Minus the City: When Disaster Strikes

If you’re a sexually active person on Colgate’s campus, you have an answer to the question, “What was your worst hookup ever?” Even more likely, you have two or three suppressed memories that are all vying for that title. I believe there are two categories of bad hookups. There are the awkward ones that were bad because someone said something weird, or your teeth knocked together the whole time, or your partner was just plain bad at sex. Then there are the catastrophes. The ones that no one can prepare you for, including your mom, your cool older cousin or any number of Cosmopolitan issues. The I-will-never-live-this-down kind of sexual mistake. If you haven’t lived through one, you’ve heard stories. Accidentally punching your partner in the face, an allergic reaction to lube, peeing yourself, vomiting in the heat of the moment – these are the narratives we’d like to be excluded from.

Unintentionally hitting someone, breaking out in a burning rash, peeing your pants and puking are all terrible things on their own, but any of them happening mid-hookup makes Hell feel like a place on earth (Hamilton, NY). Any kind of sexual encounter is supposed to be wet, wild and, above all else, sexy. Despite sex being the most human act a person could engage in, most of hookup culture revolves around denying our humanity. We have to be perfect, with no feelings and no mistakes. To have something go this horrifically wrong in a moment that is supposed to be flawless is traumatizing. You are likely with someone you don’t know well, and although hookups are rarely intimate, they are always exposing. You’re vulnerable with a stranger, and they see you at your absolute worst. It feels like a tornado just blew through your life without warning.

How do you rebuild after the devastation? There’s no way to plan how to react in the moment, and there’s no way to know how your partner will handle it. They could be understanding and compassionate, or they could get angry. Any number of reactions are possible. How you feel and what you do in the moment of crisis is not nearly as important as how you handle the emotional repercussions in the morning. You’re probably terrified to ever see that person again, and more so afraid to continue engaging in hookup culture.

It’s fine to worry and be scared, but in the wise words of Big Sean, “Last night I took an L, but tonight I bounce back.” Holding back from sexual desire because you fear failure creates a taboo around something that is already very taboo in our culture. There’s nothing healthy about taboo. You’ve already survived the storm, so for your own health and happiness, bounce back tonight.

Contact Kate Hinsche

at [email protected].