What “great sex” really means

Whitman students, for the most part, are not afraid of sex: hearing about it, talking about it or having it. Hence, it was no surprise to see several hundred Whitman students show up in Cordiner Hall on Oct. 25 to hear Nicole Daedone speak about female orgasm. Though the lecture was titled “College Sex: Taking Good to Great,” it would have more appropriately been called something like “College Sex: Taking Subpar to Awkward Subpar.”

Illustration: MaryAnne Bowen

When asked by a Whittie how college students could move from anonymous hook-ups (the Subpar) to something better, Daedone answered that hook-ups will start to feel so unsatisfactory that, eventually, we will search for better sex. It was unclear how exactly she expected us to do this on a campus where most sexual encounters take place in certain houses on a certain street on certain days of the week.

If you were to try a sexual meditation technique with a stranger in an unfamiliar location (as Daedone did), you would most likely feel as though you were at a gynecologist appointment gone terribly, terribly wrong (the Awkward Subpar).

I completely agree with Daedone that we, as college students, can and should do better. I disagree only on the context in which a great sexual experience can occur.

First of all, a great sexual experience means great pleasure: for everyone involved. If your partner is underwhelmed by the experience, it will undermine your own experience.

Now, it is no secret that everyone has fun bits that are exciting, beautiful and enjoyable . . . but many are also tricky, especially women’s. This means that you need to be invested: a word that is synonymous with caring and perfectly contradicts the definition of a hook-up. Therefore, is it realistic for you to expect that stranger to rub you the right way? Or for you to know exactly what will blow that other person’s mind? No. But do you want to be rubbed the right way while also blowing someone else’s mind? Yeah, probably.

So, if great  sex means each individual must be satisfied, the next question is: What type of environment, both physical and emotional, lends itself to pleasure and fulfillment?

While unfamiliarity can create excitement and spontaneity, it is perhaps more important to consider what else it usually means: risk, miscommunication and a lack of concern for others involved: which I imagine often makes  the encounter feel numb, distracted, hurried or awkward.

I feel completely comfortable with my body, to the point where I have been naked in front of thousands of people (yes, fact). Nonetheless, there is something about the thought of letting a stranger, or even an acquaintance, stroke me softly with my legs spread in the butterfly position while I twiddle my thumbs and wonder where his hands have been that is just . . . not appealing.

While I will be the first to admit that it is beyond difficult to find a person you connect with and a place you feel comfortable in before you decide to have sex, I will also be the first to advocate how worthwhile it is. Whitman students are more often than not incapable of turning off their brains and having an entirely physical experience, unless you decide to count the drinking and dancing that goes on at parties.

Fortunately, great sex doesn’t call for you to turn off your brain. Satisfying sex is about investment: how often does something easy turn out to be something great? Laughing hysterically when your bare chests press together and accidentally make a farty noise, or spontaneously calling on a naked game of “Magic: The Gathering” post-sex (coupled with some technique of course) is what makes the experience fulfilling. Not your ability to feel satisfied when a stranger strokes you exactly three-eighths of an inch to the right of the center of your clitoris under bad lighting and on someone else’s floor.