Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Women’s sexuality – liberated or limited?

By Linnea Thomas

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(Thomas Hawk/Daily Collegian)

(Thomas Hawk/Daily Collegian)

College-aged women tend to have a romanticized idea of what it’s like to get to school and be sexually free. There’s this novel idea of being breezy and casual and sexually liberated – but so much more goes into it. At a big university, people don’t seem to care who you’ve slept with. There isn’t that same level of harsh judgment that comes with being sexually active in the confines of a small suburb. But at what point does this new found sexual freedom stop being liberating and start being oppressive for young women?

It’s one thing to go out with a group of friends and decide you’d like to go home with somebody, but a complete other thing to go out and feel as though you have to go home with the person you were dancing with and that you have to engage in some kind of sexual activity once you get there. When you’re portraying an image of being single, fun and carefree, people seem to carry certain expectations and apply them to you without your consent. There is so much pressure on young women to put out. If you don’t, you’re a prude. But then again, if you do you’re a slut. So where’s the win in that scenario?

Women’s sexuality is flecked with complexity, especially in college. Michelle Lin, a college-aged woman from Texas, breaks down her own realizations about sex in a university setting. She found what most women have come to expect: sex is not a set definition and a lot goes into it. Lin delves into the truth behind what sex really means for young people – pointing out the relative heteronormativity most people are brought up with. Not only that, but the fact that sex and college can both be weird and awkward and confusing.

People like to say that we’re living in a time where women are sexually liberated, but I disagree. It really is a, damned if you do-damned if you don’t, culture. There are guys that say they like when a girl is down for a one night stand, but also that they wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with a girl who has had more partners than they have. It creates a strange limbo for women who might like to be somewhere between the two.

As a young woman, I find it hard to believe that I would not be judged for my choices regarding my sex life. Even my own friends will throw out a quip here and there, because that’s the kind of culture we’re raised in. Am I supposed to feel free, sexy and amazing because I had a really awful one-night stand? Or am I supposed to feel ashamed? But really, why do I have to choose to conform one way or the other?

The real trouble lies within the feeling of obligation that comes with being a single girl. Of course there is no need to feel obligated to do anything, but sometimes that feeling just kind of springs itself on you. It makes you feel bad for dancing with somebody and then refusing to go home with them, as if you owe them something – when really, you most definitely do not owe them anything.

If you’re stuck in this weird middle ground as a college aged woman, or really any woman, I vote you stick up for what you actually want and disregard any judgment thrown at you along the way.

No, I will not go home with you and I’m not a prude because of that. Or, yes, I will go home with you, but only for the cuddles. And of course, yes I’ll go home with you and I look forward to a pleasant consensual evening. But, no more judgment being forced on women’s sexuality; everyone is allowed to want different things or change their mind and there’s nothing wrong with that. You are not more or less of a woman because of who you choose to sleep with and when you choose to sleep with them. The real sexually liberating culture is yet to come. It’s a change that each individual can make a difference in by being forward, honest and above all – understanding.

Linnea Thomas is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]

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