Michigan student: college sex culture damages students
- Suzy lee Weiss is a rising sophomore at the University of Michigan.
- She argues that though there is more safe sex, dental dams can't protect feelings.
Despite “safe sex” initiatives, there is a “rampant campus epidemic of emotionally unsafe sex” on college campuses according to a University of Michigan student.
Suzy Lee Weiss, a rising sophomore, wrote that while “sexual assault—and various shades of not-totally-consensual episodes—is a real problem on college campuses,” the problem is that “compulsory assemblies and affirmative-consent laws forget to mention [...] the rampant campus epidemic of emotionally unsafe sex.”
“It's no surprise that in a culture without labels and fueled by cases upon cases of cheap booze, lines of consent become blurry and feelings of young women — and sometimes young men, too — are bruised,” wrote Weiss, who added she was not speaking about sexual assault, but specifically “sex of the consensual but haphazard variety.”
“My college sex education: In her first year, a student finds a campus obsessed with hooking up — and utterly ignorant about real relationships and their consequences” was published this Sunday by the New York Daily News. As previously reported by Campus Reform, the University of Michigan released a sexual assault “campus climate” survey last week. About 89 percent of respondents responded “feeling safe” on the university’s Ann Arbor campus, but nearly 23 percent said that they had experienced “some form of sexual harassment.”
“If the statistics and headlines are to be believed, never has there been more assault and rape on American colleges campuses. Yet the same time, never before in the history of the American college student has there been more open, and increasingly procedural, talk about how to have sex,” wrote Weiss.
“With free STD testing and countless free condoms lobbed down the stairwells of dorms across the country, there is doubtlessly more ‘safe sex.’ But dental dams don't protect feelings,” she said.
Weiss described how she and some of her friends experienced what she calls the “Walmartification of sex,” describing it as “cheap, quick, easy and not built to last” on today’s college campus.
“Combine the unspoken promise of some sort of sexual encounter with a heavy pregame—and sometimes even a pregame to the pregame—and the result is exactly what you'd expect. Order your Ubers early, ladies; chances are no one is making you pancakes. And certainly don't expect a text the next day,” wrote Weiss.
Weiss claims that campus culture values “coolness over authenticity and apathy over honesty,” and described encountering a former sexual partner.
“I imagined an enthusiastic reunion. Or at least a wave. He simply walked away, leaving in his wake the girlish monster we had both created,” adding that the “sad part is that he technically did nothing wrong” as they had not defined themselves as “exclusive for fear that if either of us assigned a label it would indicate that we wanted to go stroller shopping for our future child the next day.”
Weiss wrote that some of her friends were “similarly stung” by the treatment they received from their sexual partners and that the “vast majority refused to be tied down in any way, citing a desire for "the real freshman experience.”
“The spread of affirmative-consent rules and rapists-are-everywhere fear-mongering risks obscuring what may in fact be a broader cultural problem: Today on campus, commitment is thrown out the window, shame is passé, and feeling guilty or regretful is interpreted as slavish submission to the slut-shaming patriarchy,” wrote Weiss.
According to Weiss, in 2015 “girls on campuses around the country are feeling more like the Pink Ladies from Grease waiting by the rotary phone rather than rabble-rousing champions of sexual liberation.”
“As a feminist, I ask: Is this the victory feminism imagined for itself?”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @mvbarillas