Student culture has long been associated with excessive drinking, just about passable living conditions and lots and lots of sleeping around. Freshers week is usually a haze of drinking, stumbling home and waking up next to someone who turns out to be in your weekly seminar. or that’s what everyone assumes is going on. At university a culture is created that assumes everyone is permanently on the pull, desperate to have as many notches on their bedpost before they have to settle down and be ‘real’ adults. Thus student flats have tally charts of how many girls you’ve managed to have (probably mediocre) one night stands with and most interactions on tinder involve an assumption you’re both game for something sexy as soon as possible.
Now if you want to have a university experience like this, then that is 100% fine. its your life, your body, you do what makes you happy. My issue is that it places a lot of pressure on students to conform to this kind of attitude to sex. It means that (male students especially) have this sort of pressure to be regularly pulling on nights out and having lots of sex. It also leaves a lot of people feeling inadequate or unwanted, because it creates the idea that everyone is out there getting some and you’re stuck in bed watching netflix with only some biscuits for company.
I have definitely felt this pressure and I felt left out of university life a lot in first year because I couldn’t join in on the night after recapping of hilarious pulling stories. It made me feel bad about myself, it seems everyone else was able to go out and get some, but I wasn’t, so something must be wrong with me. I used to stand in clubs, convinced that I was the ugliest girl in the place, hence why no one was interested in me. I just assumed that I should be having a wild time at univerisity, and that because I wasn’t, then i was somehow defective.
It wasnt until my third year I had a sudden realisation that actually nothing was wrong with me. I just preferred to meet someone in a sober context and get to know them before anything sexual happened. And there wasn;t anything wrong with not getting with people in clubs or having one night stands, it just wasn’t for me. It was the student culture that was telling me I was the one who was weird and making me feel bad for something I didn’t even want to do deep down.
Basically student culture needs to change and be more inclusive. There is A LOT wrong with student culture (excessive drinking, lad culture etc.) but this is something which very much bothers me. I think it’s defintely not a blanket culture, I don’t think the pressure is that bad among my peers at university because we’re generally pretty good at letting people do what they want. But in the kind of general culture there is still this idea that as a student you should be having lots of sex as this is your only chance to do so and not having sex is weird or funny.
Do the things you want to do and try not to beat yourself up because you aren’t doing the same things as those around you. Respect that people are allowed to constantly ve having casual sex or don’t want to have it at all, or anywhere in between.