Peyton Stotelmyre / Daily Nexus

 

What’s the best way to navigate the hookup culture at UCSB/in I.V.?

After receiving my acceptance letter to UCSB, my friends promptly joked about the rumored strand of chlamydia that was both well-circulated and unique to UCSB. Isla Vista: where hump day is every day. This would be my new home, my new culture and my new sex life. At the ripe age of 18 I thought sex was not only something quintessential to the college experience but also to being a Gaucho, and it wasn’t just because of the shameful amount of times I’ve seen “American Pie.” Two and a half years later, here I am being reprimanded by a frat star for not wanting to be exclusive.

UCSB carries on a reputation of one-night stands and unprotected sex, but the reality for many people is that they’re in search of something more. That is why it is important to remember that despite “norms” or assumed expectations, at the end of the day any level of intimacy must be on the terms of your partner and you. Figure out what you want out of a relationship. That could be anything from knowing you want to get married and have five kids after dating six months to knowing you exclusively want to have one-night stands. Defining for yourself what you want will help you avoid a potentially negative or even harmful situation.

When it comes to the physicality of hooking up, make sure you know your boundaries, what you are comfortable with and what you are willing to try, and be sure to have communicated with your partner about their boundaries as well. Remember that while hookup culture on a college campus can be uniquely lecherous, it can also be surprisingly insightful. Keeping open lines of communication can not only help keep you safe, but it can also allow you to more comfortably explore your sexual boundaries as well.

 

 

How do I stay faithful to my long-distance boyfriend? It’s so hard sometimes!

While I do believe everyone is capable of maintaining a long-distance relationship, I do not believe long-distance relationships are for everyone, for a variety of different reasons. That being said, I believe the first step to being faithful in a long-distance relationship is ensuring that both your partner and you are 100 percent committed to the relationship as it is. Relationships in and of themselves are difficult, and being physically separated only adds to the opportunities for confusion, miscommunication and stress. If both of you are not committed to one another and to addressing your issues as they arise, I don’t believe it would be worth it to stay together because you will just be hurting one another in the long run.

Once you and your boyfriend have discussed your commitment to one another, I think it would be beneficial to set aside a few times a week when you will Facetime or have a phone call with each other. Obviously you can talk more than what is scheduled, but ensuring that you have dedicated time to each other regularly is a more tangible representation of your commitment that will help you both stay connected. I also think that it is important for your partner and you to discuss how you will handle conflict when it arises. Whether you decide to address it immediately or to give yourselves a few days before discussing, putting a concrete plan in place will help you avoid simply putting issues off that could be detrimental to the relationship. Long-distance relationships may be the ultimate test of a relationship, but keep in mind why you’re staying committed and that the distance is only temporary.

 

 

Hi AJ – how do I tell my best friend I’ve been in love with her for five years? I don’t think I can stay silent anymore :(

Falling in love with your best friend to some extent seems almost inevitable. Despite all efforts to maintain a completely platonic relationship, the lines of intimacy blur when you love someone. She knows you love her, but she doesn’t know the way you love her. You have to be completely honest with her and also with yourself. What is it that you want from the relationship and what are your intentions in telling her? While I do believe you should be honest with her about your feelings, that does not necessarily mean that you have the intention of changing the relationship right now.

When friendship turns into something more, I think there is always the fear of losing the relationship. Keep in mind that this may catch her off-guard or she may not even skip a beat. Regardless, you should let her know that you care about her and that you want to communicate about how the feelings may affect your relationship. In the chance that the feelings aren’t reciprocated, remember that it is OK to take some time to process and move forward, but that you should let her know what you need to continue the relationship as friends.

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