Thursday 27 October 2016

Niamh Horan: Codewords for casual sex and 'little girl' fantasies popular among college girls

From high fives to the walk of shame, students talk to Niamh Horan about the reality of sex in their twenties

Published 10/01/2016 | 16:00

'Sexual fantasies and role play are a really big thing' Photo: Andrey Popov
'Sexual fantasies and role play are a really big thing' Photo: Andrey Popov
Sex fantasies: Clodagh Heffernan says role play is popular among many young women in college Photo: Damien Eagers
Aifric Ni Chriodain Photo: Damien Eagers
Cameron Moore

Clodagh Heffernan Maynooth University

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I lost my virginity at 16 and have slept with five guys. I am happy with my first; the second I'm not happy with at all; the third I am like 'whatever'; the fourth I'm like 'whatever' and the fifth is my boyfriend. But that's who I have had sex with - I have done lots of other stuff with other people. Blow jobs are seen as 'lesser' or more casual.

I have a boyfriend now who I met on OK Cupid. Before we met guys were messaging me on it and the first thing they'd say is 'are you down for no strings fun?' One in two guys are like that now. Sometimes they would send graphic pictures to girls. But usually they would ask first. They would also ask you if you want to 'watch Netflix and chill' which is code for sex.

I think most people respect that casual sex is totally fine. People talk about it openly; you'd give someone a high five. And the numbers of partners vary. I have friends who have had one partner, others 10 and then I have one friend in second year in college and he is 20 and he has had sex with 17 girls. So it all depends on the person.

When it comes to technology and sex, I think Snapchat is safer to send nude pictures because it only stays online for a few seconds. But in bed, guys or girls would pull out a camera phone sometimes.

I have done that with my boyfriend. I would ask him if he wants to take a picture.

The one thing that people are very firm on in college is contraception. It is such a big deal. I have never been with anyone who hasn't insisted on contraception, and I myself would insist on it. I think people are more open now, too, in that they would tell their best friend if they got an STD.

It's nothing to be ashamed of because it is preventable. When it comes to blow jobs I would never use any contraception. It is a must with sex but not with blow jobs. Especially if you know the person. You're not going to get pregnant. It's not as important. At the end of the day you can sort out most STDs but - if you are pregnant - there's no abortion in this country.

I think most people would tell you it's more sexually liberated now. If anyone said something degrading about women sleeping around it just wouldn't be tolerated any more.

I think it's a generalisation to say guys get the better deal now. I know girls who just want to have sex and don't want to get into a relationship and the amount of lads who say they really need a girlfriend actually surprises me.

Do people feel pressure to have sex? I would say they do in fairness. Just because it is such a given at our age. Everyone in college is over 18 and it is a normal part of relationships, realistically, so if you don't it is the elephant in the room.

When I got to college I was already in a relationship and have been since so I never did that whole going out and 'meeting someone in a night club' thing, but I kind of wonder how you would orgasm with someone who doesn't really know you or what they are doing with you. Most girls I know would orgasm - obviously there's self stimulation involved there, too.

Sexual fantasies and role play are a really big thing, too. Oh my God I know so many people who are into sex fantasies and tie-up and that and do you know what's a big thing?

This whole 'daddy-little girl' fantasy. I know so many people who are into that. It's kind of like the whole submission and domination scenario where the guy is the "daddy" and you're his 'little girl' or his 'little princess' and you have to do whatever he says and he would call you 'little girl' and you would call him 'daddy'. That's a really big thing with girls in college.

When it comes to the follow up to a first-night encounter - if you got on really well with the person the night before - you would make plans to see them again. If not, then you would wake up and do the 'walk of shame' in your mini dress and high heels from the apartment block and that's the end of it.

Everyone knows what you have just done and you might - just might - get a bit of slagging.

'Questioning' is all part of the mix

Aifric Ni Chriodain, Trinity College Dublin

I THINK the dating scene is pretty good right now. I don't think that much has changed for a lot of people. Yes, Twitter, Facebook and dating apps like Tinder have become available, so in some ways, the way of meeting people has changed. However, the relationships are still going in the same direction as traditional relationships.

Monogamy is still a thing, for sure - every bit as much as it has been traditionally. People might get into a relationship in first or second year in college and keep that up all through college, and some keep it past that stage, too.

A lot of my friends are in two- or three-year relationships, so I don't see a situation where more people staying single and playing the field. I think Tinder is a positive thing. There are some weirdos using the apps, but it's pretty easy to weed them out.

I don't take it too seriously, though, simply for the fact that I don't think it's as exciting or engaging as meeting someone out.

For me, the changing landscape has been a very positive thing. I am gay, and going to college as a gay person is completely different to being in secondary school. There are more gay people around for a start, you're going to gay bars and there's so much more choice - it's fantastic.

I would know gender-fluid people in Trinity. There are trans people there, too. There is a society for LGBTQIA students, which represents lesbian, gay, transsexual, transgender, questioning or queer, intersex and asexual people. Young people are more accepting of a more varied sexuality now and lots are still educating themselves.

The number of sexual partners people have varies - I know people who have slept with 40 people during college and some who have slept with one. A lot of girls are on the pill and a lot will use it to avoid getting pregnant, but then, obviously it doesn't cover STIs.

Guys get sex ed from porn and it puts crazy pressure on them to perform

Cameron Moore, NUI Galway

I know from the people that I have been talking to that some feel huge pressure now to have sex because of how much things have changed with Tinder and online dating apps. Sex has become such a casual thing.

If they are going out for a night out, they wouldn't go out to just have a good time, they are going out looking for sex. There's a split group in university. I'd say 50pc of people are like that. Some people would say "I got 'three or four' this week" and others are in relationships.

I know one guy who sleeps with a lot of girls. I was talking to him the other day and he said, "Sometimes, I wish I could just settle down and be in a relationship", but he finds it so hard now because he is so used to having one night stands - that's just the way he has come to approach girls. He got a bit upset because he wants to change it, but he is finding it very difficult to do.

If you were asking me are people happier now because it's easier to hook up, I would say that yes, in general, you feel amazing the next morning. But I don't think its making people happier in the long term.

The pressure for lads because of porn is absolutely crazy too. To be fair, the sex education we got in school was pretty shocking. So porn is where many guys learned about sex. It's changed the way guys relate to girls and how they treat them. They see them as purely sex objects. And there isn't much emotion involved in it. Guys would watch porn during the college week, but I would say it's more the single guys that are watching it. The average would be about four times a week or whenever they need it. When it comes to dating apps, guys would send graphic pictures, but I think they are thinking twice about doing it now because girls share them around with each other too in WhatsApp [messaging] groups.

I feel that the majority of girls do make it easy for guys to have sex now, and on the flip side, if a guy gets into a relationship and he used to chase girls a lot - in that it's almost become the norm for him - he would definitely miss it now as it is something he is almost too familiar with.

Sunday Independent

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