As a new group of Hoyas has been welcomed to campus this fall, H*yas for Choice Board members Meredith Forsyth and Lane Easterling sat down and reflected back on their first-year experiences. They recalled their innocence and naïveté upon entering college. They remembered being simultaneously scared and excited about all of the possibilities in front of them, trying to make adult decisions without having adequate information.
Below, they bust some myths about sex and sexual health at Georgetown, and impart some of their amateur wisdom on the world.
Disclaimer: The opinions reflected in this article are the authors and theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of the University faculty, staff, or other students. Also, the authors are not doctors, so seek out medical professionals if you have any questions about your own personal health.
MYTH: Georgetown kids don’t have sex.
FACT: Sex! It happens here. According to The Georgetown Voice 2012 campus survey, about 72% of the campus population has been sexually active within the last year.
MYTH: Every weekend will have at least one hook up.
FACT: Most weekends you won’t be having sex — though you might, and that’s perfectly okay. Hooking up shouldn’t make or break your weekend plans. There are plenty of ways to have fun on and off campus that don’t involve sex. It can enhance your weekend, but it shouldn’t be a definitive factor.
Lane speaking: First semester, I approached weekends looking for hook-ups and found that if you go to a party with that agenda, it won’t happen. Planning a night around hooking up only leads to disappointment and bad decisions. Let the evening play itself out, and you may end up being pleasantly surprised.
MYTH: “Hooking up” equals sex.
FACT: Your definition of a hook-up will be different than your friend or partner’s. “Hooking up” might mean making out (DFMO = dance floor make-out), having sex, or something in between. Don’t let your friends pressure you into a situation that makes you uncomfortable because you want to be a part of the crowd. Also, don’t be that friend who pressures others. Not cool. As ever, if you do intend on hooking up, ALWAYS MAKE SURE YOU HAVE CONTINUAL ENTHUSIASTIC CONSENT. Communicate with your partner about what you, and they, are comfortable with, and be sure that no one crosses that line. Remember that it’s okay to say no at any point.
MYTH: Virginity is a thing.
FACT: False! Virginity is a social construct that is meant to tokenize women as objects to collect and then shame and promote hyper-masculinity. Virginity also promotes heteronormative relations that do not encompass the entire sexual spectrum of activities, as it only defines sex as vaginal penetration. You have your own unique experiences that define you, and someone else’s definitions of bases or sex should not govern your actions or desires. Explore your sexuality at your own pace, and do not let others pressure you to do things you are not comfortable with.
MYTH: Everyone has sexual experiences before college, and if you don’t, you need to catch up.
FACT: It is true that some people have had sexual experiences before college, but many people also don’t. Don’t feel pressured into doing something you don’t want or aren’t ready for. You have every right to say NO!
MYTH: Hook-up culture is real on the Hilltop.
FACT: It’s a yes and no for this. Depending on who you socialize with and what your expectations are, your experience will differ. Personally, it’s about finding what balance you are comfortable with. We have had our share of hookups and relationships in our first year, and we’ve seen that hooking up and forming relationships have an equal presence on campus, along with not hooking up at all. Find what you like, and not what someone else likes for you.
Also, developing healthy and meaningful friendships can be better than trying to hook-up every party. They will last longer than a one-night stand and will make your first year so much better, so instead of hitting on that cute person all the time, spend time getting to know and having fun with your floor or whomever you hang out with.
MYTH: You don’t need to talk to your roommate(s) about boundaries and rules about sex in the room. They know what is “appropriate” and will respect you when it comes to their sexual practices.
FACT: Keeping an open and honest dialogue open with your roommate(s) is imperative to maintaining a healthy and respectful roommate relationship. Be sure to communicate with your roommate(s) about using the room for more ~intimate~ moments — it might seem awkward at first, but it will save you both from a lot of awkwardness in the future.
MYTH: Sex and sexual health are a taboo subject on campus.
FACT: Most Georgetown students are mature enough to understand that we are all young adults and should be able to discuss most things openly, including sex. Honestly, if you can’t talk about sex and your sexual health candidly, you shouldn’t be engaging in it. Sex is something to be enjoyed and is not shameful. Sex positivity is healthy and beneficial both individually and for our whole campus.
H*yas for Choice has worked hard to engage the community in an open discussion about sex and reproductive health through tabling and free contraceptive distribution, events, and parties. If you are interested in this, then please join our club!
MYTH: The external (male) condom is the only form of contraceptive.
FACT: There are plenty of other forms of contraceptives available. There are internal (female) condoms, dental dams, spermicide, IUDs, Birth Control, etc (NOT SARAN WRAP OR VASELINE). If you would like more information, please visit our sexual health resources page. (Disclaimer: While H*yas for Choice does mainly provide external (male) condoms, this is only due to lack of funding (thanks G-town), but we’re working on being more inclusive.)
Meredith speaking: When I arrived at Georgetown with a mostly abstinence-only sex education background (thanks, Catholic high school), I was shocked to learn about all the different methods of contraception at my disposal, thanks to H*yas for Choice.
MYTH: There are no resources on campus for sexual health.
FACT: Despite what you may think, Georgetown does offer a limited range of services. First, the Student Health Clinic, located on the ground floor of Darnall Hall, does provide STI and HIV testing. It’s a quick process and very discreet, and the staff has always been very nice and non-judgmental. This service is NOT free, and your insurance may not cover it, so call ahead and ask as many questions as you can. This should not discourage you from getting tested. If you don’t and end up having something, your health bill will be much worse, so be proactive. You should always know your status and the status of your partner. The Student Health Services office, located in the first floor of Poulton Hall, provides free pregnancy tests, as well sexual health resources including free counseling, though they do not provide condoms or other forms of contraceptives.
If you think that you are at risk of contracting HIV, the Student Health Clinic does prescribe PrEP.
Lane speaking: I’ll be honest, I did not have the best experience with STI testing and the Student Health Clinic. They mischarged me and my insurance didn’t cover the lab that they used, forcing my parents to call the Health Clinic to get the matter sorted out. Nothing says college like your parents asking you why you needed to get tested.