My first kiss was fucking hot. It happened last summer, a few months after my 20th birthday. I came over to an acquaintance’s studio apartment to tutor him and ended up on his bed with my calves over his shoulders—still just making out. We didn’t get past first or second base.
In the conversations that led up to and followed this, we established that neither of us were interested in relationships and we were both just looking for sex (him being much more successful than me at this point).
The next day I hung out with a close guy friend of mine from high school. We had been talking about sex and our sexual aspirations since we reconnected at the start of the summer. I told him what happened the night before, and, me feeling wholly incompetent about my performance and both of us on the same page about what we were looking for, we decided to practice on each other.
This didn’t last long and we didn’t make much progress. He had just moved back in with his parents upon graduating from UW and tensions were accelerating. So he moved back to Madison, and I soon became busy. Our plans to be each other’s study buddies and wingmen that summer flopped.
Up until recently, my sex life hadn’t flourished… at all. Even now, I’m still one of the most sexually inexperienced and romantically unskilled people I know. But I’m still one of the most highly qualified people you will meet for writing a sex column.
My first semester of college, I rebelliously signed up for the most sketch-sounding honors class: Big Brother in the Bedroom (no longer offered, sadly).
I had entered college thinking I was super liberal, with solidly conservative beliefs about sex (except regarding homosexuality and abortion). Sex before marriage—not healthy. Polygamy—wrong, duh. Wearing revealing clothing—not respectable. Prostitution—I didn’t know why, but I knew it was wrong and that I would prove it.
By the time I finished that class, my beliefs on all these subjects became shaky or quickly changed. Today, people I graduated with wouldn’t recognize me if they read my writing on these things. That class, which my best friend Amanda and I maturely titled my “sexcourse,” inspired me to take more sexcourses. Up until my fourth semester, I managed to include one class explicitly about a topic on sex in my schedule each semester.
Nevertheless, I have managed to integrate sex-related topics—especially prostitution—into almost all the papers I have written, even for the classes not about sex culture, STDs, or assisted reproductive technology. Moreover, I’m in the midst of completing research on local sex education policy and have read extensively on everything from attitudes toward menstruation to California porn regulations. On the other hand, the pole dancing lessons I wanted to take a couple summers ago didn’t pan out. So I wouldn’t call my education complete.
But my point is, if you evaluate my qualifications for writing a sex column off of experience, then stop reading. I have far less dating experience than the average 20-year-old and my sex life has a ways to go. For those of you that are still interested, here’s my pitch:
I have been afraid of romance and sex my whole life, still am. This fear has held me back in ways that I used to regret. Now that this part of my life has begun, I am glad it took so long.
Had I of entered into the world of relationships as I wanted to oh-so-badly in high school, my firsthand experiences might have solidified my closed-minded beliefs. I would have based my interaction with the guys I dated off of the beliefs I had then, and in turn my experiences would have reinforced my beliefs.
Would this have happened for sure? Would I have entered college with a permanently closed mind? Who knows! But the events that led up to how I think today were vital to the development of my current outlook on sex, and I would never want them to change.
(Plus my first kiss would have probably been dull.)
We are all young and have the entire rest of our lives ahead of us. This moment isn’t for us to regret the romantic signals we overlooked from that old friend, or the dance we never asked an attractive classmate for. It is for us to take action now and look forward to all the bizarre twists of life that await and inspire what we experience in the future.
I am more open-minded today than I have ever been in the past and have become a curious, well-informed scholar because of that. The things I write for you will not be heartless, dry lectures developed in an isolated ivory tower. Rather, my goal is to share my educational journey in a way that speaks to you, answer your questions and instill a sense of confidence and expertise in you.
I look forward to continuing our conversation.