Welcome to college, freshmen! I’d like to take some time to feed you some of my infinite wisdom.
1. I’ll start here: no one has infinite wisdom. Friends and upperclassmen will give you lots of advice, but you don’t have to listen to it all. And, sometimes, you still have to learn it for yourself. Remember, even when you feel lost and confused, you know yourself better than anyone else.
2. People talk about sex a lot in college, and it feels like they have it all the time. But it is very normal to not have sex, and it’s very normal to have never had sex. It’s also very normal to not be desperate to change the fact that you’ve never done it. Don’t get fooled into thinking something is wrong with you, there isn’t.
3. There is no “right way” when it comes to sexuality. You can never make everyone happy with your sexual choices. There will always be someone there to shame you or to call you a prude, or the opposite. If you’re focused on what other people think, you will always lose. Instead, focus on what you want and politely remind anyone with unsolicited advice about how your choices are none of their business.
4. You are allowed to have regret. Sometimes you go home with someone and it seems like a good idea, but the next day or next month or next year you find yourself saying, “I’m embarrassed that I did that.” But it’s okay. You learn from the things you regret, and that’s a good thing. You aren’t supposed to have everything figured out from the get-go. What fun would that be?
5. Just as it’s important to make decisions for yourself, it’s important to think about the other person, too. Give them a safe time to say “no.”
A great line is, “We don’t have to do anything you don’t want to, and I won’t be upset if there’s anything you don’t want to do.” If you don’t get consent, it is rape. Don’t rape.
6. Drunk sex in college happens. Please be careful. How drunk are you or your partner? If you’re drunk, how are you going to be able to tell how drunk you or your partner is? How would you feel if you woke up and you didn’t realize whom you had gone home with? If you’re drunk and smitten, just get their number. In the morning ask if they want to Netflix and chill while you both recover from your hangovers.
7. If you are raped, it is not your fault. There are lots of resources. Bathroom stalls on campus often have sexual assault hotlines written on them. You can call Public Safety. You can tell a friend or a professor. You can go to University Counseling Center, or UCC. They have emergency sessions available, and your first 10 sessions are free.
8. Use protection. STIs and pregnancies are real. Use a condom, and get tested when you have new partners. Girls have lots of birth control options including the pill, IUDs and birth control implants. UHS can give you more information, and most options are free or affordable. If you’re concerned about privacy and you’re using your parents insurance, don’t let that stop you. Ask UHS about that, too. Additionally, UHS does provide free STI testing.
So, fill the sails of your pirate ship and get that booty! And anytime you feel confused or want to have a laugh, shoot me an anonymous question at http://sex-thect.tumblr.com/ask.
Armstrong is a member of the class of 2016.