Sextion: What people are actually doing (and not doing)

I’m Monica Bruinsky and I’m here to guide you through college in a sex-positive way, to open you up to the possibility of talking about sex freely and comfortably. Think of me as your personal Dear Abby, but specifically pertaining to sex. If you have any sex or relationship questions, or just really want to know more about a given sexual topic, email me at Know that anonymity and confidentiality will be maintained.

It’s the beginning of the year. We have just completed our first full week of classes and are starting to get in to the swing of campus life, doing our best to maintain those three S’s that everyone talks so much about: school, sleep, and social life. Hopefully your classes have sorted themselves out by now, so that’s school for you, and as it is still the beginning of the year, I would presume you aren’t disgustingly sleep deprived, so that covers that. But what about that last little S? Social life. What this last S entails is up to you and only you.

I don’t know if it’s the media, or the experience of others, or just generalized FOMO, but when I first came to college, I felt like I had to go out every weekend, I had to get shitfaced drunk, and I had to hook up with a rando, because that’s what I was supposed to do as a college student. Isn’t that what the third S stands for? So I got myself all ready to go out: I chugged back a shot or six and went out trolling for hookups. And when I didn’t end the night having at least made out on the dance floor with someone I’d never met, I came home feeling shitty. I had these expectations of how my night should’ve gone and when they were not met, I felt upset. I was upset especially when I knew that every one of my friends had gotten with someone and it was just me that hadn’t.

But this isn’t true: Last year, the Brown Daily Herald posted an article revealing that in a recent poll, 37.5% of Brown Students had had no sexual partners that semester, 36.1% had 1 partner, and the percentages got smaller and smaller as the numbers went up, culminating in only 1.1% having 6 or more partners. Well, that makes you feel a little bit better, doesn’t it? Not everyone is having sex with everyone else. So don’t feel like you have to hook up with that marginally cute guy on the dance floor because that’s not what college is about. There is no one freshmen experience, no one college experience, and especially no one Brown experience.

Brown is a pretty unique place in how we view and talk about sex. It is ever present on this campus, from SexPowerGod (more on this to come) to FemSex workshops to the condoms on your RPLs’ doors. Sometimes we can feel a little bit bombarded by the sexual imagery that runs rampant around here, but just because sex is more in your face at Brown than it may have ever been before, do not feel pressured by it. Appreciate that we, for the most part, want you to have a positive sexual experience, whether that means having sex or not. Sex positivity is something that is talked about a lot and is SO CRITICAL. It means knowing enough about yourself to know what makes you feel comfortable, and having the tools and relationships that allow you to communicate those feelings. It’s about laughter in the bedroom, and maybe a little bit of awkwardness. It’s about stopping to talk about things, taking it slower than may be expected, and most importantly: safety and comfort. This year’s freshmen unfortunately missed out on Alexis Saccoman’s ’04 annual talk, Sex@Brown (his wife had a baby and he had to cancel last minute, but Health Ed is discussing bringing him in the Spring). Saccoman’s take home message is this: Do what you want to do, not just what you’re okay with. Because, as we have learned, not everyone is doing it, so don’t feel like you’re alone in the fact that you’re not. Your time will come, on your own terms.

To reiterate, go out not with the expectation to hook up with someone in mind, but with the expectation that you’ll have a great time with your friends. And if you happen to have a sexual encounter, know that you did it only because you wanted to, not because you felt like you were supposed to. And if you don’t, don’t go around thinking that you’re the only one who hasn’t. Because, trust me, you are not alone in that.

I’m here to talk to you about these things.  I will write about what I find to be particularly interesting or amusing about sex, but would love to write about topics that really jive with you as well, so send me a message.

Until next time,

xoxo MonMon

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