Emily: Casual sex is a topic that many are uncomfortable talking about, while it is a very common occurrence among men and women, especially in society today. Sex has always been recognized in movies and books as a part of “college culture,” casual relationships, and a key component in most romance stories, but how are the people involved really looking at it? Many people have different opinions about sex and how seriously they take it. Some are not open to the idea of sex at all unless they are married, but that, in this century, is rare. Others are only open to having sex if they are in very committed relationships. Then there are always the infamous “hook-ups,” “one-night-stands,” and “friends-with benefits.” The topic here really is how college kids in 2013-14 perceive sexual relationships.
Walter: Many people believe that discussing something like casual sex would make them feel quite uncomfortable because it is not considered an acceptable behavior of a young adult. This, however, is not the case at all. Contrary to what many people may believe, “one-night stands”, “quickies”, and “hookups” are not a new occurrence. People were doing the “nasty” way before the era of “twerking” and grinding. They may not have been as open about it as many young people are today, especially in a college setting, but let it be known that the deed was still done.
Many movies, books, and songs today encourage people to further explore their desires. One movie called “American Pie Beta House”, specifically describes college as one big party, filled with naked girls, alcohol, and a lot of hookups. Although this is not necessarily an accurate portrayal of the average lifestyle of a college student, many do follow this ordeal. They try to party, drink, and have fun for as long as they can before they get old. This generation of college students are especially more open to having friends with benefits, and less common to judge others in their personal life decisions. But what is it that makes this generation of college students think so differently? Perhaps it is the constant development of new technology and certain events that are breaking precious racial and educational limitations.
Emily: It’s hard to determine how the majority of college students interpret this topic, just because there are so many different opinions. Also, it’s very possible that someone can feel one way just based on the type of (or lack of) relationship that they are involved with at the moment. Although, from experience and conversations with others my age, it seems that most are completely open to the idea of having premarital sexual relationships. This does not mean, though, that they have several partners. This is where the idea of “casual” sexual relationships comes in to play. It seems that being open to having casual relationships is prone to have its negative consequences if not handled correctly. Although, there are ways to understand how to respect yourself and be content with your actions, and still fulfill your sexual desires without being committed.
A common topic that relates to casual sex is the amount of women that have become more open about their sexual encounters. According to an article in Marie Claire, there have been concerns about how “college age women” are partaking in casual sexual encounters. The article is a review of a story in The New York Times. Marie Claire has the same idea as most college women that I know: it’s not a big deal. The author of the NY Times article seemed to be confused by the “news” of so many women partaking in sexual acts, when really it isn’t news at all. Although many more women are open about their sexual experiences than in the past, the amount of college age kids participating in sexual activities has actually decreased in the past 10-20 years.
Although the numbers have decreased, the women that are involved have realized the change of eras and become more comfortable being open about their sex lives. The only reason that it seems to be such a surprise, is because it is just now becoming more acceptable for women to admit their secrets, while men have always seemed to have the opportunity, and were willing to do so. Again to the NY Times article, many women are more focused on obtaining their goals and focusing on their own future, rather than finding a husband. As a career minded young woman, I completely agree. According to Arielle Pardes, the girl interviewed for the NY Times article, she was not so pleased with the way that the article portrayed her interview responses. She says yes: she does wish to complete her career goals. But No: she is not trying to play any sort of “games” when it comes to casual sex. She says that sometimes she just wants to have sex to have sex. “What’s wrong with that?”
I do find it more important to complete your own goals and understand that “WE WOMEN CAN LIVE WITHOUT A MAN,” but there are obviously downsides to uncommitted sex. Being in a “sex only” relationship is something that takes extreme strength and understanding of the situation. There have been many studies showing the negative effects on emotions when it comes to hook up and friends with benefits. It seems that “having sex just to have sex,” may not be as simple as it sounds. An article in The Huffington Post reviews an article that concludes: “College students who had recently engaged in casual sex reported higher levels of general anxiety, social anxiety, and depression compared to college students who had not had recent casual sex.” The review also states, though, that these results were only “correlational” which means that people who already had higher anxiety levels were the ones seeking out sexual relationships in the first place. So, it’s hard to say whether or not it will actually effect the person’s anxiety if they are in a casual relationship, but the possibilities are there.
Walter: The real topic isn’t necessarily how individuals within “friends with benefits” relationships feel about their situation. It is more so geared toward discussing the reasoning behind the desire for these types of relationships as opposed to a stable one-partner relation or a marriage. Some say that no-strings-attached is the easiest way to go because neither party would then be required to feel too “deeply” for the other. This is a lot harder than it sounds because with physical relations come emotional attachment, especially with females. This is the reason that relationships such as these are always doomed to fail.
For people looking to get into one of these relationships, they should set some ground rules in order to avoid heartbreak. These rules include things like making sure that the person that you choose is someone that you wouldn’t normally date, telling them that things wouldn’t be complicated, and only texting that person for sex. Like I said before, these relationships are doomed to fail, so setting yourself up for the worst is the best option.
Emily: The Marie Claire article seems to be on the track that I find most important about this topic: safety. Whether or not young women choose to have sex (in or out of a relationship), I feel that having safe sex is most definitely the key factor. In the article, I was unhappily surprised by the fact that only 50.83% of women use condoms every time. Many of them are probably using the excuse of “other forms of birth control,” but pregnancy isn’t the only consequence of unsafe sex! This specific factor is what would casual sex unappealing to me. Even if condoms are used, there are still possibilities of mishaps, and if the encounter that happened previous to mine was unprotected, then I could very well have put myself on a train towards bad news.
The second thing that seems to be an issue, specifically for women, is the lack of pleasure that an uncommitted sexual encounter really gives someone. In the article “In Hookups, Inequality Still Reigns,” Natalie Gadinsky speaks of her less-than-exciting sexual encounters with men whom she was not committed to. The article suggest that, considering it takes a little bit more effort for women to receive the same amount of pleasure as men, the odds of someone who is not attached to you may not care as much to be sure that you are enjoying yourself as much as they are. By the end of the article, she seems to be more on the side with having a committed relationship, because the sex is going to be a lot better. The research in the article proves that women who are I committed relationships have better sexual experienced than otherwise.
Walter: I think the main reason that people are drawn to relationships such as these is because they think that they are the easiest way to satisfy their emotional needs. Women aren’t in the relationships because of a physical desire. It is highly possible that they are looker for a deeper connection through their companion in the given moment of the hookup. In other words, for women, hookups are used for psychological pleasure in women other than a means to achieve an orgasm. They get brief satisfaction in the moment, but afterwards they feel horrible.
Emily: Although I am completely open and supportive for women who are involved in casual sex, based on research and experience, it doesn’t really seem worth it. I think that it is very normal for young women to be curious and learn what they do and don’t like, but most of the time, casual sex isn’t on the “like” side. The College Crush seemed to have said it the best: 1. Sex Confuses Everything, 2. When you Refrain, The Indulgence is Better, 3. It’s Hard to be Free When You’re Uncomfortable. So, feel free to enjoy the “freedom” of casual sex, but do not forget the consequences.