Hardcore Curriculum — 5/19/09

Dormitory relationships and the gap between sexual and emotional satisfaction.

[img id=”77593″ align=”alignleft”] Should couples in a dorm make an effort to cover up the fact that they are having sex or is there no sense in taking extra precaution to hide what everyone assumes anyway?

Chris: If you are hanging around people with whom you are comfortable discussing personal matters, then there is nothing wrong with being open about your sex life. Actually, when you need to vent or want to brag, your closest friends are great to share the intimate details of your relationship. If you live in a large dorm like Max Palevsky or Shoreland, you probably won’t have much trouble being as

private or public about your relationship as you want. Keep in mind though that the various dorm communities treat relationships differently and most are not immune to gossip. While the talk may not always deal with specific sexual shenanigans, if a couple is open about their sexual life, other people in their dorm will probably know something about it. Keep this in mind that if you decide to be open about your relationship. However, never assume that everybody wants to hear about your dirtiest sexploits. While being public is fine, you don’t want to offend anybody, especially the people you live with. Otherwise, go for it!

Anna: If people are starting to make assumptions about the nature of a couple’s relationship, it’s usually because they aren’t hiding the fact that they’re having sex. Let’s face it—in a dorm it’s pretty obvious when people are getting it on. You live in fairly close quarters with these people, and they notice a lot more than you would think. Discretion is important, but only for reasons of courtesy and comfort. Within a dorm, I feel that there are two major reactions to sexual relationships: People will either disapprove of the match or not. You can avoid knowing that opinion by keeping the details private, but as you said, people like to assume. Let them assume what they want, but keep what’s important—having a relationship that makes you happy—at the front of your mind.

My girlfriend and I have been dating for a few months and are enjoying an increasingly active and exciting sex life. However, she’s much more interested in a “rougher” form of intercourse than I am. She often screams loudly (or “barks,” sort of) and asks that I bite or slap her while we’re having sex. I know that her behavior isn’t much outside the realm of what’s understood to be “rough” sex, but I really enjoy the emotional side of our relationship, and I wonder if she’s getting the bulk of her satisfaction from our sex life, given this animalistic behavior. I love her dearly and want to discuss this with her so we can come to terms. How do you suggest I approach it?

Chris: Couples often get their satisfaction, whether emotional or physical, in very different ways. In order for the relationship to work, you both need to make sure that both your physical and emotional needs are being met. It appears that you find more satisfaction from the emotional aspect, while she finds it more from the sexual side. My best advice would be to speak with her frankly. If you feel you’re not getting enough emotional satisfaction, you need to tell her. Unless you speak with her, she may never know you are lacking that emotional closeness. To make the relationship even better, you both have to be conscious of your partner’s needs. If you’ve just had sex and got a little “rough” to make it exciting for your girlfriend, make sure you take some time together to enjoy a post-coital cuddle in order to connect on a more emotional level. While there is no clear-cut formula for how much time you should be devoting to each, by keeping communication open and working towards a balanced relationship, it will become much easier and more fulfilling.

Anna: You seem like someone who is very emotionally attached to this specific relationship. From what I gather, you’re beginning to believe that your girlfriend enjoys having sex with you more than she does spending time talking to you, which is problematic. You should talk to her about how that bothers you, and tell her that you want to have more quality time outside the bedroom. Having such a conversation may be difficult, but it’s really important seeing that you care so much about her and your relationship. Keep in mind that your girlfriend might not realize that you aren’t as into the rough sex as she is by letting her know that sometimes you’d like to switch it up. Make it clear that it isn’t that the sex is bad, but that sometimes you want to have sex that reflects how you view your relationship—in a sweet, caring way.

If you have a question about sex and relationships, submit it anonymously to Anna and Chris. Just click here!