A Short Guide to Sexual Inclusivity at PWIs

It can be hard trying to be inclusive to everyone, especially when you’ve spent your whole life around one ‘type’ of person. Lafayette College, like most of the universities in the United States, is a Predominantly-White Institution (PWI). About 70% of Lafayette’s campus is white, leaving the remaining 30% split up between the minority groups. Fortunately, the students here are pretty inclusive, however, it becomes apparent how biased people can get when you consider the dating scene here.

I’ve had conversations with alumni about this topic recently. They told me that they felt pressured to only date or be seen with a certain kind of person because of having to uphold a “reputation”. It was never forced upon them to not date outside of Lafayette’s acceptable dating ‘type’, but it was never comfortable to do so. There are people who have stifled bisexuality or have only dated inside of their own race to try and fit in. Being on such a small campus has its perks, but sometimes it can feel like a big high school full of peer pressure.

This is why it’s so important to talk about sexual inclusivity! It’s unrealistic to try and please everyone, but by at least being conscious of what certain people do and don’t want you to do, you can help make your peers feel accepted in their community. Here are the three biggest mistakes people can make when trying to be inclusive, and a little tip to maybe...not do that:

 

Try Not To Compliment Race 

I’ve noticed that for a lot of people this is extremely hard, but please just try to refrain, for 5 minutes at LEAST, from calling someone an ‘oriental princess’ or ‘ebony queen’ or whatever else dumb terminology you have up your sleeve. We get it, we aren’t white. It isn’t a compliment, it’s just an observation and it’s irrelevant... We don’t care about whether you’ve been with a Latina before, we don’t care about whether you’ve been with a black girl before. No, we do not care about ‘being your first’. Stop treating us like we’re some kind of milestone. The fetishization of POC in PWIs is rarely talked about, and when you do mention it, everyone who isn’t a person of color is quick to say that they’ve never even heard about it. Well, of course, you haven’t! You don’t have to hear about your ‘little (insert race here) %[email protected]!#’ every time you want to hook up with someone. It seems like it’s a secret college-age-white-boy rite of passage to make WOC feel uncomfortable about their race before sex. Just shut up about my skin and strip, damn it. It also goes in reverse. Don’t target white partners in order to boost your ego in some weird self-hating way. If you’re gonna bone, just do it and disregard the superficial things.

 

Get Rid Of The Bisexuality Double Standard

It happens much too often that bisexual women are fetishized and bisexual men are shamed. This goes for pretty much any group within the LBGTQI+ community, but I find that at Lafayette, most people identify as bisexual within the community. The notion that bisexual women are in some way hotter for liking men and women, and that bisexual men are “gay but don’t want to admit it so they say that they’re bisexual” is ridiculous. The bisexual girl who you hooked up with last week probably doesn’t want to have a threesome with you just because she’s bisexual. No, your best friend who just came out as bisexual isn’t in love with you. Yes, we can control ourselves like normal human beings and not hump everything in our paths just because we’re bisexual. It isn’t just like some naked free-for-all in our minds. 

 

Stop Hiding Us

One of the worst feelings you can have is being ashamed of being yourself. In an attempt to fit in, people tend to hide their sexual partners who don’t fit in with the norm. I understand that peer pressure is real, and it sucks, but if you aren’t in a mental space where you can get over it and treat others with the respect that they deserve... then don’t have sex. Nobody deserves to have to walk around with you when it’s dark or sneak in and out of your room just so other people don’t see you with them. It’s disrespectful to the highest degree. Plus, it only gets worse when you don’t hide anyone else but that person who doesn’t fit in with your norm. If I’m not ‘good enough’ to be seen with you, then don’t text me at 2 am on a Friday night begging me to come over because nobody is around.

 

It can be a degrading experience as a minority trying to branch out sexually at a PWI, but the most important thing to do is educate your partners. Don’t get discouraged from dating outside of your race or social circle because you’re afraid of judgment. There is always an opportunity to teach someone something about you and your culture, and that knowledge will (hopefully) stay with them past their sexual experience with you.