I walked the halls of my freshman dorm on a Monday night at 3:30 a.m. I was exuding confidence, focused on a clear path; passers-by did not phase me as I strutted my stuff back and forth through hallway. Maybe I was so confident because I was sleep-walking. Maybe I was so confident because I didn’t know I was naked.
Naked. The thing is, I had no idea where I was going, and the next thing I knew I woke up in a random bed in a strange room to a strange boy telling me I didn’t belong there. I had locked him out of his room while he was brushing his teeth and my sleep-walking self decided that this was the bed for me. Apparently he had to spend $5 to get back in (what can I say? I’m a cheap date). In my shock and horror I ran out of that room, not thinking to ask for any attire (“Do you happen to have a green shirt? Green really brings out my eyes ...”). Luckily, I only passed one girl on my way out. It turns out she was that boy’s girlfriend, and must have been shocked to find an extremely sexy naked girl running out of his room at 3:30 a.m. on a Tuesday morning.
It may be just one of those stories now, but at the time I was horrified. It was a combination of a stereotypical naked college story and a bad dream. Anyone could have seen me naked and I’ll never know. I can barely go out in public in a bikini without thinking I look like a manatee.
A few months before this experience, I invited a friend over to study. Things escalated quickly, as they tended to do freshman year, and all thoughts of stoichiometry and kinetics were wiped from our minds. My extra long twin bed was alive with excitement.
Of course the lights were on. Not just the desk lamp for ambiance, but ALL of the lights (what up Kanye). The brightness of the room shut down all of my sexual instincts and I turned in to one awkward fucker, literally. I certainly couldn’t get up and turn the lights off myself, I was completely naked for reasons I’ll never understand (he was fully clothed — why does that always happen?!). I was picturing myself awkwardly hopping in the nude three miles to the light switch while my study buddy judges the jiggling of my lady humps.
Needless to say, I did not get up and turn off the light. My solution to this situation was to say something bizarre like, “I’m not going to have sex with you, and I’m not going to give you a blowjob, so, there it is.”
That was the end of that. We could have had something special if I hadn’t been so worried about how I looked under those harsh florescent lights. But there was something else too. I think I was just uncomfortable being sexual in vivid Technicolor. I don’t really watch porn, so I wasn’t used to having naked parts shoved in my face in stark lighting. And as a freshman, I really wasn’t comfortable in my own skin quite yet.
Why are we so embarrassed about sex? When the lights are on, every dirty detail of what you’re doing is literally in the spotlight, and for many (including my freshman year self), this is uncomfortable. We live in a country where teenagers get the sex talk on a long car ride so they can’t run away from their uncomfortably awkward parents, and movies with horrific massacres are rated R while a woman masturbating gets slapped with an NC-17.
But sex is wonderful! Safe sex between two consenting adults is nothing to be ashamed of at all. I wouldn’t suggest walking around your dorm naked. But at least now when I’m afraid to be naked, I know that I once was publicly nude, and nothing could be worse than that. And really awkward sexual encounters are bound to happen, but they make the good experiences that much better. So freshmen, go forth, get some free condoms from your R.A. and get to experimenting.
Morgan T. is a junior in the College of Human Ecology. She may be reached at email@example.com. After Midnight appears alternate Thursdays this semester.