Life

Are You Getting Any? I Used To Think Casual Sex Was Shameful – Now It’s Fun

Jade's views on sex have changed since going to uni.
27 February 2020, 9:15am
Jade by Darina Mohammed
All photos by Darina Mohammed.
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Welcome to 'Are You Getting Any?', a column that asks a generation rumoured not to fuck if they in fact fuck.

JADE, 21

Quality of sex overall: 7.5/10
Frequency of sex: 8/10
Intimacy levels: 9/10
How do you feel generally about the people you fuck: 7/10
How happy are you with the amount of time you have for sex: 7/10

VICE: Hi Jade. How would you describe your sex life?
Jade: Exciting. It’s like a fun exploration.

That’s good. So you’re having a good time?
Yeah. Since coming to uni, I’ve like, blossomed. It’s like, oh my god, sex.

What was it like before?
I had my first relationship at 19 and I think I was quite wary about sex. I was really, really insecure for a very long time. I had eczema on my back, so the idea of showing anyone my body and being seen just wasn’t for me. After my relationship, it still took me a while because it just didn't feel right. But then it just didn’t seem like such a worrying thing anymore.

I know what you mean – I have eczema too. There's like flakes of skin coming off in the bed and big dry patches but I’ve never had a reaction from anyone. Did you get a similar non-reaction too?
Yeah. I used to be like, “by the way, I have scars and eczema” and every time they’ve just been like, “I don’t care. It makes no difference.” That definitely helped a lot, it’s just me who gives a shit about it.

Jade says her sex life is "exciting".

Would you say you and your friends are having the same amount of sex?
A lot of my friends who started uni at the same time as me seem to be having the same amount. But my other friends who have been in uni for a while or who are more settled are a bit more relaxed.

Since coming to uni, are you surrounded by a more positive attitude to sex?
I think so. There’s just that sort of freedom, where you’re just there to have fun and explore. Everyone seems a bit less concerned about it. When I was 18, I couldn't understand casual sex, it just didn't make any sense to me. But at uni, it’s just something you do and it’s done. It’s an average part of the week. It’s not so much a shameful thing, which I thought it used to be before.

So the way you view sex has changed completely?
I’m pretty neutral to it now. Obviously it’s good, but I don’t think it weighs on my head as much as it used to. In the past I would feel like it was such a big thing, rather than just something people do.

Is there anything you don’t like about modern attitudes to sex?
There’s a sort of disregard for people’s feelings, a "fuck and chuck" sort of thing. Sex becomes nothing, like having a slice of toast in the morning. Especially with dating apps, it’s easier to forget that there is someone on the other side of it who might think more of it and deserves to be thought about and have their feelings respected. There’s a lot of guilt when it comes to women and having sex. If you don’t enjoy it, you feel bad. I’ve had so many conversations with my female friends about feeling guilty and trying to give someone a second chance if it hasn't gone well. Guys are just like, "fuck that, she was shit".

Would you rather adopt the same attitude as your guy friends?
No, I usually give someone a second chance. Although I feel like I struggle to be vocal during sex. There’s only so much that I can hint at things without feeling like I’m having a full-on conversation, like “do this, do that”. I feel like I’d sound like a sat nav.

So what counts as bad sex?
When they think they’re really good but they’re doing nothing. Have you ever had that?

A few times.
[_Laughs_] It’s like, what? Do you think you’re doing that really well?

OK. So what do you think of the British Medical Journal research ? Is social media to blame for us all shagging less?
Putting it down to social media could be a bit reductive. I think dating apps do play a massive part in it. It’s a bit of a sweeping statement, but it just feels like people’s belief in meeting people has gone. Most of my friends have dating apps, I will occasionally download them and then get bored after half an hour and delete it again.

Why don't you like dating apps?
It feels like there’s no one you’re going to meet and have a connection with. People are more cautious when it comes to meeting people.

Why do you think people are cautious about meeting up from a dating app?
It’s a confidence thing. I’d match with people and have a conversation and when they’re like do you want to match up it’s like, "oooh... I don’t know about that, calm down" and then I just wouldn’t talk again.

Interesting. Even when the dating app has done most of the work for you?
It is really weird and stupid. There are people I’ve gone with before, and if I saw the photos on their Instagram photos on a dating app before, I definitely would not have swiped right. Even if they say something in their bio, I'm like, nope I don’t like that. But in the real world, I don’t think I’m that picky.

Do you think someone's social media would ever stop you sleeping with them?
_[Laughs_] No, but it’s happened before where I’ll know someone and then see their Instagram and be like, "Why do they look like this here? I can see them in real life and they look good and they’re a really nice person." It’s a phrase every girl has said where they’re like, “don’t worry about his photos, he looks better in real life”. It’s very warped and odd.

This is a campus uni, right? Surely with the SU bar downstairs, there's always a place to socialise. Do you even really need apps here?
You’d think so but it’s not the case. Those first four weeks – when no one knew anyone and you had to make friends in person – were the only time that everyone seemed open to meeting people. The moment people started settling down and finding their friendship group, they slink back rather than being open to having conversations with new people. You’ll go to a flat party and it seems that people just want to sit with people they already know when you’ve got a massive room of people.

I didn't go to a campus uni, so I've always assumed they would be the perfect environment to shag about.
People just revert again to having their people. It’s not an exciting environment, like I don’t have to go out and interact with anyone. I get that it’s scary, especially in the day time. You’d have to be drunk as that’s when people start interacting.

How did you meet the last person you slept with?
I met him during Freshers' Week and I’ve been sleeping with him since then. It’s been a friends with benefits sort of thing. He’s probably been the most consistent person I’ve slept with outside of a relationship.

Are you more drawn to having one consistent sexual partner?
It definitely has a lot of benefits. We are really good friends, we have that sort of intimacy and we get on. It’s not that first time where it’s awkward; you know what the other person likes and it's a bit easier.

So would you say that you guys are having casual sex?
That’s something I have had to do a lot of thinking about. [Laughs] I feel like I was a very relationship-py person. The idea of casual sex seemed very foreign to me and I just didn’t get it. I was worried for a while that I was going to seriously catch feelings for him. Sometimes it does get confusing because it is a lot of intimacy beyond sex. [But] I’m happy with it, I don’t spend too much time arguing with myself about it.

Since you’re in a more sex positive environment now, do you ever feel pressure to explore more?
Conversations about sex are much easier to have but, yeah, it can put pressure on you. In the past, I would think I was doing something wrong or having vanilla sex. You hear about what other people like doing in passing and you’re like, is that something I should be doing? It can get you worked up. But I still think it’s a good thing. Having more conversations about sex is better than pretending no one is doing it. With sexuality as well, I don’t think I identify as anything yet, but that’s a fun thing to explore. I can talk to any of my friends about it now and I think that’s a good thing!

Thanks Jade!

@nanasbaah

If you’re 18-35 years old and want to be featured in the Are You Getting Any? series, send an email to nana.baah@vice.com with the subject Are You Getting Any?