viewed with derision by females – just like a bunch of guys saying, ‘Oh yeah, she’s a slut,’ amongst dudes. There’s an evening of the playing field, so to speak.”
One girl pointed out the emergence of Fifty Shades of Grey, the hottest-selling book in North America as of late. Men are shocked women are reading what they deem porn for females, she said. Though many women are still resistant to identify as a sexually powerful person, it’s come a long way.
Nora Johnson wrote an article in the Nov. 1957 issue of The Atlantic magazine called “Sex and the College Girl.” In the piece she noted the two greatest criticisms of college students were that they were either too promiscuous, or getting married and having children too early.
Catholic School said she was teased for being a virgin in her first year, but now gets flack for having casual sex. You can’t ever win, she said.
“On either end of the spectrum you have to find a happy medium.”