When you send your kid off to college, you like to think you’re sending them into a world that has everything to do with academics and preparing for their future. But deep down — especially if you went to college yourself — you know what they are about to experience has much more to do with things you don’t want to imagine your kid experiencing, but that are actually every bit as important in regards to preparing for their future as the academics.
I’m talkin’ ’bout sex, baby.
Not necessarily having sex — although by the time they graduate it’s pretty much a given *holding fingers in my ears and singing lalalalala* — but immersed in it, nonetheless.
When your kids are in middle school (about 8th grade) they get “the talk” in health class. (Hopefully, what they hear is nothing new because you’ve given them the talk at home long before that, correct?? *PSA alert* Give them “the talk” long before 8th grade!) Regardless of when or where they get it, there is still some controversy on the whole abstinence stance in schools. Where we live, they teach it…but. Because while they promote abstinence, they also do a good job of teaching about various STDs. You know, “scare them straight” and everything. Safe-sex is talked about only in relation to avoiding a nasty case of the lifetime warts. It’s up to you as parents to fill in the blanks whichever way you see fit. Which — *PSA alert #2* — you should.
Because once they get to college, all bets are off.
Signs of sex — regular, oral, upside-down, inside-out, backwards and forwards — are everywhere.
And if you find yourself strapped for $1.00 or decide that you just really want a Butterfinger instead, no worries!
There’s posters plastered above the water fountain so while you get a drink you can learn about the various lube choices (college is all about multi-tasking, after all), and maybe find a fun new catch-phrase.
And in case you forget everything you learned in 8th grade, not to worry.
They offer on-campus seminars, sex education offices, sexual health (and enjoyment) offices and clubs, and even perform comedy shows devoted to the topic. My daughter and her friends went to one where the improv troupe was demonstrating the importance of consent. She got a sucker.
And while the university’s acknowledgement of the importance of keeping sex safe and consensual is very much appreciated, not to mention critically important, I imagine it can make a girl (or guy) who isn’t having sex feel a bit left out — “OK! FINE! I just wanted a Butterfinger, but I’LL HAVE SEX INSTEAD!”
You know it must go through their minds. I mean, when you’re literally faced with posters detailing the benefits of using your saliva as lube every time you go to get a cool sip of water, it’s bound to make you feel like you’re missing out on something.
Or want to vomit, perhaps.
But the bottom line is this: While I’m certainly happy that the importance of practicing safe sex is encouraged (to put it mildly), I can’t help but feel like it demystifies and de-romanticizes sex, especially for those who are choosing to wait to have it until it’s meaningful. Look, I’m not (much of) a prude — really, I’m not — and I get that a large percentage of college kids are
probably having casual, meaningless sex, but I can see how the profusion of information (and supplies) — no matter how important — could be a bit frustrating to those who are choosing not to. (Believe it or not, there are still kids who are choosing to wait until it’s meaningful.)
On the other hand, at least they’ll know they better damn well not brush their teeth after oral sex … because let’s be honest, who knew?
*photos courtesy of my daughter, who has a great sense of humor, and now a firm grasp of silicone-based lubrications
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