Spoiler alert: I don’t have the answer. We live in a sensitive world, and sex is a sensitive topic. Ultimately, your sex life and your beliefs are your own business. There shouldn’t be rules to sex; it should be a natural thing. Whether you practice abstinence or you have the occasional one-night-stand, if that’s what makes you happy then that’s all that should matter.
“I think sex is not something that should be taken lightly. You should have sex whenever you want to, but for the right reasons. If you’re trying to fill some kind of void, casual sex will not help you,” said Duquesne sophomore Alex Corrie.
When we’re younger, we’re taught that having sex is a huge step in a relationship and that we should only sleep with another person if they’re that “someone special.” Our upbringing plays a big role in our view on sex; our religion and environment help shape our opinions on the topic. The lessons from our parents and the religions we practice help mold our views.
I was always taught that sex is a natural thing, and it’s my own opinion on what I want to do as long as I’m being safe and mature with my decisions. People I’ve met who are highly religious sometimes practice abstinence, while others are more free and open with their sex life. With these opposing ideas, we’re left making these decisions based on our own judgment.
Penn State sophomore Logan Handwerk said, “A good rule of thumb is to stick to the 3-5 date rule,” while sophomore Matthew Davis said he sticks to 5-7 dates. Unfortunately, dating culture has nearly died out in our generation. Instead of planned consecutive dates, we “hang out” in groups of people or meet up at parties. It’s hard as college students to find the time—and money—to plan and follow through with true dating. So how are we to gauge how long we should wait before hooking up? “I think it depends on your level of comfort with the situation. It shouldn’t matter whether you sleep together on the first date or the fifty-first date. It’s whatever you feel comfortable with,” said Nicole Coddington, a sophomore at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
The media has greatly skewed our ideas about dating and sex. Instead of dating, we “talk” and utilize dating apps such as Tinder to easily make connections with other people. We’re exposed to music and movies promoting the hookup culture. Rappers preach about getting with new girls every day and when we hear that, it seems like the thing to do. However, it’s still not uncommon to hear of those who practice abstinence or those who stick to a certain amount of dates before getting intimate.
“I stay abstinent because when it comes down to it, I believe sex ties to you to someone in a certain way for the rest of your life,” said Morgan LeVeille, a sophomore at Southeastern University. “It was created as a way for two people to avoid ‘just growing apart’ from each other and to help marriages last through tough, dry times. That’s why I wait, because when I commit to loving someone for the rest of my life I want that bond to be as strong as possible.”
Every person you meet might have a different view on sex, but instead of acknowledging our differences, we quickly jump to voice our opinions on each other’s lifestyles. Words like “slut” “whore” and “prude” need to stop being thrown around in reference to other girls. Whether somebody has slept with a dozen people or is still a virgin, it’s nobody’s business to comment and put another person down.
“Sex to some people is an extremely intimate act and then to others strictly for pleasure,” said Penn State sophomore Molly Swanson. “Take Samantha and Charlotte from Sex and the City for example, they have completely different outlooks on sex but always are offering one another support and advice. Women today should follow in their footsteps of accepting each other’s sexual differences.”
When I was in high school, I was slut-shamed for being with my long-time boyfriend after a few months. I had friends stop talking to me, nasty comments written in my yearbook and I was too afraid to even confide in my mom (and if anybody knows me, they know I tell my mom everything).
People can be cruel, but the lesson I learned from that is that you’re going to be judged no matter what you do. Everybody loves everybody else’s business.. Whether you decide to have sex with someone after the first date or decide to not have sex until marriage, you will be judged. You just need to keep in mind that others’ opinions are simply that–opinions, and they’re not something to be worried about.
“There is a double standard where guys are looked at as triumphant for getting with numerous girls, and girls are degraded for having sex just for the hell of it,” said PSU sophomore Celia Wittrock. “Evolutionarily speaking, guys are meant to spread their genes, and girls are meant to commit to one man and bear children. Slut-shaming can be claimed as evolutionary. Everybody is guilty of it at one point or another, but that doesn’t make it right.”
Ultimately, the decision to sleep with another person is your own. Do what makes you happy and always protect your feelings. Don’t let those who shame keep you down, and don’t comment on the actions of other people. Remember, it’s none of your business.