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From High School to College: How Sex Changes

by Annabelle Critz

At ten years old I remembered my aunt joking about sex. More specifically how high school boys lack certain skills and that college boys are worth that wait. I doubt this was wisdom directed at a child, however, I internalized it. At the tender age of ten, I decided to wait for college boys and scorn high school ones. It makes perfect sense why I would. Almost all of the media I had consumed up to that point glorifies women waiting. Thousands of years of history and cultural analysis show a preference for it. I am in no way damning women who do choose to wait and now for most of the western world, I think that’s harder. But, here’s a little secret. I didn’t hold on till college to have sex. 

While reclining slightly wine drunk in my bathtub I began to idyllically think about how my views on sex have changed from high school to college. I came to the rather shocking conclusion that not much had changed. Sure, I hadn’t hooked up in a car for a while, except one taxi-cab in London, but that's no longer a preferred method. I began to ponder my first sexual experiences when I was a freshman in high school.

I was the first of my friends to have sex. Therefore, I was expected to have lots of answers about it, but I didn’t have them, I barely knew the answers to them. I was certainly not an expert on boys, I just became comfortable talking to those my own age. I was certainly not an expert on sex. Let’s not joke around, no one’s an expert after their first go or their third. Sex, like all special skills takes practice. After years, I can confidently admit that I might just now get the hang of it.  

My freshman year of high school sex was horribly taboo. I had the privilege of attending a very well-to-do private school in the South. As anyone who knows stereotypes can imagine, sex is not really discussed, and if done, it should be with your boyfriend (or girlfriend/special friend/etc). It was certainly not something that was done cavalierly. So that’s how I did it. Certainly, not as stick ‘em to traditions, but because it was what fit my life. I didn’t date in high school and I have yet to date in college, but that's not preventing me from having fun. If someone doesn’t fit into my life, or how I am operating, then they aren’t a good fit for me.   

I have changed a little. High school me would have been thrilled by any attention. I was still at the point of my life where being called beautiful by a stranger left me euphoric for days. Now, I say a polite thank you and move on. I’ve learned the rather difficult and important lesson: words are easily said and mean very little unless they come from someone you hold in high esteem. 

High school me was not very concerned about the folks she spent her time with. Especially during my senior year, goodness gracious I spent so much time on dating apps casually texting people. The experience was important, sure, I really learned how to communicate over the phone. But college me is a little cut-throat shark. I’ll chat with people for maybe two days (make sure they are sane) and then ask to meet them. If I don’t ‘vibe with them’ (something I’ve actually texted to someone) then I move on. I value my time more.   

As you get older, one of the strangest aspects of sex is that you are expected to spend the night. I will do just about anything in the bedroom with zero hesitation, but when asked to spend the night, I freeze. I was never a big fan of sleepovers as a little kid. I could not understand the appeal of sleeping in someone else’s bed when yours is like twenty minutes away. But if you just had sex, I kinda get it, affection and cuddles and all that. Sometimes I can get on board with that. 

But what really confuses me is the whole breakfast thing. I never know what to do. So I try to jump ship as soon as possible, but that can hurt their feelings. Some guys do want to make you scrambled eggs and coffee, but I hate scrambled eggs so I’m at a loss again of what to do. So if you find yourself in the midst of a sleepover don't panic like me, but try to run to the restroom to take your makeup off. I have learned that spending the night can be very nice IF AND ONLY IF you are friends outside of the bed, there is a spare blanket, and if you work out breakfast plans beforehand. I’m aware that few people can be less romantic than I can, but nothing brings me pleasure quite like waking up next to someone.

In college, I have found sex less special. Writing it out like that is quite desolate, but it's true. Sex has always been something of a commodity. Think of the Adelie Penguins who have been known to trade sex for rocks. Now I’m not in the business of trading, especially not for the shiniest rocks. I never thought that I would become relaxed about it. The first few times I did it in high school, the rest of the day was for relaxation. I would take a bath, eat, drink electrolytes, go to sleep, basically marathon recovery. Now…..I showered a couple of hours later, definitely didn’t wash my hair. 

Hookup culture is easy to blame for how we jump from one partner to another. And it would be simple for me to excuse how un-special I find it. But that would be untrue, I have never found sex that special. Come college I’ve found I can very comfortably leave my evening’s paramour and never think of them again.              

While continuing to sip on my wine, I began to wonder if I will be the woman that never marries and instead just has horribly decadent affairs with interesting people all over the world. That is certainly the life my close friends see for me— It's a life that I received an amuse-bouche of while living in London for several months. Or will I surprise my close friends (including my mother) and marry a college sweetheart. I may do neither or I may do both, I have some time to decide still.

I do wonder how my views on sex will change as I go into my early twenties. But since I began at a young age, I have reached some of the more important discoveries any young woman can. The most important being that you can’t have good sex unless you value yourself as a person. I don’t think this is said enough and what's more, you cannot appreciate the results until you do. Once you learn your worth, you tend to choose better partners, cooler locations, and generally have a better time. 

When older women tell you to wait till college to have sex, it’s not because they are worried about the boys being bad (maybe slightly). They are worried that as a 15-16-year-old you won’t value yourself as much as your 20-21-year-old self will. I have always been one to suggest doing whatever makes you content and if that means having no sex or all the sex, good on ya. Just try to put it off until you can be selfish with your own time and body.     

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