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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Sexcapades: Heating things up during Winter Break

Published: January 21, 2011
Section: Opinions

However strange it may seem, since I write a column about sex, the truth is that I’m pretty reserved. I’m not generally into costumes or props, scenarios or new positions—I like plain old sex. But even that term, plain old sex, has different meanings for different people. I’m not talking about missionary position, although some people might be, while others are talking about nurse’s costumes and themed dates. There comes a time in every relationship, however, when you have to ask yourself: is plain old sex really going to cut it?

After you’ve been together for a while and the sex calms down, some people just settle into less sex, while others make efforts to “spice things up.” Whether that means trying a new move or introducing a toy, there’s a point in every long-term relationship when it happens. For those who aren’t all that into boring, old sex, the next step can be more exaggerated because they’re starting from a place where they’ve already moved the boundaries. For others, it can be as simple as buying sexy lingerie.

This time in a relationship is about far more than sex though. It’s about trust. Do you trust your partner enough to be able to open up about your fantasies? Fantasies aren’t just about role playing, but are about everything from what you want for the future to the types of additions you’d like to make in the bedroom. Being able to share these fantasies with your partner means that even if you’re not totally sure about what you want, the two of you can work it out together.

Vacations can be one of those times in a relationship when boundaries are pushed, either intentionally or unintentionally. Either, you leave for winter break knowing it will be two or four weeks before you see each other again and worry about how to keep the spark alive when you haven’t spent more than a few days apart since you started dating in September, or you’re spending a week or more together, just the two of you, on vacation or at someone’s house. Either way, extremes are reached, often based on the security felt about the relationship. In college, vacations like winter break are often the first time people experience these changes, because if they dated in high school, they likely dated people from their school or town who generally went on the same trips or stayed home for the break.

In college, however, expectations are different. Lots of people who start school as virgins find themselves in relationships where, even if sex wasn’t involved at first, it quickly becomes a part. Other people simply arrive with certain goals or actions planned out. Vacation is a time to test those relationships or to expand into new-found territories. Those not in relationships often go home and find those they never had the nerve to approach before, or they call up exes and old hook-up buddies. Girls who never thought about it before send their boyfriends nudie cellphone pictures and engage in phone- or cyber-sex. Other girls spend far more time with their boyfriends than they ever did before and are either worn out by the amount of sex or disappointed by the lack thereof.

The first week back from winter break can bring with it pain and joy. Here at Brandeis, there is a whole new group of people, as midyears come and juniors who were abroad in the fall return. Relationships that made it through break experience a sort of deflation, as the unrecognized tension of break disappears. Those relationships that didn’t quite make it will perhaps cause some pain and tension for those involved and their friends. Sex, however, will be like it was in the first few weeks of the fall—overt and flagrant. Reunited couples and new acquaintances will rush to bed like it’s the last chance to “get some,” all with a newly developed sense of what sex is, with new toys and clothes and with some new positions hidden away for a snow day.