At some point during my freshman year, I found myself alone with a guy I’d just met. He had dark hair and eyes, I think, and his name was a generic one I soon forgot. We were at his frat house, or maybe we weren’t. I was drunk, lost and stupid. He pulled me onto his bed, fumbling hands tugging at fistfuls of clothing. I said no and then I said it three or four more times. He called me a tease. A fucking tease. He rolled off me, and I grabbed my skirt.

I just turned twenty—a decade accompanied by the optimistic promise of constant sweaty, eyes–rolling–back–in–your–head, perfect sex. The kind of sex that results in orgasm Every. Single. Time. Cosmo says so, in 50 new ways each month. On the other hand, there’s the Lena Dunham sex—the masochistic stuff you can barely watch, not because it’s so raw but because it’s so excruciatingly detached. And when it comes to sex, college runs the gamut. Gone are the days when a little bit of under–the–bra–over–the–pants action cuts it. Sex comes up a lot, and it comes with expectations. Sometimes those expectations create pressures, and if you don’t meet them, you’re the problem. You’re the tease.

I have a host of reasons why I haven’t slept with guys in the past. There was the guy who told me he “didn’t believe in condoms,” as if the Trojan horse was some mystical unicorn. And there was the guy who said, “You’re so mainstream that it pains me, physically.” He proceeded to cite my hair, eyes, and “general look” as evidence. Then there was the guy who, once I made up my mind about him, changed his about me. A few guys gave up trying after a hookup or two because they assumed that if you won’t, you never will.

Sex is weird and awesome, and I think it will always be a little bit of a mystery to me—I love that. I don’t claim that my experiences are universal, or that I’m a spokesperson for female sexuality, especially since my preferences don’t align with those who are gay, bi, or non-cis gender. I don’t think one person can encapsulate an experience that, at its best, is entirely unique. For me, finding satisfying sex is about being with someone who has taken the time to learn my body, as well as my likes, dislikes, and fantasies. That kind of chemistry isn’t bred in one night.

It’s been a year since I went home with the guy whose face I’ll never remember but whose words have branded me with shame. Calling a girl a tease insinuates that sex is a debt owed for a drink bought or a 2:00 a.m. text sent. That’s a problem. Sex is not an obligation—it’s a choice. I make mistakes and I’m still trying to figure everything out. But I stand by my right to choose. So, when the guy slurred that I fuck or get out, I chose the door.

 


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