The pressure to be sexually active must end

The pressure to be sexually active must end

CW / Kylie Cowden

It doesn’t take being at The University of Alabama, or any school for that matter, to know that several staples of being a student includes trying drugs, drinking and experimenting sexually, among many other things. While I pass no judgement to whomever decides to do as they wish, be it injecting heroin or becoming a pornstar to pay tuition, one thing that should be addressed in college life is being sexually active and the reasons for doing so.

Sex is not a bad thing. It is not wrong before marriage, it is not wrong to have a high body count--it is your body at the end of the day! However, sex is wrong if you are being pressured to do so. As young adults who have finally slipped through the grasp of our parents in regards to having control of day-to-day activities, the freedom to experiment sexually is ever present. However, just because opportunity is there does not mean everyone must take advantage. In a society where rape culture pervades every college campus around our country, it is especially important to realize that the level of preparedness for having sex or becoming sexually active is different for everybody at UA. I think this is especially true for members of close knit organizations such as fraternities and sororities or other on campus clubs.

In my last article, “Your fraternity brother is gay,” I touched on how one of the main attractions of a greek organization are the swaps, date parties, and formals--all of which emphasize having partners or dates from the opposite gender. While the pursuit of sex might be a defining factor for many who decide to rush, there are prospective members of fraternities and sororities that do not place as much value on sex as much as other things such as brother or sisterhood or even the availability of alcohol or drugs. This part is where pressure for sex can seem like a looming ultimatum for a member that places their importance elsewhere in a fraternity or sorority.

Exchanging stories of sexual activities from the night before or perhaps sexual hopes for the upcoming night are all small nudges for the virginal guy to pursue sex, despite not being ready at all. This build up of pressure is one big cause for rape on college campuses. Because the student feels their sex life must be equivalent to his friends’, he will do anything to further his standing in the sexual hierarchy--even if that means advancing on a girl that refuses sex or unable to give consent. The same logic applies when I say closeted gay people are members of fraternities and sororities when I say there are virgins that are absolutely not ready to have sex in greek organizations. I recall hearing these exact words being exchanged: “I’ll give you a condom and one week to have sex.” This is completely wrong. Pressuring someone to have sex just because you are sexually active is inhumane and inconsiderate of the needs and desires of someone else.

If you don’t hear it from anyone else but me, then listen closely: there is absolutely no pressure, no urge from anyone worthwhile, that should compel you to make a decision that you are not comfortable with. The pressure to have sex never outweighs the respect and dignity of a person saying no or an unconscious body that may seem “inviting.”

Be as sexually active as you want, but if the reasons for doing so is because of pressure from others, ask yourself if you’re having sex for your own physical pleasure, or for the pleasure of bragging to your friends. 

Zach Boros is a freshman majoring in psychology. His column runs biweekly.

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