Besides, the alternative seemed to me to be abstinence—an equally unfulfilling option.I decided it was time to ditch my antiquated desire for monogamy.Instead, almost all of them found themselves going along with hookups that induced overwhelming self-doubt, emotional instability and loneliness.
I told myself that I was a feminist, despite subjecting myself to unfulfilling, emotionally damaging sexual experiences. *** I had a puppy-love relationship with my high school boyfriend, the kind you see in movies.
I loved learning and made Phi Beta Kappa my junior year. But my internal life was characterized by paralyzing anxiety and depression. I drove myself to excessive exercising and near-anorexia. While there was a major gulf between my public self and my private one, the one thing that remained consistent were my politics.
We won accolades from our professors, but the men we were sleeping with wouldn’t even eat breakfast with us the next morning.
What’s worse, we really thought of the situation in those terms: “We were desperate to know what it felt like to be wanted; desperate for a chance at intimacy.
Entering college, I wasn’t scarred or inexperienced. He’d be poetic, invested, understand female sexual anatomy and have the perfect amount of facial scruff.
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Almost immediately, I buried this dream deep within my new plastic dorm drawers.We’d meet at one of our dorm rooms, debate philosophy and Fleet Foxes lyrics, talk about our families and aspirations, and then have sex until he came. During the night, I’d pull the covers or brush his toes, craving an arm around my waist. Sometimes I’d leave an earring on his bedside table when I left, before he woke up. My girlfriends and I were top students, scientists, artists, and leaders.Give or take some weeknight Netflix-watching or walks in town, I cycled through this routine with at least five guys by senior year. My friends and I would analyze incessantly: Does he like me? We could advocate for anything—except for our own bodies.And to a surprising degree, it is women—not men—who are perpetuating the culture, especially in school, cannily manipulating it to make space for their success, always keeping their own ends in mind.For college girls these days, an overly serious suitor fills the same role as an accidental pregnancy did in the 19th century: a danger to be avoided at all costs, lest it get in the way of a promising future.” Kate Taylor, a New York Times reporter, makes a similar claim in the 2013 article “Sex on Campus: She Can Play That Game, Too.” She opens her story with the tale of a University of Pennsylvania woman who approaches non-committal sex as a “cost-benefit” analysis with “low risk and low investment cost.” While various academic studies tout the damaging effects of hookup culture, I came across them much more infrequently.At Middlebury, such casual hookups definitely occur.Far more frequent, however, were pseudo-relationships, the mutant children of meaningless sex and loving partnerships.As Taylor’s article suggested, I would “play the game, too.” *** For years I joked about my “confident Leah” persona, the one I’d tap into with every new crush.I’d send the first text to a cute guy—a frequent taboo at my school—feeling invigorated by being the initiator.I wished that I could be like the guys, who seemed not to care at all.Months after things had ended between us, Ben said, “I didn’t think of you as a human being while we were hooking up.” Ironically, once we hooking up, we became friends, and he actually developed romantic feelings for me.