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.
Last week was an introduction. It was the icebreaker at the beginning of a club meeting – you offer up a tiny piece of information, but it doesn’t quite give anyone enough to really know you. From now on, you’re going to get to know me pretty well. But before we get into anything fun, there’s something important we need to discuss: what makes for enjoyable sex.
In certain kink communities, the acronym SSC is used to describe what sex should be: Sane, Safe, and Consensual. Sane means that you and your partner(s) are in the right frame of mind to be making decisions about sex. No one is drunk. No one is high. No one is extremely upset about something. If you don’t think you could successfully write a paper in the mood you are in when you’re going to have sex (not that you would want to), you should not be having sex. It’s not consent if you’re not 100 percent when you agree to something.
Safe is about contraception, but about much more than that as well. It’s also crucial not to put yourself or your partner in any mental or physical danger. Don’t have sex on a ledge. Don’t have sex in a classroom during the day. Protect your bodies, your heart, and your reputation.
People talk about consent all the time, but it’s shocking how many people are still unclear about what consent means. Consensual sex is about the aforementioned thing, but also about having explicit permission for every act you and your partner perform. If your partner says it’s okay to kiss him/her/them, you can kiss him/her/them, and that’s it. It does not mean you can touch him/her/them, even if that’s where you think your encounter is going. Ask often, and make sure your partner feels safe and comfortable enough to actually say no.
Getting into kinky stuff, even the soft stuff from last week, means SSC is even more important. If your partner is deprived of a sense, she/he/they is at a disadvantage when it comes to self-defense. Ask if your partner is okay often, even if the activity hasn’t changed. Consent is the most important part of sex. And make sure you talk about things with your partner before you do them! Communication is the best foreplay imaginable.
Now that we’ve covered that, we’re going to talk about another lighter topic. In college, people often have roommates. Roommates sometimes mean that you have to have sex in some unconventional places. I’ve heard stories of couples getting it on in classrooms, outdoors, dorm lounges, admissions offices, between library stacks, public bathrooms, the big chair, the DKAP elevators…the list could go on indefinitely. Basically, if you’ve been there, someone’s fucked there.
Having sex in unconventional locations can be a necessity, or it can just be fun. For a lot of you, it’s probably the former: uncomfortable with the potential exposure, you will get off quickly, get dressed, and part ways. You will shudder when you walk through places you’ve done it, recalling the embarrassment of a time spent there as part of a sweaty, awkward couple.
For others, an unconventional location can be savored. It’s not ideal, but it’s hardly worth moping about. You take your time – if someone happens to see you, well, at least you’ve given that person a good show. You will smile when you walk by that tree you fucked under that one time and remember the rush you felt when you heard footsteps coming almost too close for comfort.
For others still, these unconventional locations are sought out. The idea that you might get caught makes the sex more exciting. If you belong to this group, you might forego an empty dorm room in favor of the front desk in SCI 101. You’ll do it in front of a window just because. And you’re really making the most out of what college has to offer.
Having sex in unconventional places can be fun. A bed is well and good, but a desk is great for positioning, roleplay, and an exhibitionist thrill. The greatest sexual experience I’ve had was outside on Mertz field right before sunrise. It was erotic for more than just the feel of grass on bare skin: knowing that someone could walk by, or look out a window, or wake up to a badly-muffled scream made the sex so much better. I’ve spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out why. I’m not one of those people who gets off from being seen naked, and I certainly don’t want to ever be caught, but the possibility is irrationally sexy.
Remembering that night, I recall how every touch was both rushed and savored. Every sound we made put us on high-alert, which heightened arousal. Every kiss somehow lasted forever and a second simultaneously. And I think this contradiction – wanting to savor a moment but being ready to bolt at any second – is what made it so fun.
So my advice is to take advantage of unconventional locations while they’re at your disposal. It gets harder to fuck outside of a bedroom after you leave the bubble of Swarthmore, and since many of you are going to have to do it anyway, you should try to enjoy it. After all, sex is meant to be savored.