MEGAN DRAKE | OPINION COLUMNIST | firstname.lastname@example.org
ISABELLA ERNSBERGER | MARKETING MANAGER | email@example.com
The Birds and the Bulldogs with Megan Drake and Isabella Ernsberger is an opinion column series that aims to normalize taboo conversations regarding sex and relationships. The name “The Birds and the Bulldogs” alludes to the term “the birds and the bees.”
Content warning: Sexual assault
Losing your virginity can be a complex situation to tackle. With many students on Butler’s campus having reported never having vaginal intercourse in 2020 and a near majority of 700 students surveyed across the U.S. considering themselves sexually inactive, virginity in college is more common than one may think. Whether you want your first time to be special or are just looking to get it over with, we’re here to guide you.
Your first time is your introduction to the world of sex, and we want to help make that introduction feel like you have just met your best friend.
Do you feel ready?
Your timeline is the only timeline. You are the only one in charge of deciding when the right time is, so do not let anyone else make you feel ashamed of your decision.
You can be ready and still feel nervous. However, if your gut is telling you this is not the right decision, listen to yourself and keep waiting. Just remember: waiting is not bad the same way having sex is not bad.
It is okay to have some hesitation, but listen to yourself and decide if you are ready. Ask yourself if this is what you want and if you are doing this for yourself or to please someone else. If the answer is for someone else, maybe you are not as ready as you might have previously thought.
We each had different experiences with losing our virginities, and we were ready at different times. Each person is going to have a unique timeline — our experiences won’t be yours, and yours won’t be ours. It’s important to remember that only you decide when you are ready.
Have you taken the necessary precautions?
Safe sex is good sex. If you feel like the time is coming to begin your wonderful little sex life journey, it’s a good idea to be prepared. Preparations can look different for everyone based on what you decide is best for you, but first, you have to know your options.
Preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and infections should be a top priority for all sex-havers. Butler’s Health and Recreation Complex offers STI and STD testing that is available to all students. You should get tested yearly, although it could be more frequent if you have multiple sexual partners. Prevention can also look like having an open conversation with your partner about their sexual health and using condoms, dental dams and PrEP.
If you’re someone who is looking for birth control options, look no further. Methods of birth control can include but are not limited to: the pill, an IUD, the ring and the implant. These are the most common methods, but more options are available depending on what you need.
As for us, we are enthusiasts of our Kyleena and NuvaRing. These methods have served us well and kept us child-free since we’ve had them. However, what works for us may not be what works for you. These conversations should be had with your healthcare provider as you figure out the best fit for you. Butler’s HRC on campus also offers some of these birth control methods, so definitely schedule a consultation if you need to.
As for contraceptives that don’t require a prescription, make sure either you or your partner is strapped with condoms if you’re engaging in penetrative sex. Free condoms can be found in residence hall bathrooms, the HRC, the healthcare vending machine and through BUBeWell’s condom delivery service.
Utilize these resources and make smart decisions — as we do not need an outbreak of chlamydia or infants on our campus.
Consent is the bare minimum. You need to be checking in with your partner, and your partner needs to be checking in with you. Consent is important any time the deed is done.
Remember that you have the right to say no at any time, and you should speak up the moment something feels uncomfortable. If the person you are with does not immediately halt their actions, they do not deserve your body or, more importantly, you.
Consent can be revoked at any time. Even if you say yes at first, you can change your mind at any given moment. The moment you have the slightest inkling that this is not what you want to do — say so. If the person you are with is the slightest bit of a decent human, they will respect your decision.
Any violation of consent is sexual assault. Having your consent broken is not something we would wish for anyone. It can be traumatic, stressful and scary. We encourage you to speak up if something happens and find the places where you feel safest to do so. Those who love you will listen, we will support you and Butler has many resources available to students who wish to use them. Prioritize yourself, your wishes and your wants for how you would like to go about it — as long as you are as comfortable as you can be, that’s what matters.
While sex can be nerve-wracking, it can also be a really good time — but all parties must be consenting. So, if everyone is happy and consenting, then you have the green light to go crazy.
Down and dirty
When things start to heat up, you might feel super excited or super nervous or a crazy combination of both. Whatever you feel, know that it’s natural and part of the process.
Ideally, communicate the best you can with your partner about what feels good and what doesn’t, although we know this is easier said than done. Take this as an opportunity to learn what feels good for you — there’s no shame in experimentation. Always remember, as we said, you have the right to stop and say no to things that you’re not enjoying or do not want to do. In our experiences, we have encountered things — as in angles and positions — that weren’t the most comfortable. Don’t sacrifice your pleasure for someone else’s — switch things up when you need to.
Take it easy on yourself during and after your first time. This is a whole new world and you naturally won’t have it all figured out immediately. As time goes on, you’ll discover more and more. It’s all up from here — trust us.
How do you feel?
Now that everything’s wrapped up it is important to check in with yourself. Ask yourself how you feel about having sex for the first time. If you feel ashamed, remember that those feelings are more common than you may think. Just know that there’s nothing to be ashamed of — a lot of people have sex. It’s a beautiful thing and absolutely not something to take shame in. We have had our fair share of complicated emotions after having sex. While it may take time to shake it, we promise that once you find your sexual liberation, there’s no turning back. The view is great from the top … or bottom — no shame in the pillow princess game.
On the flip side, if you feel happy and satisfied, that’s awesome. You just opened the door to a world of pleasure and experiences yet to be had — how exciting. Now it’s up to you to decide how to proceed. Remember that you are the only one who chooses how frequently or infrequently you have sex, and whatever you decide is the right choice.
You can also ask yourself what you liked and what you might want to do differently. Nobody is expecting your first time to be straight out of a rom-com. Not only are you allowed to want to do something different or try new things, but you’re also encouraged to.
All things considered, remember that you do not learn to run without learning to crawl and walk first, and sex is just the same.