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Not So Fast: Another Take on Sex in Freshers' Week

28/08/2014 13:00 BST | Updated 27/10/2014 09:59 GMT

Very few weeks have the same mythological status as freshers' week. You'll meet your new Best Friends Forever. You'll be out every night. You'll make stories you'll dine out on for years. You'll end up with one eyebrow. You'll have lots of excellent and sexy sex with people you've only just met. It'll be wild. It'll be great.

Except that's not what freshers' week is like for most people. And I say this as someone who has now gone to four (four!) universities, and experienced two undergrad' freshers' weeks (I decided the first place wasn't for me and left after eight weeks, which is a thing you can do, FYI). Take it from me: very few people I know had any sex at all during freshers' week, as most people were busy trying to pretend they knew where they lived, their housemates' names, and that they didn't want to call their parents for a comforting chat.

The point is this: there's enough pressure to enjoy freshers' week as it is, without the added burden of assuming you're the only fresher in the country who hasn't seen a stranger naked in the last five days. The mythology that everyone spends every night of it in bed with different hotties from across the campus is not a healthy one. You're not failing if that's not what freshers' week looks like for you. Sure, have sex if you meet someone and you both want to, are in a position to fully consent (for example, the other person isn't too drunk to fully and enthusiastically consent), and have protection. University is absolutely the right time to test your boundaries, have fun, be independent and discover yourself - and sex can be a positive part of that.

But the mythology of a 'fuck buddy' as 'highly disposable', no matter how tongue-in-cheek (sorry Jamie England), is actually somewhat dangerous. Sex doesn't have to be a sign of commitment but it should be pleasant, respectful, consensual, and safe. The other person is not a trophy or an acquisition or a tally. Let's think about respect as the absolute minimum. There are many ways to have a great time in freshers' week, and for some people that will involve sex with several partners, for some it will involve one, and for some people it will involve none. And you know what? You're at university. You're a grown up. Have sex. Don't have sex. Both are fine. Freshers' week is absolutely not the measure of your experience of university.

Shagging a course-mate is not the only thing worse than shagging no one in freshers' week. The worst thing is turning something that should be fantastic and fun into a competition. That's not sexy.

Disclaimer: the author of the article ('A Note to Freshers') that this was written in response to has since added a note claiming it as 'satirical'. But aiming for funny isn't a Get Out of Jail Free card.