Introduction: When I was 16, I was called a “slut”

Cassidy Alexander

Cassidy Alexander

There has been an overwhelming amount of interest and opinions about the November/December Spinnaker issue. (There was a semi-nude model on the front cover, in case you haven’t heard.) So it’s probably not too surprising that we would introduce a sex column a couple of months later.

By volunteering to write this column, I undertook a responsibility with implications I still find alarming—offering up my sexual history and intimate experiences on a silver platter for all to behold is not something I’d usually sign up for. However, this opportunity offers a chance to do more than publish my diary.

This column provides a unique platform to discuss sex and its impacts on us as young adults. It’s going to open lines of dialogue that some people would prefer to keep closed.

The reason we are so intrigued by a provocative cover photo is that it unlocks the doors that usually guard the concept of sex. The silence and taboo fosters a negative, often incorrect, perception on something that is natural—especially the lives of college students. And these negative stigmas affect people every day—double standards and other injustices dealing with sex are an integral part of our society. And I have a problem with that.

Through this column, I hope to shed light on what goes on in the dark. Not tips and tricks on how to do it better, but a safe place to discuss it frankly. I want to discuss the reality of sex, not the glossy and hyperbolic images we have in our minds from advertisements and pop culture. Sex isn’t always pretty, but it’s always happening.

When I was in high school, I went to a party (my first party) and made the mistake of making out with a guy I knew. This was only my second kiss, and that was all we did. But by the next week at school, people were yelling “slut” at me in the hallways, and spreading rumors about all the things I let him do to me. This elaborated story all stemmed from a 16-year-old’s five minute make-out session. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it affected me enough that it’s still influencing my choices two years later.

By being open about sex and hopefully giving people confidence in choices they make about their own sexuality, I believe these kinds of reactions can be avoided. I hope to set an example by being open about my own choices, although I don’t expect everyone to be as open about their most intimate moments. I simply want those moments to seem a little less foreign and daunting.

People are going to read this because it mentions the word “sex”, and because I’m going to talk about embarrassing and ridiculous things that have happened to me in the bedroom (or in the back of a truck in the driveway of my first party). That’s enough to make anyone’s scandal senses tingle, and I understand that. I welcome it. But my hope is that by the end, people will see this column as a valuable way to reflect on the fragile and vulnerable condition we all start in, and respect rather than ridicule each other for it.