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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Sexcapades: Redefining bases?

Published: April 8, 2011
Section: Opinions

Sex is sex is sex is sex you might say … but is it really? I remember in sex ed. in eighth grade, when our teacher told us that, despite what anyone might say, oral sex was still sex. That almost seems obvious but, in a lot of ways, it isn’t. This is especially because we often think of oral sex as a precursor to sex and not as something on which to hold off. I also remember learning that year that you can contract STDs from something as seemingly benign as giving a hand job or kissing.

So why is it that for most college students the only thing that really constitutes sex is vaginal (or anal) penetration? And does that include penetration with hand-held toys, or only with body parts (and strap-ons)? We don’t consider “fingering” to be sex most of the time, but that’s still penetration. So where do we draw the line? And should we maybe be thinking about moving that line?

There’s something else, too: I know a lot of guys who practically will not accept a hand-job, viewing them as middle or high school remnants, never to be disturbed again. So we, the partners, are put in situations where even if we consider oral sex to be sex, we have to sort of go with all or nothing.

And what about us? How many guys do you know who are willing to go down on a girl the first time they hook up? Not many, I’d guess. And yet they still expect head if they get you home with them. How is that fair, or fun for that matter?

At what point should we be standing up and saying that we need to reorganize the “bases,” to make them each as important as they really are? Remember middle school when it was a HUGE deal to make it to first, or more amazingly, second base? Everyone had their own base system, much like we all have different ways of organizing the importance of sexual acts now. For almost everyone, first base was making out, but beyond that it got hazy. Some of my friends thought that feeling a girl up, under her shirt, was second base, but for some, it was feeling a girl up over her shirt, and for some, a hand job, or “fingering” constituted second. Third tended to be oral, with home plate as sex.

If we were to re-assess this system for college, however, it would almost always come out like first base is kissing, second base is oral, and third is sex, with home plate ending up in a relationship or something. How did that happen!?

Maybe guys should give girls a break—try heading down on a girl before pushing her head towards your downtown? Or even just try to be nice and maybe hold off on anything too intensely sexual until the second go round? When both people are not on the same page about what they’re expecting, willing to do and hoping for in the future, our messed up “base” system can be a major problem. It certainly doesn’t help that guys are much more likely to receive than to give in the bedroom, especially during the first hook up.

Something we should be thinking about is how to have fun and be respectful simultaneously. Sex is sex is sex is sex is true! If someone thinks it’s sex, it is, and whether or not you agree, you have to respect them for their understanding of their body.

Especially if you know you’re never going to call again, you should be thoughtful, if not honest, about what you’re planning for the night.