As I write this, Hampshire hipsters are making "awesome connections" over a mutual appreciation of analog photography, Smith girls are wavering on their sexual orientations and Amherst preppies, like a slightly grown-up cast of Gossip Girl, are always in some kind of scandal swept under the rug by Daddy's dough.
That's right—school's back in session, which means your sex life is now out from under the mood-killing watch of your parents (xxxtra exciting for you freshmen). There's fresh meat on campus. Before you gobble it up, let's talk successful one-night stands.
Get tested. Do it now. Not the night of the UMass kegger-turned-riot, because test results take time. One-nighters are never worth an incurable STD or the hassle of a treatable one. Just because your fling dissolves at sunrise doesn't mean you shouldn't care about the person you're flinging (and yourself) enough to protect against potentially life-threatening diseases. Know your testing status, ask about theirs, and seriously consider how much you trust their answer. Campus health services or Tapestry Health are great resources.
Use substances wisely. A sex act is consensual when both parties actively agree to it after having an informed understanding of what they're agreeing to. By definition, genuine consent is almost impossible to get from someone who's fucked up. And without consent, sex quickly dissolves into sexual abuse or assault. Besides, sex is supposed to be pleasurable and if you're too wasted to feel it or remember it, what's the point?
Now that the cautionary tales have been told, remember to enjoy yourself! One-night stands are a great time to let your hair down (or get it pulled), exaggerate your orgasmic soundtrack or try out your new partner's patented position. Like moving to a new city, one-night stands let you reinvent your sex persona without the expectations that come with a familiar hookup. However, certain brand new experiences are better with a long-term partner whom you know and trust. First-time anal sex, for example, is never a pleasurable quickie, while making your first XXX home movie isn't a casual project—you have heard of the Internet, right?
Your single-serving sexcapade will taste much better if...
1) All parties know that this is a one-time, no-strings-attached affair and can actually maintain that nonchalance when it's over.
2) You feel comfortable asking for what you want in bed, even with an almost-stranger. Especially for women, one-night stands aren't consistently orgasmic, as we often take more time and direction to get off. Give your partner direction if needed, and if he/she doesn't take it, why are you still in his or her bed?
3) You know your fleeting fox—at least a little bit before heading back to his/her lair. As you may have read in past column "Va-Va-Vanilla" (February 10, 2011), I personally like to indulge in temporary sweet-tooth time with friends because I know them, trust them and, from our mutual history, have a good idea of how we might sexually complement each other and how well we deal with one-night stands when the fun is over.
Having seen your fling-of-choice in class, around campus or sharing a mutual friend is, at the very least, a safety precaution and, at most, will heat up tomorrow's chemistry class knowing that you've already seen your lab partner's Bunsen burn. If caught up with a beautiful stranger, tell friends where you're going and make a check-in time so that if you don't text by 3 a.m., they know something's wrong.
Lastly, all's well that ends well. The best one-night stands culminate in a 4 a.m. diner breakfast and a knowing smile when you see them on campus, not slut-shaming, sext harassment or Facebook bragging. Just because it only lasted a few hours doesn't mean you didn't have a sexual relationship with that person which, for big, grown-up college kids, means that they deserve your respect. And they now know what you look like naked, what you sound like in the sack and how you love to... well, I'd be nice if I were you. Welcome back, students!"