The first time I had sex, it was with a senior CMC football player the first semester of my first year. I’m sure it’s not as funny to you all, given my pseudonym and that you don’t know me, but trust me–this was hilarious. He was the last character anyone would ever imagine me sleeping with. People would always ask me why I was wearing a Stags football shirt, and I would gleefully tell them like the chronic over-sharer I am. Ever since then, I’ve noticed a tendency within myself to do things just for the novelty of it.
One major example would probably be when I tried to sleep with seven people in seven days. I had not only just started having sex, but I had just started realizing how easy it was to have sex with men. Earlier that week I had gone to Health Education Outreach to get free condoms, and they told me to take six. I jokingly commented, “Six? That’s not even enough for one every day of the week!” But then I started really thinking about it. I was definitely treating it like a game, which is definitely not advised by me or probably anybody else, but this definitely made me realize that this was not the kind of sex I wanted to be having.
More examples would probably be the plethora of people I’ve met off Tinder. I’ve met up with a Norwegian rapper who was visiting his friend at Scripps, a girl who owned a literal suitcase full of sex toys, band members, artists, people that I ended up having classes with, and more. They were all fun experiences, but very few remain close to me now. I know that doesn’t need to happen, but I’ve realized that I prefer to be friends with the people I sleep with, and that can’t always happen when I throw myself into situations that I think could be fun based off of a few photos hastily swiped through photos or half an hour of dancing.
I guess all of this is to say that my search for novelty led me into some practices that turned out to be not so healthy for me.
In general, hookup culture has cultivated my taste for newness. Every hookup has been a fresh and exciting experience–it’s almost like the honeymoon phase of dating, but more condensed to fit the context of hooking up. When it does come to dating, though, I think this love of novelty has definitely negatively affected my relationship with sex. I associate the act of sex with the feeling of newness rather than feelings of intimacy. There’s no right or wrong way to have sex or be in a relationship, but as someone who tends to lean towards enjoying monogamous romantic and emotional relationships, I’m starting to understand how hookup culture could be messing with my ideas of what sex means to me.
I’m not saying that hookup culture is objectively bad. I think that everyone needs to experience different ways of having sex themselves in order to see what feels right. If you don’t try something, how are you supposed to know that it is or isn’t for you?
I’m skeptical about making choices based off of morals. Hell, I’m just skeptical of morals. Morals are meant to control what we desire and how we act, and they mostly stem from pseudo-religious ideas of the family and procreation. I know that hookup culture is a sort of pushback against this set of morals, but by doing so, it creates a different set of morals.
While I think it’s important to acknowledge the fact that most of us have been raised on (and are still being bombarded with) more traditional morals regarding sexuality, it’s important to remember that there is no right or wrong way to have sex. Everybody comes from a different place, and everybody’s journey is different. Like any other area in life, sometimes we realize we don’t like something that we’ve been doing, but that doesn’t mean what turns out to be bad for you is bad for everyone else. Think about your life: how are you having sex? Is it working for you? Do you feel fulfilled? You are on your own path. If you’re not satisfied with something, you are free to change it.