As a college female, I’ve heard (and experienced) my fair share of morning after horror stories ranging from the comedic “he couldn’t get it to fit” to the panic induced “I had to take a taxi to Planned Parenthood this morning.” These stories are usually recounted over hungover brunches and amidst a cacophony of laughter, a casual setting for a seemingly casual topic. But there remains a rampant, almost unnoticeable issue in the way many young women both talk about and experience sex.
Girls seem to talk about sex as something that happened to them rather than with them. Friends have told me that despite multiple sexual encounters, they have yet to feel any sense of pleasure. Others have said they just “let it happen” and wait for it to be over. Sex positivity has become dramatically more prevalent in our culture in recent years, but why are young women still afraid to talk about sex candidly not only with friends, but with their partners?
Why are young women afraid to tell their partners they need oral sex in order to orgasm?
Why do young women feel solely responsible for obtaining emergency contraceptive?
Why are young women so afraid to talk to one another about these things?
Sex can be casual. And yeah, it may seem weird to ask a person you met three hours ago to go down on you. Sex can be a part of your friendship. And yeah, it may seem weird to tell your friend with benefits that you need to go get Plan B or risk really taking this friendship to a new level. Sex can be part of being in a monogamous relationship. And yeah, it may seem weird to tell your significant other that your orgasms have all been slightly (or totally) over exaggerated. But sex is meant to be enjoyable. Sex is supposed to be fun. When sex isn’t either of those things, it’s okay to talk to your partner about it and resolve the issue to ensure you’re both having the best experience possible.
There’s still a stigma that persists in the discourse young women encounter when talking about sex. Sex becomes less of an experience and more of a happening. Sex as an experience cultivates an environment for self-discovery, self-love and enjoyment. Sex as a happening removes the personal, keeping young women from asking what they need to get the most out of their sexual encounters.
Granted, there are plenty of young women willing to ask for what they want in bed. But we still need to remind girls that it’s okay to want more out of their sex lives, and it’s absolutely normal to engage in conversations with their partners in order to do so. All sex is good sex, but mutually enjoyable sex is well, fucking fantastic.
Ring My Bell is a student at Cornell. Comments may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Guest Room appears periodically this semester.