We need to talk.
When we came to college I could see the excitement in your eyes. After all, in your mind you were free. Free from the watchful eyes of your family. Free from the confining walls of your high school. Free from the horror of walking by your parents' bedroom door, realizing it was locked, and knowing why.
"No more!" you vowed to yourself. "Now it's my time. Time for me to venture out into the unknown. Time for me to live life for myself. Time for me to have fun, to meet new people, to have new experiences."
And to be fair, you mostly kept that vow. You've undoubtedly been having fun. And you've certainly met new people. It's just that you haven't really been having that many new experiences. In fact, you've mostly been having the same experience. Just with different people. A lot of different people.
What I mean to say is, you've become a bit a ho.
Now I know what you might be saying. "I have sex. Big deal! It's not nearly enough to warrant this intervention. Besides, if I was a guy, you'd be congratulating me."
And in response to that, I would say that sex is a serious thing, with many potential consequences. Regardless of whether or not you have a penis, there are things you need to consider before jumping in the sack.
Now you might be thinking, "Who are you? My mom?"
And to that I would say no, I'm not your mom. I have much better clothes and hair. I'm merely a concerned friend who doesn't want to see you going down a path that will only get you hurt in the end.
You're probably saying to yourself, "A concerned friend? Because right now you're acting more like my therapist."
And to that I would say I am not trying to be your therapist. However, I am a psychology major, so I do know something about the human mind.
Now you might want to say, "Oh so you took a couple of introductory courses and now you think you can psychoanalyze me? Face it Scott. All you're good for is a few witty one-liners."
And to that I would ask: Where is this attitude coming from? Honestly, I don't know what's gotten into you lately. Oh wait. I actually know a lot of things that have gotten into you lately, and that's the problem.
I think I just won that hypothetical argument. With a witty one-liner no less.
But back to the topic at hand.
As a woman you need to be conscious of the many possible outcomes of sex. With every guy you let traipse around in your cabbage patch, you have to acknowledge the fact that what you are doing could result in pregnancy. Or a sexually transmitted disease. Or variety of social consequences that you hadn't even thought of.
Am I saying that the only way to have a healthy, acceptable sex life is to wait ‘til marriage? By no means. If I thought that, then I myself could only have a healthy sex life in five of these United States. And Canada. What I am saying is that you should be aware of the choices you make and their possible consequences. As you continue to navigate the exciting world of the boudoir, just remember the following things.
Quantity is not the same as Quality
One day, while home sick from school, I tuned in to an episode of what I consider to be the highest caliber of daytime television: Maury. On this very special episode, the guest of the day was Telia, a lovely young woman who had been on the show ten times before. On each of those appearances, Telia had brought in a different man that she claimed to be the father of her child, Shardae, and each of those times Maury performed a paternity test that determined the man was, in fact, not.
But on this very special episode, Telia was confident. This man, she claimed, was the last man it could be. According to her, there was no one else she'd been with around that time. And so, as the man continued to deny his fatherhood, Telia taunted him and began to count the money she would soon receive in child support. That is, until Maury uttered those six terrible words.
"Dion, you are NOT the father."
Understandably, Telia ran off the stage in horror, while Dion high-fived a few of the audience members.
Consider this for a moment. This woman brought in eleven different men that she thought could be her child's father, and was wrong each of those times. Not only does that mean she slept with at least twelve people in the period of roughly a month, but her confidence that Dion was the last possibility means that she slept with so many that she lost track.
As Telia learned all too well, every time you have sex is a chance that you'll have a baby. If you sleep with so many men that you can't even remember them all, you're going to waste a lot of time dragging men onto Maury before you get your child support.
You can't always get what you want
Because of my circumstances, I'd like to think that I have liberal views of love and attraction. I believe that if two people are attracted to each other, they shouldn't let social conventions like gender, race, or age stand in their way. There is, however, one social convention that I believe should always stand in the way of your prospective hook-up:
The girl he is currently dating.
I shouldn't have to explain this any further, but I think I need to drive this point home. If you're only looking for a good time, then your search should be restricted to men who are on the market. Because once you've had your fun and moved on, he'll still be left to deal with the mess that your encounter left.
"But if he chooses to cheat on his girlfriend, then I'm really not the one at fault, right?"
Wrong! Mostly. If he chooses to cheat on his girlfriend, then you're not the only one at fault. But your pursuit of an unavailable man breaks rule number three of the Girl Code. And that's a big no-no.
Unfortunately, by telling you this, I have simultaneously broken the first and second rule of the Girl Code, which is not to talk about the Girl Code. But some sacrifices need to be made for the greater good.
Sex isn't the only thing you should be worried about
Can one be a ho without sex? Very good question. Despite what you may have been told, the answer is yes. Anyone who told you otherwise probably fell into the category of an "Everything But" Girl.
An "Everything But" Girl has convinced herself that she's chaste as long as no outsiders enter her sacred temple. As a result, she'll freely engage in every act that doesn't require the use of a condom. I'd include a comprehensive list, but this article might require a disclaimer if I went into too much detail.
But girls like this fail to realize two important things. First, that you can get sexually transmitted diseases in your mouth too (I feel that that is a life lesson better learned sooner rather than later) and second, that, sex or no sex, you still have a reputation.
Word will get around that you're good for a hook-up, and there's a good chance that the cute guy that approaches you at a party has heard. If all you're looking for out of your college experience is a degree and some noncommittal fun, then this could be a very good thing. But if before graduation you hope to hook a guy for the long term, news of your past indiscretions will probably attract the wrong kind of suitors.
Just remember that old saying: Men don't buy the cow when they can get milked for free. Or something like that.
You shouldn't always rely on the kindness of strangers
There is one final lesson that I must teach you before you're on the road to sexual rehabilitation and it is this: even if you haven't hooked up with that many people, or even had sex that many times, you still might not have a healthy life in the bedroom.
"How is that possible?" you may ask, with a hint of frustration in your voice. Well first let me say that I'm getting to that. Let me also say that I don't appreciate your impatience. But I'll save that for a later column.
You see, young child, it's a matter of context. You could be having sex as little as once every few months, but if each of those times is with a man you've just met, you're treading on dangerous territory.
Not to sound like Dr. Phil, but if you have a habit of one-night stands you might have some issues with intimacy. Continuous one-night stands means no possibility of getting close to anyone you sleep with. You might worry no man will like you for your personality, that you might get your heart broken, that looking beyond the physical might make you realize how hard it is to find the one. But everyone has these worries. Dealing with them is just part of the excitement of dating.
On the other hand, you may just enjoy the thrill of going home with strangers. And if that's the case for you, just remember that going home with someone you haven't met before is not the safest thing a girl can do. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's how most episodes of Law & Order: SVU begin.
To Sum Up...
I know in this day and age it's hard to tell what's appropriate behavior and what's not. Growing up with Sex and the City on the television gave many girls the impression that propositioning every attractive stranger you pass on the street is perfectly acceptable.
Just keep in mind that Samantha Jones was in her forties; she had to cast a wide net in order to get laid. With your youth and beauty still intact, you can afford to be a little more selective.
*Writer's note: Just so you don't think I'm about double standards, almost every piece of advice in this article is also applicable to guys. Just switch the pronouns and replace the words "getting pregnant" with "getting a girl pregnant."