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Rachel’s Isla Vista Blog: Sex Culture Too Casual?

It is no secret that UCSB has maintained an unceasing stigma for being a major “party school.”  In its origins, UCSB stood for University of California, Santa Barbara.  Today, UCSB stands for U Can Study Buzzed, U C Sleazy Blondes, University of Casual Sex and Beer, and countless others.  Although we are an outstanding academic school, currently beating out some of the most prestigious private and public universities on Forbes: America’s Top Colleges, our reputation of an undying party scene and perpetual promiscuity remains.  While college is the designated time to stay out all night, meet new people, and have those alleged one-night-stands, UCSB seems to overindulge in these activities too casually.

The sex culture at UCSB seems to be radically different from that of other universities.  After talking to numerous friends of mine who attend great schools in Texas, Washington, Oregon, Washington, D.C., New York, and neighboring schools in California, I found that the type of sex that continuously occurs at UCSB is vastly different from that of my friends’ schools. In fact, they were shocked to hear what regularly happens in our small, quaint town of Isla Vista.  I found that at other universities, of course, there are one-night-stands, but they are few and frowned upon.  Students attending these other universities indubitably indulge in alcohol and hook-ups; however our school’s definition of “hook-up” is generally meant as sex, while their definition carries a different, much more innocent connotation.  Such information made me take a closer, introverted look at the behavior that goes on at our school—more particularly, the behavior that occurs in Isla Vista. 

It is inevitable that when you go to a party in Isla Vista, you will see multiple people hooking up; and it is more common than not that you will see those two people leaving the party in a beeline formation, darting to one of their two houses.  I’m sure if you were to walk by one their houses in the morning, you would see one of them leaving the other’s house messy-haired and wrinkly-clothed…oh, and quickly.  “Shacking it,” one-night-stands, casual sex, friends with benefits—these are all terms synonymous with I.V. sexual behavior. 

In Isla Vista sex culture, it is clear that girls are the gatekeepers of sex. However, guys are the gatekeepers of relationships.  Girls decide whether you two will engage in sex, but guys decide whether you two engage in a monogamous relationship.  In I.V., two people could be having consistent sex with each other for a year, yet not be in a relationship and still be hooking-up with other people. 

The idea of just casual sex, undefined relationships, and a carefree attitude seems foreign to other universities, while this is the norm at UCSB.  The idea of casual sex is strongly rooted in the foundation of Isla Vista sex culture, providing girls and guys with carefree, easy sex at any time of the day or night. 

So I must ask, is this normal behavior or are we UCSB-goers too casual?

Rachel is a senior at UC Santa Barbara and studies Communication and Global Peace and Security. Rachel is from a small, beautiful town in southern California called Palos Verdes. However, Palos Verdes is just one of the many places Rachel has lived. Rachel spent her childhood moving and traveling all over the world, living in places such as Indianapolis, Indiana; Santiago, Chile; Vienna, Austria; and Orlando, Florida. Rachel has found her heart and her home in California, choosing to spend her college years in sunny Santa Barbara. However, Rachel continued her wanderlust when she studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain in Fall 2012. At UCSB, Rachel is an immensely dedicated and involved member of her sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma, where she held the positions of Panhellenic Delegate, Inter-Greek Counselor, Rho Gam, and a member of the Nominating Slate. Best Buddies, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, is a passion of Rachel's, as she is their Social Media Coordinator as well as an active and proud member. As a member of the Lambda Pi Eta Communication Honors Society, Rachel is able to implement her prowess and affinity for communication and communication-related issues. When Rachel is not writing, participating in Kappa events, or volunteering, you can find her in the gym, on the soccer field, watching Modern Family, or cooking. Rachel's love for sports, food, and writing often times go hand-in-hand, as one may see in her weekly blogs. For the past two summers, Rachel has been freelance writing for the Los Angeles Times, and hopes to continue her career pursuit of journalism after she graduates. Rachel is elated to be a part of Her Campus's fabulous team and loves every moment of it!
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