Maybe you had yours in high school. Or perhaps you bypassed it because you have pretty much been in a relationship since you were in diapers. Maybe you are morally superior to the rest of us and never experienced it at all. Or, perhaps you—like me—went a little sex-crazy when you got to college.
This routine phase has many possible reasons behind it: newfound freedom, sexual curiosity and heavy drinking are among them. I don’t think it is farfetched to say that many college students see their magic number skyrocket because of these factors. Of course this is not true of the entire student population; remember that we are now in the realm of the—how shall we label them?—ah, the “sexually liberal.” And while I see nothing wrong with this traditional stage of sexual excursion, I have recently learned that the ability to delight in it has an inescapable expiration date.
My decision to retire from sleeping around was not a conscious one. In fact, it took me some time to realize that I had decided it at all. But alas it dawned on me that I have absolutely no desire to be intimate with anyone that I’m not involved with (whatever “involved” may mean in college dating culture). With graduation only a few months away, perhaps I subconsciously recognized that it’s time to grow up. There was also the matter of my own magic number, which I have known for some time now needs to stop climbing if I want to refrain from lying about it in the future.
Now it is hard for my post-epiphany self to remember what I thought was so great about hooking up. The sex is rarely fantastic. Post-wild-night awkwardness is a guarantee. You create for yourself the awful and inevitable situation in which more than one person who put a notch on your belt is sitting in the same classroom or schmoozing at the same bar. This is never fun. Regret is another common side affect. Don’t get me wrong, there is obviously something enjoyable about hooking up, otherwise college kids wouldn’t swear by it like they swear by the Daily Show for their news.
But, like our old pal Robert Frost once wrote, nothing gold can stay. And although I cannot scientifically prove it, I have a hunch that the glory days of active sexual conquest turn sour for everyone at some point. Surely the desire to frequently sleep with many people will eventually morph into the desire to sleep with one person frequently.
Do I dare say that casual sex may even one day repulse you?
So kids, for those of you who have yet to plunge into the casual sex circuit, or simply have yet to fully get it out of your system, enjoy it while you still can. And while the responsible advice may in fact be to “stop this reckless behavior at once,” I am both a realist and a recently reformed “sexually liberal” with quite the opposite advice: Be safe, but don’t slow down—revel in it before you wake up one day disgusted by the shenanigans of your past.