There will forever exist those expectations that the logical side of our brains insist are false, but our desires hope to be true: sure, we can go out drinking the night before a major exam and still pass, or we can expect that the Eagles will actually go to the Super Bowl this year. Blame it on American Pie or pop culture in general, but I always expected that sex in college would be easily and readily available. Suffice it to say that my hopes have since evaporated into thin air.
In an effort to assuage my anxiety over this harsh reality, I decided to call my eighth-grade sister for some simple, before sex, boy-girl reminiscing. Apparently the good old days of a four-bases foreplay system are gone for good: I was regaled with tales of minor-league bases, major-league bases and a British-based, 10-step, "snogging scale"—the latter two ending in the "full monty." If middle school has become so complicated it now includes three different base systems, where does that put us?
The first play of our game, the "four-play," is finding someone you might want to be with. Obstacles arise regardless of where you meet—class, a concert, a game, a bar. The most obvious obstacle is the cock-block. Cock-blocking can be caused by a number of different factors: your hotter best friend swings an arm around your shoulder and suddenly no one is talking to you anymore; your best girl or guy friend comes up and that other someone immediately vanishes. Then there is the age-old dilemma of beer goggles—do you step in and block your drunken friend flirting with a random nasty guy or girl? How do you know if they want to be cock-blocked?
The next obstacle becomes the wingman. I'm ashamed to admit I've reduced my roommate to playing wingman to a guy who was so persistent that she was forced to tell him she was in love with me. Sometimes you have to step up for a friend in need, but just make sure the favor is returned.
The last obstacle in making this first play is by far the easiest. Thanks to thefacebook.com, you don't even need to get a number before you say goodbye. You can poke, you can message, you can even be brave and IM. The to-ask-home-or-not question no longer has to be debated that first night. You no longer have to be sleazy to get a piece of ass; you can get in touch with the other person the next day.
The second play of our game is getting that someone into bed. The single room is key here. Doubles eschew a host of complications-—warning your roommate ahead of time, or making sure they don't accidentally walk in. Bunk beds make the case worse: it's flat-out obnoxious to have sex above someone who's sleeping, but we stoop to that level anyway.
Once in the bedroom, conversation is paramount. Awkward spur-of-the-moment bedroom comments should be limited to TV shows and movies. You definitely don't anticipate a question like "Are you comfortable enough to blow me right now?" and then it's asked, or at least it has been to me. What do you do when someone says the wrong thing? What if someone uses baby talk in bed and you can't stand it? Do you laugh or yell or just try to pretend it didn't happen?
Never underestimate the importance of play three: foreplay. I'm not talking oral sex, I'm talking good old fondling, rubbing, and pumping. It goes without saying that men get the shit end of the stick here: you can get a better hand-job without the hassle of getting a girl into your bed. On the bright side, guys, the more effort you put into pleasing her, the quicker you're going to get head. Dry humping is tantamount to sex: as awkward as it might feel, the frustration of feeling sex without actually having sex is a massive turn-on. And to all you guys who think boobs are overrated, that's bull.
Play four is oral. It's a given that guys love to receive head, but most hate to give it; girls can go all ways—some love to give and not to get, some hate to give and love to get, some hate or love both. To the girls' credit, successfully going down on a guy is not as easy as it looks. And then there's the swallowing issue: should you avoid awkwardness but experience the disgusting taste, or do what you want and spit? Often girls are too embarrassed to enjoy receiving it. Shaving and trimming are essential to good oral sex—as one friend of mine is wont to say, "It needs to be short enough so I don't get it caught in my teeth."
It would be awfully nice if our sex lives were as simple as a game of baseball, if every successful play ensured a win and good sex. On the other hand, where would the excitement be if our sex lives were as predictable as the Yankees beating the Mets? We can't assume we will have sex with every person who makes it into our bed, but where would the fun be if we could expect the same from every guy or girl we meet? The beauty of the four-play is the unknown: you might get any number of play and obstacle combinations.
Final consensus? Well, Toto, we're not in middle school anymore.
Miriam Datskovsky is a Barnard College sophomore. Sexplorations runs alternate Mondays.