Dear Miss Lonelyhearts,
I’m a returning, bisexual grad student, working on my PhD in a social science department. I live in a shared house with friends near campus. I just returned from doing work abroad for my dissertation, and now, in the middle of this fall semester, a problem I’ve had really since I got here a few years ago has gotten to be just too much. Let me just state it outright: I’m having trouble getting laid. So, I need some advice about venues or strategies or something.
While I’m still young and not detestable, I want to have sex on—why not?—a regular basis. But I don’t want a romance. Too draining. I certainly am not on the hunt for love. Give me a break. That’s for other people, I guess. Suggestions?
Trying To Get My Freak On
Dear Trying to Get My Freak On,
Thanks for your honest message, TTGMFO, and welcome readers to The Voice’s first, highly anticipated and very much needed sex/dating/married-existence hotline. We encourage real questions from real UMass grad students about the dilemmas you face at home or about town. Our panel of specialists is here with hundreds of years of experience between them, ready to help you tackle the twisted shit we all face.
Ok, TTGMFO. First off, this is a widespread concern. You’re not alone. It’d be nice to have more information about your actual strategies and already-exhausted venues, so the advice could be more targeted. You know—maybe you’re the problem. If we knew more about your “strategies,” we could help you hop on the good foot to do the bad thing.
Some questions to think about when reflecting on your approach:
What vibes are you giving off? Striking the balance between being upfront and being crass is key. What signals are you sending out? Confidence is attractive; desperation is a kiss-of-death. How do you select your sample? Are you inadvertently restricting your people possibilities to only certain populations or age groups out of habit and familiarity? Things to consider.
Re: the question of venue. With a relatively small grad student body, we understand how desirable people are in demand for many people like you, TTGMFO. To state the obvious: get thee to the Internet. But here’s the rub: most cyberplaces are still dominated by marital aspirations and serious love-searchers. Not your crowd, clearly. You’re after what in gay male sex culture are called cruising spots. Gay dudes have several Internet options open to them that are explicitly sexualized and hook-up-friendly. But to our knowledge, websites that cater to lesbians, bisexuals and straight folk have either yet to be invented or yet to be populated enough to be worth your time. You could try to push your sex-only agenda on a site like OkCupid through clever use of code and forthright declaration of interest. But that’s an uphill battle. The craigslist personal sections are hit and miss, but also an option.
What about physical cruising spots nearby? Here’s where the ethics of sexual education get hairy: we’d love to share our knowledge about local spots on- and off-campus known to be cruisey, but anti-sex forces relish those kinds of details and can use that info to shut down the fun. Take comfort in knowing that beneath the stuffy surface, Amherst, Hadley and Northampton have spots—for women to meet women, for dudes to meet dudes—to meet solely for your stated goal. Word of mouth and trial-and-error are your best bets, here. Straight people have it toughest, as cruising culture remains woefully underdeveloped and casual sex frequently censored as unrespectable.
Stay strong—and best of luck!