My dear young friends,
Kudos to the NYT for doing an in-depth article on sex on campus. Writing about the topic is not easy, and yet it is clear to me that we must. I read the article and my thoughts immediately went to all the conversations I have had over the last few years, mostly with young women and even some with more open young fellows.
Engaging in a conversation is important–I can’t help but think that MY generation has done a very bad job of sharing and inspiring. We have sent the message loud and clear that you must achieve your professional goals, but we may not have been as open in discussing the meaning of our relationships. Many of us may have failed at relationships (look around to see those who are divorced), or we are now wrestling with our own compromises and are revisiting choices we made or feel uncomfortable about where we are and what remains to be done.
We are human beings, with deep emotions. Our sexuality is an important component of who we are and how we live. We must discuss how to make it work for us, not against us. Health is the one gift we cannot throw away. Respects for others and for ourselves is fundamental.
How do we keep the balance between our self and that of a companion? How do we define success?
More and more it is clear to me that the definition of success is an important one. The answer will be different for each one of us, and yet look around you. We tend to have a very rigid definition of success.
All of you that know me well know that I am not passing judgment of any sort. But I am concerned that we are not talking enough about our own vulnerabilities, supporting each other, being conscious of what it means to treasure what we have been given, to nurture ourselves, to grow into our best selves. We owe it to ourselves and to you, the next generation, to learn about others and ourselves, to connect meaningfully in all aspects of our lives.
I have no expertise and no background to discuss what is going on from a sociological perspective. But I feel it is our responsibility to talk about the issues that underlie hookups and alcohol consumption. The malaise underneath this new cultural phenomenon is palpable. I feel it. I have spoken to many of you, and you do too.
I offer no answers, but I do think we should start talking, understanding the consequences (physical and emotional) of our behaviors and expectations. Let’s do it without judgment, let’s remain open. So much remains to be done for all of us women and men, to be fully human, to live up to our potential. Let’s get the conversation going. Universities are not doing it, parents are trying, aunts are attempting. Let’s do it. There is more than the birds and the bees and safe sex to those conversations.
This I believe, that we must connect and care for each other deeply. And we can start to show it by talking without judgment.
Life is Amazing! Live well.
The article on the NYT is found at this link