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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Sexcapades: The importance of pillow talk

Published: February 26, 2010
Section: Opinions

 In an ideal world, a first date (or maybe three) would come before sex. Unless, of course, all you want is the sex. In that ideal world, the sex would come easily, with no strings attached and no conversation needed. But we don’t live an ideal world–in college, we don’t even live in the real world. And while in the real world, things aren’t perfect, in college, things don’t even work in the most basic of ways.

Drunk at a party (or Pachanga), we’ve all kissed someone we wished we hadn’t, or worse, taken them home. But what can be worse is kissing someone or taking someone home you actually like, because when the next morning comes, you never know what your feelings–or theirs–will be.

But if you’ve already had sex, and can still bear to see each others’ faces in the morning, you should face the awkwardness and think about the next step. Do you want to continue hooking up? If so, should it be booty-call style, or something to be done regularly, perhaps even soberly? Maybe you want to try to get to know each other a little better? Start with a Usdan date, or maybe even lunch at the Faculty Club?

After a while, if you’ve been sleeping together regularly, but not really spending sober time together, it gets more complicated. At what point have you crossed the line from “hooking up” to “kind of together,” or even, however accidentally, to “exclusive?”

I’ve certainly been there. You wake up one morning in bed with someone and realize you’re practically dating, even if dates aren’t part of your repertoire. For weeks, they’ve been the only person you’ve hooked up with–let alone thought about–and you see them almost every day, sleeping together most of the time. The sex might be great, or it might be mediocre, but either way, this is the situation. Upon this realization, there are really only two options: stop sleeping together, or discuss what the future may hold for you as a pair (thought not necessarily as a couple).

I’m one of those people for whom sex holds a certain importance. In a relationship, you cannot function well if your sex life is not up to par. You should be comfortable and open, with both parties willing to try new things and talk about what they want. And while relationships do require other things to work (an emotional connection, things in common, good conversation etc.), without sex, none of the other things can, in and of themselves, make a relationship work. You’ll notice that many couples begin to fall apart when their sex lives take nosedives.

Many of my friendships encounter sex in one way or another. My closest girl friends are the ones I’m completely open with about my sex life, and who I think will be open with me too. Many of my closest guy friends are men I’ve encountered sexually, whether it was making out with at a party in tenth grade, to sex, to flings and relationships. Physical comfort can really only come along with a kind of emotional comfort, and vice-versa, which is why it’s easy for me to stay friends with people (although for others it’s not so easy).

So once you wake up next to someone you’re interested in, it’s important to start the conversation. As a pair, it is important that boundaries are set as soon as someone brings up the situation. You have to be aware of what each of you is comfortable with, and what each of you is willing to give, otherwise, you’re doomed as friends, and as lovers.

Boundaries can be anything from deciding to be together, to deciding never to sleep together again, to deciding never to speak again.The two of you are the only ones who can make that decision, but open communication, however awkward, must take place. It is also crucial that, no matter what your partner says, you get to say your piece as well, even if you completely disagree with them. If you get to say what you wanted to say, then you’ll never have any regrets, no matter what the outcome; and you can probably plan to avoid the situation next time.