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The Big Q

A dialogue on the big questions college students face. Like The Big Q now on Facebook to stay updated on the latest post and winners.

The following postings have been filtered by category Sex, Dating, and Relationships. clear filter
  •  Off the Hook-Up Culture

    Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014

    The first 20 student comments on "Off the Hook-Up Culture" win a $5 Yiftee gift to a local business of your choice! Entries must be received by midnight, Sunday, February 2nd, 2014. Subscribe to the blog (by RSS or by e-mail in the right hand column) for updates.

    **DISCLAIMER: All characters and scenarios in this post are fictional.**

    Frank is a college junior at a small private university. Before coming to college he had a girlfriend for two years, ending abruptly because they were going separate ways. His attitude coming to college was to remain single, grow academically and professionally, and enjoy youthful experiences.

    In his freshman year, Frank found that the culture at his college largely matched what he was looking for. Hooking up was very common, and long-term relationships were rare. During his first year at school, Frank saw a lot of different women and had sex with several of them, rarely more than once or twice. He had some good experiences with women who he would have liked to pursue longer, but he just didn’t think the culture allowed for it.

    All the students seemed to be focused on bettering their future. They were academically and professionally driven, not driven by relationships and finding love. Some of Frank’s peers explicitly said they didn’t have time for a romantic relationship, and had no interest since they didn’t know what state they would be living in after graduation.

    At the beginning of his junior year, Frank got involved in an uncommitted sexual relationship with Susan, a girl he always had been interested in getting to know better. After hooking up once, they both discussed how they weren’t looking for a relationship but enjoyed each other’s company. Frank and Susan continued this exclusive, hook-up relationship for the first half of the semester. While they both enjoyed time with one another, the uncommitted relationship ended unexpectedly when Susan wanted more and Frank was still unsure he was ready to fully commit.

    Frank went back to his routine random hook-ups, but he soon realized that he wasn’t enjoying them anymore. There was no long-term fulfillment and growth that he had started to feel with Susan. Frank stopped hooking up with girls randomly, and instead started searching for something deeper. He spent the rest of the quarter not hooking up with anyone and realizing how difficult it was to find a relationship in college, especially after he had built a negative reputation after hooking up with so many women around his small college campus.

    Frank’s friends approached him one day in an “intervention.” They were genuinely concerned about him because he was acting so different than usual and seemed depressed. They told him that he was in a funk after his time with Susan. He needed to get back out and hook-up with girls again, so that all would be normal again.

    What should Frank do? Is Frank just heart-broken from Susan? Should Frank be hooking up with more girls? Should he not be? Why do students hook-up? In the college hook-up culture, is the choice to not hook-up just as acceptable as the choice to hook-up? Why or why not?

    Useful Resources:

    A Framework for Ethical Decision-Making

    American Psychological Association: Sexual hook-up culture

    Does Hookup Culture Hurt Women?

    9 Reasons ‘Hookup Culture’ Hurts Boys Too

  •  Boys Will Be Boys

    Monday, Nov. 12, 2012

     The best college student comment on "Boys Will Be Boys" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate. Entries must be received by midnight, November 25th. Finalists are selected by likes, so get your friends to like your comment. Subscribe to the blog (by RSS or by email in the right hand column) for updates.

     

    Julia and Ricky have been dating for about a year now, and are completely committed to one another. All of their friends feel that they have a strong relationship with a solid foundation.
     
    Despite this, however, Julia has been noticing a pattern that concerns her. Ricky regularly watches pornography, which she really doesn’t like. After ignoring it for a while, Julia mentions that it bothers her, and makes her feel like Ricky is cheating on her.
     
    Ricky apologizes, but explains that it’s solely for “release,” and means absolutely nothing beyond that. Julia feels that pornography objectifies women in a way that undermines their relationship, and her self-esteem also suffers a hit when she thinks about the images that go across her boyfriend’s screen. Her best friend tells her not to worry because “boys will be boys,” and Julia reluctantly acknowledges that she knows that many college guys do this. She thinks that she may be blowing things out of proportion, but she can’t shake the feeling of betrayal.
     
    Is Julia overreacting, or should Ricky change his habits to honor the relationship? Do the moral implications change whether or not Ricky and Julia are sexually active?
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Photo by fb available under a Creative Commons License on Flickr. 
     

  •  Sleeping Around

    Monday, Jan. 9, 2012

    The best student comment on "Sleeping Around" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate.  Entries must be received by midnight, Sunday, Jan. 22.  Finalists are selected by "likes," so click the Facebook icon above to let your friends know about The Big Q contest

    It was halfway through Mike's senior year. His grades were up. His friends were close. He was particularly involved in both the skiing and triathlon clubs. However, he recently got into a discussion with his friend Jason that continued to bother him.

    Because Mike was both outgoing and good looking, there were a lot of girls interested him. Although he didn’t want any kind of relationship with them—and he told this fact to every one he started to become intimate with—he enjoyed fooling around with a lot of them. Sex was fun for Mike, and as long as he was safe about it, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with the number of partners he had.

    His friend, however, disagreed. After calling Mike a man-whore, Jason said, "Isn't sex supposed to be more than just sleeping with any girl who shows an interest in you? And what about the girl's feelings? Shouldn't they be considered?"

    Where do you stand on this issue and why? Would you feel any different if Mike were Michelle?

    Here are some resources:

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

    Casual Sex in College

    No Hooking Up, No Sex for Some Coeds

    Good luck and don't forget to like our Facebook Page.  

     

  •  Sexting

    Monday, Nov. 7, 2011

    Best student comment on "Sexting" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate.  Comments must be posted by midnight Nov. 20.

    Mary and her boyfriend of two years, both freshmen in college, have decided to continue dating even though they go to different universities. Unfortunately, after a couple of months apart, they have found it difficult to maintain the intimacy and passion they once shared.

    In an attempt to improve the situation, her boyfriend has suggested they send naked pictures to one another. At first, Mary is a little offended that her boyfriend would make such a request; however, the more she considers it, the more she thinks it might be a good idea.

    She’s over 18. She’s been dating the boy for a while. Why shouldn’t she?

    Here are some resources:

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

    Room for Debate: What's Wrong With Adult Sexting? (New York Times)


     

    Photo by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License.

  •  Long Distance Love

    Monday, Oct. 17, 2011

    Best student comment on "Long Distance Love" wins a $50 gift certificate.  Comments must be received by midnight Oct. 23.

    When Thomas went to college, he left his girlfriend, Angela, back home, 500 miles away. Thomas promised Angela he would remain faithful to her even as he was exploring college life. However, Thomas isn’t sure if being faithful means he’s just not supposed to have sex with other girls.

    He has had his eye on a few freshman girls in this dorm. Would it be okay for Thomas to fool around with them as long as he wasn’t having sex? If his girlfriend never specified what faithful meant, is it really all that wrong to do it?

     

    Here are some useful resources: 

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

    Advice for Long Distance Relationships

    Surviving a Long Distance Relationship

     

    Photo by abbynormy available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License.

  •  Date My Professor?

    Monday, May. 16, 2011

    Best student response this week wins a $50 Amazon gift card.

    It all started when Frannie, a 19-year-old sophomore, went to work as a student assistant in the English Department. She had gotten a recommendation for the job from Bill Marsden, who had been her professor in the survey of British literature she took last quarter. The class had been so lively and engaging that Frannie was thinking of declaring English as a major.

    After she started working for the department, Professor Marsden always stopped at the reception desk and spent some time chatting with her. As they got to know each other better, it seemed natural that Marsden asked her questions like whether she had big plans for the weekend or whether she had a boyfriend waiting for her back in her hometown. But then she began to notice other signals that maybe he was interested in more than the usual professor-student relationship. He would put his hand over hers for a moment while they talked, and he brought her a collection of the love letters from Elizabeth Barrett to Robert Browning.

    Frannie was actually quite flattered by his attention. True, he was probably well into his thirties, but he was still cute, and he was a lot more mature and interesting than the boys she met on campus, whose idea of a good time was beer pong. Frannie was pretty sure Marsden would ask her out if she gave the right signals back. Should she get involved with someone on the faculty?

    Here are some resources that may help:

    Dating Your Professor: Problems to Consider Before You Date Your Instructor

    Yes, Professor?

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

     

     

  •  Friends With Benefits

    Monday, Apr. 4, 2011

    Seniors Sarah and Ben, who have been good friends since freshman year, became “friends with benefits” after a party a month ago. They just kind of fell into bed with each other. Over time, though, Sarah has started to have romantic feelings for Ben. She continues for a while in their current arrangement, in the hope that Ben will at some point begin to reciprocate her feelings. Eventually, however, as she comes to realize that a long-term relationship doesn’t seem to be in the cards, she tells Ben that she no longer wants sex to be part of their relationship.

    That weekend, they decide to go to a party together. The beer is flowing freely, and both of them get drunk. As the evening wears on, they end up going home together and hooking up. When she wakes up in Ben’s apartment the next morning, Sarah realizes that she and Ben have had sex even though she had told him she didn’t want to do that anymore. She’s furious with Ben, but he reminds her that they both were pretty wasted.

    Who is at fault? Why?

    Best student response to this case wins $50.  Comments must be posted by April 10 at midnight.  Rules

    Here are some resources that may help: 

    Alcohol and Consent (Dalhousie University)

    Hooking Up (Religion and Ethics Weekly)

    Sex and the Soul (video of Donna Freitas)

     Risk Factors and Consequences of Unwanted Sex Among University Students