I’m currently nursing the kind of hangover where you’re literally suffering on every spiritual plane, i.e. physically (that would be the box and the baccy cones) and emotionally (making my round of apologies the day after). Somewhere between 3 and 6 am, it got me thinking about the concept of reputation. Not the T-Swift album. More like: in the context of student life, any standard weekend for your average breather involves alcohol, substance abuse, and hooking up with people whose name(s) you may/may not know. If we just look at the sex aspect of that, how far is too far? Do frequent hook-ups damage our reputation? Is there a line we can’t come back from, and where is it?
It’s been said that polite company shouldn’t discuss sex, politics, or religion. You only have to look to ancient Greece to see that pansexuality and getting your dick out in public used to be all the rage, but in New Zealand at least, centuries of religious pressure and general British awkwardness have hugely shaped our attitudes towards promiscuity and sexuality. I maintain that the stigma surrounding sex was a form of controlling the masses, birthed from a mixture of biological and cultural factors. Calling sex a sin = strikes fear in a way that translates to a reduction in the spread of sexual disease, for one. And for another, maybe it was a way to prevent the primitive, chaotic, jealousy-borne violence that might be rampant if there wasn’t a set of ‘rules’ and ‘structure’ that prevented us from just fucking whoever we wanted. Whether this conditioning we have around sex is good, bad, or both then? You tell me.
It’s an old cliché that the more people a guy can pull, the better, whereas the more people a chick gets with, the looser, more slutty she is. He gets clout when he gets someone in bed, but if her body count gets up too high, she’s a slut. From chats I’ve had, it seems like that aspect of slut-shaming is much worse in the straight camp than in the queer community. So, fuck, does that mean just like the burden of menstruation and child-birth, shitty reputations are restricted to females? Well, no. I would argue that even for your absolute chick-magnet-esque, stunner of a fuckboy, there’s a point where his reputation precedes him. He’s labelled bad news. Girls you barely know will pull you aside at parties and warn you about him; not someone you take seriously. And regardless of gender or sexual orientation, there are times where knowing a person’s reputation is actually really helpful for dissuading you from someone who is straight-up bad news. Like, for example, for that guy hitting on me and half of the females at my mate’s 21st (turns out he’s known for bragging about giving girls chlamydia), or the hot army guy who kindly offered to chuck me on the spit at RnV (ended up declining the offer) (turns out he was also known for giving girls chlamydia). Like I said, reputations can be helpful tools.
I’ve made it a habit to talk openly and frankly about sex – no shit, Sherlock, this is a sex column – but, even among mates, sometimes I wonder if that itself provokes some judgement. Like, if chicks can get a reputation just by borderline conversation, I’d be fucked. But hey, discussing anything from porn to blowjobs is not just entertaining, it’s important; especially for the sake of our more sexually repressed mates (who else are you gonna learn these things from? Your mum?). I don’t really have a conclusion to all of this since it’s an open question piece, not a set of guidelines. However, as long as you sleep alright at night with your choices (and you’re not destroying someone’s life in the process) fuck it. You’re good. Get your STI checks, make sure you’re happy with where your self-esteem is at, and then have however much or as little sex as you want. Oh, and Hamilton is a small place, so maybe check they’re not your best mate’s cousin – or worse, your own cousin – first?