Sisterhood of the Traveling Sex Column: Going Out Without Getting Any

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Hello Bubble,

As far as you shall ever know, my name is Licentious Lily, and, for the rest of the semester, I will be sharing my opinions about sex or the lack thereof, so take it or leave it. I promise to use as few cutesy euphemisms as I possibly can – I think y’all are intelligent enough to know exactly what you are getting in to when you read this column, and I think they are unnecessary.

I’ll start with how I picked my name, since I’m sure some of you are curious. I like the word licentious (trust me, its an excellent insult), and I like the name Lily (which often represents purity), and I LOVE that they both mean totally opposite things because sometimes that is how I feel about myself. Some weekends I go out and get laid, some weekends I want to grind on some random dude whose face I won’t recognize at Sunday brunch, and some weekends I want to sit in my room and attend to my gigantic Hulu queue. I am promiscuous when I want to be and chaste whenever I feel like it.

Recently, when going out, I have stayed away from hooking up. Part of this is due to the fact that I am stressed to the max-times-ten and part of this is due to the fact that I have no real desire, physically or emotionally. I want to go out, dance, be wild, and at the end of the night fall asleep in fuzzy socks and a sweater from a very distant ex. However, here at Swat, we work too hard during the week to not go all out on the weekends, and occasionally I have a hard time returning to my single by myself. That is my definition of hooking up, but for the sake of all you guys and gals who define it differently, I will play ball. Define “hooking up” however you want; it can be dancing, making out, or sex in one of its various forms.

In any case, here are my loose guidelines for how to party hard without hooking up.

1. Don’t drink yourself under the table or into someone else’s bed.
This is not to say you can’t drink at all. However, if you decide on any particular night that you don’t want to hook up, the easiest way to avoid it is to be in control of yourself.

2. Dancing is fine, but having sex with your clothes on is not.
Grinding with someone is a perfectly enjoyable activity, I get that it’s hot. Still, there is a difference between dancing with someone and literally having sex in the middle of Olde Club, fully clothed. If you do this, the likelihood of it ending up in a makeout sesh or something more skyrockets. Dance for a song or two or more, but then take a break. Should you dance again later in the night, still keep to this rule, and follow rule #7.

3. Keep your like-minded friends closer.
This is by far the easiest rule to follow. Your friends will keep you in line, and if you are in a large group the likelihood of anyone approaching decreases.

4. You can have a conversation in Paces.
There are subtle ways to tell someone that they are not the reason you are standing on a table screaming, “Closing Time,” and this is one of them. Take breaks to talk or dance with other friends. If you acknowledge one of dozens of other people in the room, you create space between you and the potential hook-up, and you show that they are not a means to an end.

5. Poker Face — or this face.
In my opinion, this is the least utilized way of telling someone that you are not interested in more. This makes dancing far less personal, and far less likely to result in anything more than you want it to. It also limits potentially highly sexual conversation and the predictable, “I’m ready to leave when you are.”

6. Agenda for going out: Paces, Frats, Olde Club. Rinse and repeat.
If you are constantly moving from one party to another, you can dance with as many people as you want with no commitment, #winning. This is the best way to get your grind on and stay away from someone who is looking to spend a significant amount of time hooking up.

7. Say what you need to say.
Regardless of the fact that John Mayer just popped up on my iTunes, telling someone you are not interested in going past whatever your personal limits are is the best way to make sure that line is not crossed. It is your responsibility to communicate what your boundaries are, ALWAYS, and if they are not being respected, walk away, alert a friend, call Public Safety — it’s your call. If you are uncomfortable, please understand that whatever you do to protect yourself is totally called for and absolutely necessary.

I hope some of the above advice is helpful to you, and if anybody has any questions or things that they would like to see columns on, feel free to post them in the comments section. I look forward to hearing from you all!

Licentious Lily

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