Jon Bilous Shutterstock
Source: Jon Bilous Shutterstock

Some 3 million young people head off to college this month for their freshman year. If one of them was my son or my daughter, here’s what I’d want them to know about sex.

Parents, feel free to forward this to your teen of any age. 

To all incoming freshmen at the University of Anywhere:

* If you want to have sex, don’t get drunk. If that makes sex less appealing, wait until you can arrange a sexual situation that’s appealing when you’re sober.

* Even if you’re sober, do not have sex with someone who’s drunk. Not only will it be less enjoyable, you have no way of predicting what they’ll say the next day—or the next year. If the only way you can arrange to get sex is to get someone else drunk, that’s pathetic. Stay home.

* If you have penis-vagina intercourse, you need to be 100 percent responsible for birth control. This is true whether you’re drunk or sober, gay or straight, whether you climax or not, and even if the intercourse only lasts 10 seconds. There will be a million unintended pregnancies in the U.S. this year, and nothing—nothing—can destroy your life like having one.

* No matter what you do, if it involves a penis or vulva, use plenty of lube. Even more than you think is necessary. No one ever died from too much lube.

* Pee before you have sex, even if you don’t really need to. You don’t want to stop to do it in the middle of sex. And it will protect your genital health a bit, too.

* Very few heterosexuals actually enjoy vigorous penis-in-anus sex. Nevertheless, a lot of young men now want to try it and a lot of young women are acquiescing. Be honest—anal sex is a hassle, and it just doesn't feel that good. So guys, why do it? And why would you push someone to do something they don't enjoy? If you want to do something taboo, there are plenty of things that are much easier and more enjoyable. If you just want to prove you can get a woman to do it, you need to grow up. Unless you both find anal sex easy and really enjoyable, leave it to the pros. 

* I know that some people say “no” to sex when they really mean “I’m not sure, ask again,” or “I’d like to, but I’ll feel better about myself if I say no first.” Since you can’t tell a "real no” from a “maybe no" until it’s too late, you must assume that every “no” means “no.” If you do this you may miss out on some sex you could have had, but you’re also less likely to be accused of non-consensual sex. And you're less likely to behave like a jerk.

* Real sex is not like porn. It’s actually much better: when you do it right, it’s more relaxed, friendlier, funnier, it lasts longer, involves kissing and hugging, and then you get to hang out together when it’s over. On the other hand, real sex doesn't feel like porn looks: it's less intense, your excitement ebbs and flows, and sometimes you're not quite sure what to do. That's totally OK—your sex is real, while porn sex is pretend.

* The first few times you have sex with someone, do the simpler, more basic stuff. Save the complicated positions, games, and toys for when you’re already sexually compatible with someone and can easily talk to each other during sex.

* Before deciding to have sex with someone, find out if they’re kinda crazy. Obviously, you can’t do this if one or both of you are drunk, or if you don’t talk to each other first (and listen to what they say), or if you’re in a big hurry, or if you’re in a group situation where everybody is acting kinda crazy. Having sex with someone who’s kinda crazy can sometimes be fantastically enjoyable—but what they do afterwards can ruin your life for years. That’s what kinda crazy people do.

* Never use sex to hurt someone, either physically or emotionally. Don’t use sex to get revenge or to punish someone or to prove something. Most people who use sex in these ways end up hurting themselves—and damage people who trusted them, even if only for an hour. Only a psycho doesn't care about hurting other people.

* Take your body seriously. If sex hurts, STOP.

Young people sometimes act like there’s a scarcity of sex out there, making it essential to have sex whenever there’s an opportunity—even if it’s a really lame opportunity. But there will always be another chance to have sex, whether with this person or someone else. Passing up sex that could be unpleasant, dangerous, or the focus of legal action is one of the most adult things you’ll do at college—and possibly the most important.

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