written by stargirl
“I had a really fun time with you tonight” he says as you’re sitting on his bed, knees touching and your heart pounding out of your chest. You’re smiling and giddy with attention. He leans in for the kiss and all you can think is “oh fuck I’ve never sucked a dick before!!”
Now let’s back it up a bit. When college started, I was already very nervous about situations like these. I had never done more than kissing someone, and was the last of my friends back home to not have any experience with dating or hookup culture. 18-year-old me was a self-conscious overthinker with absolutely no game. None. So when a guy was paying me some interest one friday night three weeks into the school year, I was absolutely beside myself excited. But the thing is, I had no clue what I was doing and was so terrified that afterwards he would go around telling our friends it was bad. I was in my head the entire time questioning my every action. I knew one thing for certain, though: I did NOT want to have sex with this guy. So I told him, and was respected. And it wasn’t half bad; he never made me feel weird about the whole encounter afterwards. We actually became friends. So why was I so scared?
The answer lies in a simple truth: college life expects you to want to participate in hookup culture, and to know what you’re doing. It’s a lot of pressure for most people to handle, and can push you to do things you may wish you thought twice about. It’s also easy to think that everyone else already knows everything, easy to think you need to pretend. Freshman year is difficult enough as is, and it sucks that we have to be thrown into this pit of raging hormones and first abuses of freedom. I’m here to tell you that no matter what you choose to do with this time, it’s perfectly normal. I didn’t have sex until I was a sophomore, much like a lot of people I know. I have tons of friends who had their first kiss at 18. I also have many friends who went into college with a lot of experience, and wanted to continue to explore their sexuality. Everyone is always going to be at different stages, and there’s no shame in any path you take.
So now we’re back to that first time hooking up with someone. You might be absolutely terrified, even if it’s something you know you want to do. And it will probably be awkward, and you might even be laughing through it. Freshman year is practically a breeding ground for awkward encounters, and I had plenty of them. That first guy I mentioned had unfortunately forgotten to shave that day, and I was left with a goatee-looking rug burn on my chin for two weeks (before the time of masks mind you). Another guy sent me his soundcloud raps every friday at 4 in the morning for a month after we hooked up. It might be utterly embarrassing at the time, but it’ll be a great story later. Hookup culture shouldn’t be something that holds this power over us, that we have to succumb to. You should have the freedom to do what you choose with who you choose. And remember: you don’t have to know everything about sex and love at 18.