Relationship Rollercoasters

By a UTK Freshman

Many of you all know the thrills of a new relationship.  There’s something enlivening about going on a first date, sharing your first kiss together, and the new bonds of intimacy forming.  Over the past two and a half weeks, I’ve started dating a new guy and these exciting moments have been happening at a very rapid pace.  We started off with a very high initial velocity, meaning we had sex on the first date, and have continued with a constant positive acceleration.  I thought that it was going great, as we became to grow more emotionally attached to one another, especially in our conversations after sex.  We would engage in many a philosophical discussion and we would learn things about each other that no one knew.  I was completely enraptured by what was going on between us, until one Thursday night when we were hanging out, he told me that he thought that it would be best if we “slowed things down.”  I decided that I didn’t want to pressure him into doing anything with me that he didn’t want to do, so I reluctantly complied to his request, but inwardly I was so crushed.  We had decided that we weren’t going to have sex for a month in order for us to establish a deeper emotional connection.  But, I really liked him, so I decided to stick it out.  

During the next two days preceding our upcoming date, I was channeling some serious willpower, because I was so sad that I was not going have sex for a month.  I was so downtrodden and I complained to my friends incessantly about it.

So Saturday arrived, and we went on our date.  We went to dinner, played music together, and then we went back to my place. I had originally intended for us to just make out.  I was going to respect the boundaries that we had made.  But, during our conversation, I had to insert some of my feelings into the situation.  While we were talking, I said that I thought that a month was a little bit long for us to wait and if we could lower it to two to three weeks.  He said that he had been thinking about our agreement as well, and that he thought that it was a little long as well.  Then, he started talking about why he wanted to slow things down in the first place. 

He began to explain that he was doing this out of my best interest, because he had already been establishing an emotional connection.  He thought that I was wanting a less sexual relationship and a more emotionally based relationship.  After this, I explained to him that I was completely comfortable at the pace we were going previously.  I told him that I was different than the girls he had dated previously, in the fact that I am a very sexually driven person.  So, I then asked him again if he would consider reducing the restriction down to two to three weeks.  His response was, “How about twenty minutes?”  My face filled with joy, as I was relieved from my previous notion that I was going to be sex-starved for a month.  The sex that night was the best that we had had yet.  We both looked each other in the eyes afterwards and thanked each other in the most genuine fashion.

All this to say, I think this situation is one example out of many that portrays how gender-based assumptions can affect each other’s pleasure in the relationship and how important communication is.  For if we had not communicated, neither of us would have known what each other wanted, and we both would have miserable. 

Ode to Foreskin

By a UTK Senior

Soft, untouched
Spared by the knife
Nature’s lubricator
Handjobs unopposed by friction
Pull you above the tip
To roll between my fingers
Pull you down
The shy head comes out to play.
Why do they condemn you,
In the name of religion or hygiene
Or mere tradition?
They don’t see you as I do
A blanket, keeping the rest of the body warm
Until night
When it can burrow itself inside my cave.

The things you think you know

By a UTK Sophomore

I’ve fucked a lot of guys.

And after all of the guys I’ve fucked, I feel as though I’ve learned so many valuable things about myself: my kinks, my limits, the way that my body experiences pleasure…

Fucking guys has taught me some pretty significant shit, like that when I’m horny enough, it only takes one strong stroke of a cool, wet tongue across my clit to send tremors throughout my body. Or that my perineum is all too often the unsung hero of my orgasms. That I can give a damn good lap dance to the right song, and teasing someone turns me on in a way that nothing else can. Having sex with men taught me that I don’t care for anal penetration, but I’ll let you rim me all day long. That I do not like doggy-style, and I’m sensitive to latex condoms. Having sex with guys taught me that attempting anything BDSM-related can get super intense super fast, so I like to use not-so-serious safe words to help lighten the mood for that very reason (my personal favorites are either kiwi or tulip).

Having sex with men has taught me the power in my body—the power in my own sexual pleasure—and why it’s important to know these things about myself.

Then I had sex with a woman, and holy shit. Talk about a life-changing, time-stopping, world-shattering experience that really only taught me one major thing:

Everything I think I know? Yeah. I actually know nothing.

It wasn’t until I fucked a woman that I realized I severely dislike sucking dick, and that I would much rather lick pussy all day, every day, seven days a week. It wasn’t until I fucked a woman that I learned 69ing in the backseat of a car is a million times less complicated when done between two women. Fucking a woman made me realize that my own body hair is beautiful. That penetration isn’t very important to me at all, and makes no real difference in whether I come or not. That hearing a woman’s moan at the right time is almost guaranteed to make me come harder than either of us were probably prepared for. Fucking a woman taught me that my sexuality is in a constant state of evolution—remolding and adapting itself after every discovery—and there is no possible way for me to claim that I concretely and comprehensively “know” anything about my sexuality because it is all subject to change with each sexual experience.

It took fucking only one woman for me to realize how much I still have to learn about myself. 

My Surfboard

BY: UTK Second Year

Water filled up halfway, it stops at the surface, partitioner of ubiquitous clarity and dark abyss, where close-eyed I lie on my surfboard. Six-foot balsa buoying, kissing the waves and teasing the divide, my surfboard effortlessly floats: light, strong, long, right. I am ready.

To ready for the oncoming Waves, shifting and changing, formed from the froth or elevated from the floor, with my surfboard I ride. Rising, under feet grains graining, side-stepping to level, between feet grains grinding on my surfboard. We ascend and ride, I, flutter-eyed.

Low I stay to my surfboard, cutting through and swerving on that big body of water that seeks to envelop us. Angling we please it, too far we dip and washrag wipeout. Palm out and blind-eyed I reach out for my surfboard, unknowingly towards nothing yet everything known.

Needed, appearing, the seven-foot link keeps from my sinking an end. From my foot, to the surface and to my surfboard, I am reunited and rushed. Surface-broken splash, open-eyed I embrace my surfboard. Lifting up and lying out, refreshed we float, and all is good-good.

Journey Towards a Healthier Sexuality

BY: UTK FIRST YEAR

When I started college, I was not comfortable with my sexuality. My first sexual encounter wasn’t the awkward fumbling around of YA novels, but a violent depredation of my consent and my agency that to this day affects my ability to maintain healthy sexual relationships. The experience set me afloat in a confusing and vicious cycle of uncertainty. I never felt empowered in my sexuality; rather sex became an obstacle to overcome in relationships instead of a source of shared intimacy or pleasure.

No teenager wants to be burnt out on sex or have it seem like an obligation, but I never knew how to move forward because I never knew how to talk about my experiences. I was ashamed because I knew there had to be something wrong with me. I had an end goal of reclaiming my sexuality, but with no firm place to start and no resources to keep me going, I found I was never able to recapture what it seemed I was missing.

Nearing the end of my freshman year, I owe most of my progress towards a healthier sexuality to the existence and impact of Sex Week on our campus.

Sex Week has taught me that it’s natural to have questions and more than acceptable to ask them; that masturbation is self-care, not something to be ashamed of; that sexual exploration is an empowering and life-changing process. And most importantly, Sex Week has taught me the importance of communication and the power of my voice–in giving consent, in providing direction, and in asserting my opinion. I’ve become more comfortable in talking about sex, whether my experience with sexual assault or my sexual identity or just flavors of lube.

I’ve come to decide that healthy sexuality isn’t the end goal I initially thought it to be, but really more of a journey–it comes with wrong turns, missteps, and setbacks, but also victories and a few pleasant pauses to enjoy where you’re at. As Sex Week co-founders Jacob Clark and Brianna Rader get ready to graduate, I think it’s important that we thank them for equipping our student body with the tools to make the journey easier. Without Sex Week, I would not have made it nearly this far.

*Brianna and Jacob have graduated since this post was written; SEAT and Sex Week are also, like the author of this blog, incredibly grateful for their work and sacrifices, and wish them more than the best as they go on to their postgraduate lives.