To continue the conversation about positive and consensual sexual experiences on campus, we asked you to share your own thoughts and experiences anonymously. And you didn’t disappoint. Here’s what you said:
How has college changed the way you view and participate in sex?
“Just that I have more freedom now to explore my sexuality instead of sneaking around just to do anything sexual.” — Sophomore
“I was raised in a very religious household and I learned to look down on people who had sex outside of relationships, or what I determined to be 'meaningless' sex. It was extremely hard to unlearn, and I wish I hadn’t been raised that way.” — Junior
“I've become a LOT more open about talking about sex, in terms of viewing the concept. It feels a lot less taboo than it did in high school (I mean, laws of the age of consent and child porn probably suppressed most of that dialogue in high school, where we were minors a majority of the time). I'm in a long-term monogamous relationship right now (where, admittedly, we haven't had sex in a hot minute but that's because of relationship troubles), but I think that if I wasn't, I'd be open to hookups and more casual sex, since I never really had the opportunity to 'mess around' in college due to the fact I jumped into a relationship pretty quickly.” — Junior
“It has pulled me away from physical attractiveness and more towards finding someone's personality attractive.” — Junior
“I don’t think it has! I just wish I was having more of it.” — Sophomore
“I value sex more highly with my longtime boyfriend.” — Graduate student
“It hasn’t.” — Freshman
“Coming into college, I expected to experience more of the hookup culture than I actually did. In high school, I had never been in a committed relationship and was very independent — I thought casual hookups would be easy and carefree with no strings attached. I had expectations due to things like being in Greek life and living in a co-ed dorm that in a way made me feel like casually hooking up was the normal thing to do. However, once I entered college and began dating people, I found that, personally, I was someone who did consider sex an emotional thing. I didn't want to do something so personal with someone who I didn't care for and respect or who did the same to me. Now as a senior, sometimes I do wonder what it would be like to have a lot of sexual partners, but at the same time, I am very happy with the decisions I made to only have sex with people I am in committed relationships with. To me, it's empowering and comforting to share something special like sex with one person without having to worry about outside factors, like other people they might be hooking up with at the same time.” — Senior
“I grew up with devoutly religious parents. I never got “the talk” from my parents. I think they’re saving that for my wedding night. The thought that their children might not be saving themselves for marriage is abhorrent to them. (Funnily enough, that’s not how things panned our for any of their three children.) I was taught that sex and masturbation are sins. The are taboo topics no one should talk about. No man would ever want to be with me if they knew I had engaged in sexual activity with another partner first, according to them. In college, I learned that a lot of things I grew up learning about in regards to sex are wrong. Sex is not a sin or wrong. It’s natural. If you want to have sex, there’s nothing wrong with that. My notion of sex and its social stigmas have completely changed for the better. “ — Graduate student
If you participate in hookups, what does casual sex mean to you?
“I can’t really have casual sex, I just crave emotional intimacy. But, if I could have casual sex, it would probably be fun! Just be safe of course.” — Sophomore
“I don’t.” — Junior
“It can be with a complete stranger you meet online or a consistent fling with the individual. Regardless, there are never romantic feelings involved.” — Junior
“I don’t participate in hookups.” — Graduate student
“I haven’t ever had casual sex. I have always been in serious and committed relationships with my partners.” — Graduate student
What are misconceptions you think people have about college students and sexuality?
“I’ve heard so many times that all girls 'turn' bisexual. Like they’re just experimenting for the first time! It’s all okay, we don’t need to label anything.” — Sophomore
“They think partying is synonymous with hookup culture.” — Junior
“A majority of students engage in hookup culture and very few long-lasting relationships with emotional bonds are forged.” — Junior
“I think a lot of people think all college students care about is getting drunk and hooking up, and that rape is a massive epidemic. Not that I think it isn't a huge problem (it definitely is one), but people generally make it out to seem boys especially have so much sex on the brain they can't help but trap any girl they see. Basically, I think a lot of people think college students are sex-crazed even though I haven't really seen that. Crazy high schoolers who manage to somehow get away with having sex are definitely more sex-crazed and willing to do some risky shit.” — Junior
“That we are all having sex all the time. This may be the case freshman year but more often than not most college students I know are not that sexual.” — Junior
“That everyone is having hookups and generally just having a bunch of casual/unsafe/irresponsible sex.” — Sophomore
“People think college kids have sex a lot.” — Graduate student
“I think people believe college students don’t care about safe sex and don’t try to have safe sex when that really isn’t the case.” — Freshman
“That college students are all pursuing frequent casual hookups. From my experience, it’s really hard to have a good, minimally-awkward hookup experience — it usually sounds a lot better than it is.” — Sophomore
“I think a lot of students, freshmen especially, think EVERYONE is having sex. In actuality, a whole lot of people aren't and a lot that are are having sex that isn't very good. Honestly, a lot of it is a facade. A girl I met freshman year would constantly go out, flirt with guys and shack at fraternity houses. It wasn't until almost a year later that I found out that not only was she was actually still a virgin, she hadn't even had her first kiss. I think things like that are more common than not, whether it be someone lying about their 'number,' how far they got with someone or what they did with someone. It's all about the expectations they've created for themselves and the image they think they need to put on due to hearing other people talk about the same things — that also probably didn't happen just like the story they told.” — Senior
“I think a lot of people assume every college student is having sex and a lot of it. That’s not true. Everyone is ready at a different stage in their life.” — Graduate student
Would you like to share an experience that has influenced the way you think about sexuality as a college student?
“This was more of a coming of age lesson but I just learned sex didn’t have to be as serious as so many people make it out to be. Even if I don’t participate in hookup culture I don’t look down on people who do anymore.” — Junior
“Sexuality is a spectrum. You don’t have to fit in a box. There is no need to define your sexuality just so others can understand it.” — Graduate student
“One morning, my friend shared with me a story from the previous night, where she and another friend of hers basically ended up having an orgy with these guys they found at a bar. At the time, I'd been exposed to a lot more, uh, kinky topics than the girl I was with at the time. In fact, she got super squeamish during the conversation, but I was intrigued because the girl who was telling the story was sharing some of the things she and her friend did with these guys and I was amazed to learn people actually liked and wanted to do things like that outside of porn. It made me feel a lot less dirty about the things I like, too. After that conversation, I became a lot more willing to talk about sex and the things people like and why they like them. I think it's also made me more confident in asking those things of someone I sleep with, knowing that what I previously thought was some freaky shit isn't actually uncommon and that it's totally fine to ask that of a partner (because consent, duh). The different groups of people (read: not my very naive friends from high school who were mega sheltered) are probably to thank for that, and I'm glad I've had conversations with those people. College did wonders for opening my eyes on sexuality past 'hey, don't have sex.'” — Junior
Chalk wants to continue the dialogue about the sexual culture on campus. If you’d like to share an experience or thought about sexuality on campus, please fill out this form. Your responses will be considered for publication in a future article.