January 22, 2012

Bananas, Nose-Squashing and Heartbreak: The Hazards of Hooking Up

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If I’ve learned one thing as your ever-faithful columnist these past three years, it would be that life is just a little bit sweeter when you’re on top of Judah Bellin. But in a non-newspaper context, I’m afraid being on top of a stranger isn’t quite as stimulating. Let’s face it: Besides the obvious, there’s just not much to be had in a one-night stand.

Now I’m pretty open-minded — or intelligent, if that’s how you want to put it — on a lot of sexual issues.

I believe that birth control should be made available for all students who have the potential to become sexually active. I love Teen Mom 2 as much as the next girl, but I think we can all agree that those girls face some incredibly challenging hurdles in their futures that could have been very easily avoided.

I believe that sex education — not simply abstinence education — should be mandatory in public and private schools, period. Sex education does not result in learned promiscuity. I was taught how to put a condom on a semi-rotten banana in 8th grade. I’m pretty sure I don’t go around sleeping with everything that looks like it might have a semi-rotten banana dangling between its legs.

And I believe that every individual has a right to his or her own body, to do with it what he or she will. Your body is your temple. Questions like abstinence, tattoos and drinking are yours to decide on. It’s not my job to say what you can and cannot do.

But in spite of my decidedly anti-Palin stance on a number of sexual-health issues, I still strongly believe that the one-night stand some of us college students have come to experience — and a few have come to know very well — is completely and utterly useless.

I find both the liberal and conservative ends of the sexual spectrum massively uniformed when it comes to one-night stands. Some of my peers who are abstinent seem to associate a tolerance of premarital sex with a tolerance for the one-night stand. On the same token, I think that many people who do believe in premarital sex have at some point at least been told that a one-night stand isn’t so bad.

I’m not here to make a moral argument, so don’t go trying to find one. But there is something to be said for the serious emotional complexity that sex entails. Sure, you might be saying to yourself, “I don’t know what this prude ho is talking about, I can whip it out anytime and errytime.” And maybe you had number one on the 161 Things list ticked off before you hit age 12. But even the most sexually liberated people will probably agree that casual sex is usually not all that casual.

If you’ve been sexually active for some time and you’ve never had anyone catch feelings — or caught them yourself — then you’re probably a.) incredibly unobservant or b.) crap in bed.

Don’t think I’m letting my abstinent buddies — who keep their steamy adventures strictly penetration-free — off the hook. I’d argue that even a mere hookup, in the right context, could be equally as entangling as a more adventurous sexual escapade. Someone will catch feelings, someone probably won’t reciprocate and both will feel like shit.

Sure, a drunken one-night make out sesh might not be as emotionally taxing as actual sex — not as physically taxing, either. But the propensity for attachment will always exist, looming over your shoulder as you try to avoid squashing noses.

Of course, I agree that making out — or sex, depending on what side of the pendulum you fall — is a heck of a lot of fun. Science tends to agree also. But I’m sure that almost everyone who has been intimate with both someone they love and someone they don’t would argue that the former situation is infinitely more enjoyable.

However, we all don’t have the luxury of being intimate with someone we love — I sure don’t. And, hormones being what they may, most of you will probably keep on keeping on. More power to your privates, I say.

But if you don’t plan to remember your partner’s name in the morning, you better be damned positive he or she doesn’t want to remember yours either.

Cristina Stiller is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She may be reached at cstiller@cornellsun.com. Believe You Me appears alternate Mondays this semester.

Original Author: Cristina Stiller

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