Students in higher education today are far more sexually liberated than that of our collegiate predecessors; this is a common acknowledgement. Things have changed from the ideal of doing nothing at all when it comes to sex, to doing it right.
But which generation has the right idea about how to approach sex and are there consequences if one had it wrong?
Previous generations haven’t talked about consent, or how to appropriately obtain it. I honestly don’t think that this is out of egregious oversight on anyone’s part, but instead I think it had to do with the fact that they didn’t have to. Since sex was rarely talked about or put out in the open, talking about consent seemed unnecessary.
Now, I am not naïve enough to think that just because people didn’t talk about consent or not obtaining it that rape didn’t happen. Since sex wasn’t so public, did it make non-consensual sex less acceptable?
But now we live in a hook-up culture, where we’re far more interested in love for the night as opposed to love for a lifetime. It is not only hoped for, but expected that you put out on the first date; making a significant other wait for any period of time is nearly unheard of. Courtship has fled campuses and has been replaced by a game called “How fast can I get your pants off?”
Consent and sexual assault is a presentation that a freshman has to sit through in order to continue at CSU. We even have programs such as Consent Turns Me On, put on by the Women and Gender Advocacy Center. Sexual assault is becoming more prevalent, but we are just now starting to have more serious conversations about it.
But it makes me question whether or not being so public about our sex lives and being mysterious about our love lives is helping this matter any. Did previous generations have the right idea, when having sex with someone meant something, as opposed to how many notches on your bedpost containing the meaning? Or are we just as progressive as the movements such as gender equality and sexual orientation equality that we advocate for, and is this progression heading in the right direction?
We may never know. Certainly there is little that can be done to change the way that we think about sex now, and maybe being open and honest about sexual activity is the way that it should be.
The part that I miss, though, is the romance. I miss the days in which it was expected that men would court women as long as necessary, in which a few chaste kisses might be exchanged, and then things may progress to “going steady,” in which some necking sessions would take place. And then in the terms of engagement and marriage is when sexual activity would be explored; we seem to have it all backwards.
We hook up on the first outing together, and if that goes well then things may progress to a second date. Sex seems to be our modern-day litmus test for the probability of a lasting relationship, even though the tide is now turning more towards the allure of friends with benefits and away from a meaningful relationship.
It’s been said recently that chivalry is dead, but this is not through the fault of men.
No, women have become just as open and honest about sexuality as men, and I think that this has caused the change in how men view women. Instead of being seen as a mysterious creature to uncover by removing one layer of clothing at a time, women put their intentions out there just as men once did. It is no longer necessary for men to pay for dates or open car doors, and I find myself marveling at how courteous a man is if he does. Because it’s no longer necessary, chivalry is no longer expected either.
Call me old-fashioned, call me prude, but I still want sex to mean something. I don’t necessarily think that previous generations were backwards in regarding sex as something mysterious and worth fighting for. I don’t think it was wrong to expect several meals to be consumed and several movies to be seen before clothes started coming off.
Maybe our hook-up culture could benefit from putting the brakes on for a couple of dates, at least.
Brittany Jordan is a junior psychology major. Feedback of all varieties can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.