Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Being promiscuous helps me cope and there’s nothing wrong with that

By Ellis Smith

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I’m barely legal, badly dressed and bottle-blonde. I’m from a small town just outside Boston and I’ve been medicated for depression since I was 15. Starting college, especially at a big state school, was never going to be easy. Psychologists have helped me list the ways not to deal with stress since high school: I must not slice razor-thin divots into the skin of my thighs, can’t skip meals until all I can hear is the rumbling of my stomach, shouldn’t cut my own hair over the bathroom sink and need to stop drinking vodka straight from the long-necked bottle.

I wasn’t much of a partier before I came here, to the University of Massachusetts—“The Zoo” as we know it. During high school, when I got drunk, I did it alone. When I kissed a boy, it was after months of flirting, hand-holding and walks down quiet suburban streets until he would lean in, nudge his nose against mine and press our mouths together. High school was Prozac and perfume, necking in the dark and hearing whispered “I love you”’s. High school was never saying it back.

In college, my life changed—and I did too. The first few days stripped me down like paint thinner on an old car, until I was raw, shiny and prettier than before. My roommate said the dark circles brought out my blue eyes.

Frat boys liked this change too— they liked the way my lips were red and swollen from being pulled between my own teeth, not a display of coquettishness but of anxiety— and I liked that they liked it.

Something about the hot, wet air of basements and the stink of too many sweaty bodies made my skin crawl, but parties were still my playing field. I’d dance, grind my hips back and take it as a compliment when hands wandered. Strangers satisfied me in a way that not many other things did; they didn’t know anything about me, didn’t want to and wouldn’t ask questions. If anyone asked for my number, I’d give them a fake. If someone noticed, I’d say I was too drunk to possibly keep ten digits straight. It was a new kind of endorphin rush, shocking and heady, to know that people saw me as something desirable.

Snapchats sent to friends at home drew the same response: “You’re wild!” But I didn’t feel wild. When I walked around campus with hickeys, dry-mouthed and sleep-mussed after a long night, I felt grounded, at home in my own body. My appetite came back. I slept through the night.

Here’s the thing: there’s nothing wrong with being promiscuous. Almost all of the people my age I’ve met feel the same way. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using this unusual tactic to keep myself balanced, so long as the other party knows that there aren’t any strings attached. I’m not using or abusing anyone any more than the other party is using or abusing me. What’s the difference between me wanting to regulate my moods and a random boy wanting to have an orgasm and pass out?

Ellis Smith is a Collegian contributor.

Editor’s Note: A pseudonym is being used for fear of safety and potential retribution.

6 Comments

6 Responses to “Being promiscuous helps me cope and there’s nothing wrong with that”

  1. WonderingWhy? on September 18th, 2017 12:47 pm

    I wonder if this article is satire?

    You write “there’s nothing wrong with being promiscuous” and you also write “What’s the difference between me wanting to regulate my moods and a random boy wanting to have an orgasm and pass out?”

    I would say that 9.8 out 10 people who read the title of your article would wonder what they can do to dissuade you and help you.

    The fact that you need a pseudonym should be telling.

  2. Max on September 18th, 2017 2:55 pm

    Sounds like you have it all figured out! Good luck with that.

  3. Nitzakhon on September 18th, 2017 8:32 pm

    There’s nothing wrong with being promiscuous…

    Aside from the incredible risk of STDs, the emotional damage from emotionless hookups, the inability to create lasting emotional bonds because you’ve conditioned yourself to seek the “thrill of the new”, plus a reputation as being a slut – thus sought after by those whose only interest in you is genital. in nature.

    Get therapy.

  4. SittingBull on September 19th, 2017 5:09 pm

    Wow I hope this is satire. A parent’s worst nightmare. We try to do everything right to help cultivate a confident, capable, fulfilled, happy human being….but so much of it isn’t up to us. I’m gonna go hug my kids before they grow up too fast. Hope you find the solace you are looking for.

  5. mase on September 21st, 2017 6:20 am

    Very interesting article. i think that it’s serious, not a satire because the author fits the profile of countless girls on campus.

    What is wrong with being promiscuous? Perhaps you are asking this question in the wrong way, in the context of society or what is considered right or wrong

    Perhaps you should ask this question for yourself. As it pertains to your dignity, your body. Does the author value their body so little, they are willing to easily give it up? Do they objectify themselves?

    Sex is entirely devoid of meaning?

  6. Polaris on September 22nd, 2017 3:12 am

    The problem I see here is that her being promiscuous is a short term solution to a long term problem. The drinking, promiscuous lifestyle, and the “endorphin rush,” can only provide quick fixes to her depression – nothing more.

    What will happen when she graduates college, and the party lifestyle comes to an end? It’s a question she’ll eventually have to consider, preferably sooner rather than later.

    Ellis, you need something more sturdy to hold onto. Faith, friends, exercise, a hobby, anything. Whatever it may be, I hope you work it all out.

    God Bless.

    ~ just another guy at the Zoo

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