The Middlebury Campus

Ten Things I Know to Be True About Sex

By Sex Panther

Full disclosure: The Sex Panther wrote this piece while slightly (okay — quite) tipsy. And she loves you the most.

Alright, y’all. I’m graduating in 17 days. That’s a scary short amount of time. I debated about what I wanted to leave you with in my final edition of the sex panther — an ode to female masturbation (seriously a god-send, y’all!), an interview with a professor who researches sexuality, why you should take a chance and reach out to someone you have a crush on in these last few weeks, or real-life stories of people doing it right (pun intended). Instead, I want to leave y’all with the bullet-points version of everything I know about sex and relationships:

One: Communication is key. I said this in the very first SP column I wrote and it’s the truest thing I know about relationships, whether a brief sexual encounter or long-lasting partnership. Being honest with our partners leads to better relationships and better sex.

Two: It’s great to experiment. If you want to try out something new, find a pressure-free way to introduce a new concept into your sex life. “Just for fun” trying something out is a lot easier to do than making a new component a big deal and loading on the pressure for both you and your partner to have a good time. (Handcuffs, blindfolds, dildos are highly recommended as first steps to introducing some kink into your relationship.)

Three: Masturbation is the bomb. Seriously. There is such a deep pleasure in knowing yourself and giving yourself time to explore your fantasies in the safety of your own bed. Plus, it’s a lot easier to explain to a partner what turns you on when you’ve done some solo exploration.

Four: The key to staying friends with your ex is (duh) communication. Be open to letting them know if you need space from them, especially at the beginning. Sometimes it helps to have horrifying fights about why you broke up, as long as you keep in mind that under all that hurt, you still care for each other and respect each other as human beings. Of course, if you don’t care about them deeply anymore and a friendship doesn’t matter to you, don’t bother.

Five: Tell the people you care about that you do care. I tend to talk A LOT, but when I need to tell someone how much I care for them, I let them know that what I’m saying is really important by slowing down, making some eye contact and saying really bluntly how important they are to me, how proud I am of them, etc. Implied love and affection is not communicated as clearly as we might think. Whether with friends or lovers, you have to let them know every once in a while.

Six: Don’t sleep with someone your friend dated, unless you’re willing to change that friendship forever in order to pursue a relationship the ex. I don’t care how chill your friend is, sleeping with their ex will change y’all’s relationship forever. Maybe it’ll change for the better in the long-run, but in the short-run, things will inevitably be tense. You have to be ready to deal with that tension in a mature way.

Seven: CONSENT! Constantly! This can just be a check-in, but it should happen during the entire sexual experience — from the first moment you approach one another at a party to the first kiss to post-sex cuddling.

Eight: No sexual desire should be shamed. That doesn’t mean you have to personally be willing to participate in something, but don’t shame the act or the people who might want to participate.

Nine: It’s not always about coming. Sex is ideally sensual and erotic, and that doesn’t always mean getting yours. It can mean being a generous and selfless partner one minute and the recipient of a lot of love the next. There is a lot of social baggage that goes along with this advice — cis-hetero men tend to think that the goal (and end) of sex is their ejaculation. But the point is really (besides baby-making) mutual pleasure, which doesn’t necessitate male ejaculation or even female orgasm, necessarily. My sex life has benefitted from a wider definition of sex that allows more room for the sensual and erotic outside of standard definitions of “sex.”

Ten: Don’t judge yourself for what you like. There is no shame in any sexual preference. Shame about sex is pretty much just a social construct that you don’t have to accept into your life. (Obvi, this doesn’t apply when a fantasy requires that a partner not give consent… consent rules all!)

Thank you, dear readers, for being open to my thoughts on sex and relationships this semester. I hope you found something you can use in your own life. Look out for a new sex panther next year — there’s always more to think about when it comes to getting it on!

Xoxo, Sex Panther

People who nail the combination of sexy, consent, comfort and new excitement. These are just examples of how some people were

Scene 1: A couple is walking home from the library…

Person A: Do you want to sleep over tonight?

Person B: Sure, I just have to be up early.

Person A: Okay. You know, it doesn’t have to be about sex… I just want to see you tonight.

Person B: *feels respected and honestly a bit horny*

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