hat made you decide to start your blog, ‘Sex and the Exeter Girl’?
I used to be the biggest prude about sex. I remember seeing a diagram of an uncircumcised penis in Sixth Form – it made me scream and fall off my chair. For me, sex has always been a scary topic. I’m not sure why – might have something to do with going to an all girls’ school and having minimal male contact!
the blog is my way of seeing the funny side to sex – it makes it less of a big deal
Two years ago I lost my virginity, but my boyfriend and I broke up soon after (he didn’t ejaculate and evacuate, don’t worry!). Then last year I was practically celibate – I didn’t have sex all year, but I did sexual things. It was around this time that I realised how much I enjoy talking about sexual stuff – even though I was crap at blowjobs, the fact I accidentally bit a guy’s penis made a hilarious story over the breakfast table!
Then this year I decided I wanted to have sex, and I thought the way to make that less scary would be to write all about it. In painstaking detail. So the blog is my way of seeing the funny side to sex – it makes it less of a big deal.
Slut-shaming can be a huge issue for female students when it comes to the subject of one night stands or “sleeping around”. Have you ever felt judged by your peers or friends? What do you think can be done to tackle such negative attitudes towards female sexuality?
I think I’m lucky because my housemates have never judged me for sleeping around (minus that one time I went straight from a one night stand to a seminar without showering). As one of my mates says, “this is what our twenties are for.”
I think the judgement comes more from myself. I am a feminist and I’d always tell my friends to have sex with whoever they want, whenever they want. But I set myself completely different rules. I’ve had casual sex a few times and I felt a bit dutty and upset afterwards. But I know that that’s ridiculous, since girls should be able to have as much sex as they want!
“this is what our twenties are for.”
I think the negative attitudes often stem from girls bitching about each other. We have to call this out when we see it. When your mates are slutshaming, it subconsciously makes you feel it’s not OK to enjoy sex with strangers. And that’s ridiculous.
There are often misconceptions about sex based on experiences of sex education at school. Do you think the education you received adequately prepared you for sex and relationships now that you’re older?
Absolutely not. Up until I was 18 I thought you had to be on your period to get pregnant. Plus they taught us about condoms back in Year Nine. Where was the refresher course in Sixth Form?
Most of my proper sex ed came from rumours from girls who were more sexually experienced. I remember being in Year 10 and all of us were gathered around this girl who was telling us about losing her virginity. It was the scariest lunchtime of my life – she went into graphic detail about cherries and how they pop and there’s blood everywhere… It was really grim, and (as it turns out) not technically true. Not everyone does bleed their first time. Also I feel that a lot of the things we were told were just blatant lies.
We were told that we should never use lube because it destroys condoms. That’s just a big fat lie! Water-based lubes are fine, and they make sex way more fun.
Let’s talk Tinder. The app has become an increasingly fundamental way for students to meet other singles, whether it be for a casual hook-up or a serious date. Have you found Tinder to be a successful dating method?
I have only ever had one Tinder date, and it was really fun. Unfortunately, I went into the whole thing thinking it was a proper date. And I started to like him, too – he had a Devon accent and said he loved Taylor Swift aka the dream.
But he thought it was just a casual hook-up thing. So for our next ‘date’ he suggested pizza and a movie. I got all excited, thinking he was taking me to the Firehouse, then he messaged me saying “No, I thought we could order in :p”. Yeah, he used the ‘:p’ face, so I should have known we were doomed from the start. He then went on to say it wasn’t a date and was “just hanging out”.
I think Tinder is a great way to meet people and to have fun. I know people who use it purely for sex – they sext over the app, send booty texts and eventually hook up. But then my sister met her long-term boyfriend on the app, too. I think it’s more of an app for hooking up, but there are exceptions who are looking for a relationship out of it.
You’ve also written openly about your experiences with cystitis. Many students have experience of suffering from STIs and UTIs, but often feel embarrassed to talk about it. How would you encourage other students to feel confident talking about such issues?
I think cystitis is one of those things you can talk about quite openly and people won’t be too grossed out. Although it is embarrassing having to tell your parents you have a UTI that most people get from too much/rough sex. STIs are another story. I think they are way more stigmatised – if you admit you’ve had a STI during ‘Never Have I Ever’ then the room erupts into questions, and you’ll feel pretty judged!
With STIs and UTIs it’s important to remember that they don’t define you
I think students have to chat about it more openly, so it doesn’t become such a big deal. Like how mental health has become way less stigmatised in recent years because people are more open to admit to their mates when they’re struggling. With STIs and UTIs it’s important to remember that they don’t define you. It’s just an infection that will clear. It has no bearing on who you are as a person.
Masturbation is another subject that many girls feel embarrassed about. What are your thoughts on masturbation, porn and even sex toys? What advice would you give to a student who feels ashamed about masturbating?
I started masturbating when I was 15 and, at the time, I was pretty religious and thought it was a sin. But as I’ve grown older I’ve realised it’s completely natural. If you know you can do something that will give you pleasure, why wouldn’t you do it?! Plus it’s important to know what you like. I’ve been with guys before who have been clueless down there – I’ve had to show them how it’s done, like an interactive sat nav. If you know what you like then you can avoid awkward moments.
If you know you can do something that will give you pleasure, why wouldn’t you do it?!
It annoys me that there is a stigma around female masturbation. In Year 8 all the boys at the back of the bus would openly talk about wanking, whereas girls would feel too embarrassed to chat about it. I think it’s really sad young girls feel ashamed to talk about what they like!
Porn is a tricky one. It does make me feel uncomfortable and I am quite selective in what type of porn I will watch – if the entire focus is on the man’s pleasure, then I’m not down for that. I don’t really watch porn anymore because I’m in a relationship – but when I was single I’d watch it because I didn’t have anything to fantasise about. That said, I’m a fan of vibrators – so much so that my mates bought me one for my birthday last year! Best present ever. Only downside is I never know where to store it when I’m at home – I would be mortified if my parents found it!