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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Column: Let’s talk about sex

Sex and microwaves have a lot in common.

July 8, 2014

The opinions expressed by The Maneater columnists do not represent the opinions of The Maneater editorial board.

I can see your eyes rolling already, people. And I can hear you, too. “A sex column in The Maneater?” You’re groaning, letting your cursor veer drunkenly off toward Facebook or your kitten GIF cache. That’s so lame/unoriginal/gross/like ugh.

But I know you don’t mean that sex is lame/unoriginal/gross/like ugh, do you? Right. Because sex is crazy, beautiful, clumsy, awkward — sometimes really, really hot and oftentimes really, really weird. But never lame.

Someone once told me that sex is like a microwave. It’s the greatest thing ever. It fills your existence with life’s metaphorical equivalents of Easy Mac and mug cake. And, like microwaves, sex can be problematic and a little dangerous sometimes. Things blow up (let’s hope metaphorically) and there are definite fire hazards.

But, unlike microwaves, sex doesn't come with a user’s manual.

So that’s why this column is here — not to teach you how to have sex, necessarily (come on, that is literally what the Internet is for), but to discuss sex and the personal issues that come with it, especially the ones that don’t always show up on neon Cosmo covers or in Thought Catalog articles.

See, growing up, I was blessed with the sweet ignorance that comes with being shy as hell. I never worried about educating myself about birth control, sexual health, or any of that kind of stuff, simply because the chance to kiss someone, or much less do the sex, never came up. But then, my friends, I came to college. And it’s been quite the ride ever since.

But intended puns aside, I’ll tell you that there were times when I felt so completely alone in the situations having sex often led to. Most of these situations were, in hindsight, hilarious and funny in their awkwardness, but others were terrifying. I never had the kind of relationship with my mom where we even mentioned words that rhymed with “sex." While I’ve been lucky enough to have a cache of WebMD articles and an army of supportive friends who love talking about anything from vibrators to birth control, I know many of us may not.

In this column, I’m not going to give you a sex position of the day, or provide a medical definition of STD, or debate whether birth control is ethical. But I will share thoughts, experiences and anecdotes that will help you, reader, understand a little more about those topics and more. If you ever find yourself dealing with them, you won’t feel as alone and clueless as I have in the past, curled up in a bed at 2 a.m., crying and holding an empty Plan B box.

There are a zillion reasons why you shouldn’t read this column: you don’t like sex. Or you don’t want to learn about it. Or you think a student-written column is going to contain certified medical information that you can trust in lieu of actual doctors’ advice. Or you can’t accept that a column written by a heterosexual female about sex is going to be naturally skewed toward heterosexual female experiences. Or, you think sex is this terrible, disgusting thing that belongs in the same category as cockroaches and sewers and Kansas.

But if you, like me, think sex is a strange mystery, full of logistical problems (see: shower sex) and embarrassing situations, and you want to talk about it, then let’s do this.

Love, Edna

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