Swoggles, Swooping and Sex Positivity: A Newcomer’s Guide to Sex at Swarthmore

Welcome, first-years and transfers! And congratulations. After months of jumping through multiple flaming hoops to study for every standardized and nonstandardized test imaginable, you have finally made it. YOU ARE AT SWARTHMORE NOW.

And as you begin to unpack that massive piece of luggage into which you somehow managed to fit the majority of your belongings, as you swipe into Sharples for your first ever meal as a true Swattie, you can’t help but wonder: Who the fuck am I gonna fuck?

Naturally, your next thought is something like: Do Swatties even have sex? Seriously. Considering your already loaded schedule— five credits (you overachiever, you) with a hundred or so pages of assigned reading per course; an assortment of student groups; and, of course, mandatory Thursday pub nites— getting it in seems quite ambitious, unless of course you’re referring to that 20-page econ paper (which you will most likely put off until the night before).

But if no one at Swarthmore ever had sex ever, this column wouldn’t exist. So what’s the deal?

I guess you could say the whole “sex scene” here is a little different from what you would expect at, say, a state university. And, being the intellectuals that we are, we have some special terms of our own in regards to doing the dirty on campus.

Here is a short glossary of terms to keep in mind as you engage on your Swarthmorean sexcapades:

consent: This is an important term, but also a very complicated one. It’s not just a yes, but an enthusiastic yes. Also not the absence of a no. And it does not count if the “yes” is preceded by two hundred no’s. Make sure you have consent before committing any acts of sexuality, or else what you’ll actually be committing is assault.

hallcest: Having sex with someone who lives on your hall may seem like a good idea at first; after all, it is super convenient AND you don’t have to worry about the walk of shame! HOWEVER. There is ALWAYS the possibility that it will not work out between you two, and it’s pretty hard to avoid the people on your hall. So that makes for a pretty awkward semester.

(Like) Like a Little: Swat’s version of LikeALittle, “for when flirting is too mainstream.” Students can anonymously post flirty little messages about others for the whole world to see. Isn’t that cute?

roomcest: Hooking up with your roomie(s) may result in an even more potentially uncomfortable situation than hallcest. Because, you know, you live with them. When you hook up with someone on your hall you can at least kind of avoid them, but you probably see your roommate(s) every day. You sleep and wake up in the same room. No matter how hard you try, you’re may run into some trouble if you take a more literal approach to Screw Your Roommate.

sex positivity: This is more important than you might think. Well, maybe not. Just remember that SEX IS NOT A BAD THING. Not only that, but sex positivity describes an attitude towards sex that accepts and supports all sexual beliefs and related consensual practices. It’s not a movement to force sex onto people, but to respect individuals’ choices to have or not have sex.

Sexual Health Counselor (SHC): You may have one of us on your hall. You definitely have one of us in your dorm. An SHC will have a box of goodies, such as condoms and lil packets of lube, on their door. They are also prepared to shed some light on your gnarliest questions about sex.

SwattieBodies: A tumblr that describes itself as “a safe and friendly place for Swatties of all shapes and sizes to celebrate their bodies.” Before you go and look this up with Mom and Dad, keep in mind that the content of this site is very, very explicit. While the site does, indeed, promote body appreciation, it does so in an intentionally provocative way. There is a reason I’m mentioning it in a sex vocab list…in a sex column. Expect graphic nudity and potentially disturbing exposure of various “private parts.” You have been warned.

swoggles: Apparently, the students here aren’t super attractive. Ever heard of beer goggles? This is the same idea. Swoggles supposedly distort our perception so that we are used to how Swatties look, and therefore have much lower standards. So basically, when we step onto campus we put on our yummy swoggles to make things look a little better in our eyes. Whether or not swoggles actually exist is up for interpretation.

swooping: I’ve heard quite a few versions of the swooping rule. No swooping until after October break, no swooping until second semester…something like that. Anyway, swooping is when a returning student hooks up with a first-year. And while this may sound like a really really good idea for both/all parties involved, it’s not. “I’m SO glad I got swooped!” SAID NO ONE. EVER.

Now, you are ready to go out into the small bubble of a world known as Swarthmore College. Be fruitful, and multiply!

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