A lot of people are looking for true love. In college, it might be a little soon to be searching for a life mate, but a lot of us are trying to find that special person anyway.

We live through the drama of long-term relationships, breakups and the terrors of hall-cest because we want to feel close to someone and live happily ever after. The sex we have is loving, gentle and wishful. We send gifts on Valentine’s Day and hold hands in the tunnels.

Really, though, not all sexual relationships in college are like that. Even though not everyone “does it,” many students hook up on the weekends (or on random Tuesdays).

Casual sex is a part of everyday life, even if you don’t have any yourself. You all know this. Sometimes, people are just looking for a little fun with an attractive stranger.

For those of you who immediately picture a suave man in a fraternity T-shirt luring in unsuspecting women to sate his rapacious desires, keep in mind this doesn’t only apply to men. I can personally attest that sometimes women want a little no-strings sex.

The common stereotype that a woman having casual sex must be trying to lure someone into a relationship or is hoping for more often isn’t accurate. Please do not forget that girls can want a little boom-boom, too.

When you’re looking to have a little friendly sex, it’s important to make sure that your potential partner wants it too. There are girls and guys who only want to have sex within a serious relationship. It’s important to respect their wishes.

Before you go seducing that hottie in the next hall, make sure he or she is down for a quickie or two. That way you’ll reduce your chances of waking up for the next two months to teary 4 a.m. voicemails begging for your love.

Of course, it can be hard to see the signs sometimes. It’s not like you can read someone’s mind. How are you to know whether the winks you’re getting from across the beer pong table mean he wants you to run upstairs to his bed or that he wants your phone number for a series of dinner dates and meeting his parents?

You have to talk about it. As awkward as it might be, before your clothes come off you need to let him or her know that it’s a casual thing. Whether this means asking, “So, how do you feel about being f***buddies?” or calmly sitting them down and saying “I just wanted you to know that I am not interested in a relationship right now and any sexual acts we’d engage in must be purely casual,” open your mouth.

Communicating your intentions can save you both a lot of heartache and inconvenience later. Once you’ve talked about it, keep an eye on your feelings. If you keep having casual sex with someone for a while, it’s easy to develop mushier feelings for them.

If you start to notice that the hard-and-fast attitude you’ve had toward your partner is changing, let him or her know. It’s possible the two of you might feel the same way, and, if you don’t speak up, you’ll never know.

If they don’t want to be with you “that way,” it’s better to know sooner than later. If you’re looking for different things from a relationship, it’s probably best to try and look elsewhere.Of course, the bottom line with this is, as always, to have fun. If you’re going to have a lot of casual sex, it’s important to use condoms for intercourse and maybe even oral sex if you can manage it.

The more semen or vaginal fluids you come into contact with, the more careful you should be. If you’re safe and you can live with what’s going on, live on with your hook-ups and try to keep the sheets clean between partners.

Waddill is a member of

the class of 2009.

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