Miranda Levy is a major in Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies at Elon University where she pens a sex column for its student-run lifestyle magazine, The Edge.
As someone who is recently single, I’ve decided this new year is going to be full of love-life firsts. What better time to assess past relationship mistakes, question long-held assumptions about gender, and expand my sexual horizons? These are my romantic resolutions — perhaps they can be yours, too!
1.) Cut It Out with the “I’m Sorry”
In my most recent relationship, and all my previous romantic endeavors, I found myself constantly apologizing. Whether it was because I couldn’t decide where to go to dinner or didn’t want to watch Fast & Furious or didn’t feel like having sex, “I’m sorry” was my go-to, get-out-of-jail-free phrase. Well, not anymore. Know why? Because I’m not fucking sorry! This verbal tic is something many women struggle with (remember the Amy Schumer sketch?). Despite my awareness of it as a crutch, I have never really tried to stop employing it. It won’t be easy: twenty-years of knee-jerk appeasement will be a hard habit to break. But this year, I’m determined to apologize if and only if I have actually done something wrong.
2.) Text/Approach Someone First
I have often followed the old-fashioned “wait for him to make the first move” rule — probably the least effective method to get laid, ever. As a newly single woman, I know that I need to put myself out there. Why shouldn’t I walk right up to someone I’m attracted to and have a conversation? Why do I expect him to always do it? If I believe — if I know — stereotypical gender roles are total BS, then I need to put my money where my mouth is. I am someone who knows what she wants and goes after it, whether it comes to school, work, or play — my romantic life shouldn’t be any different. Forget the waiting, forget the three day rule: if I’m interested, I’m texting first.
3.) Not Just Thongs!
Okay, so I love underwear. Absolutely adore it! I may possibly have an addiction. Whenever a sexual interaction could potentially present itself — like on a date or at a party — my undergarment of choice has always been a thong, the presumed “sexy underwear.” All of its itty-bitty lacy glory makes me feel “ready” for sex. Even though I have to deal with an annoying string up my butt. While thinking about the changes I wanted to make in the new year, I realized that thongs aren’t the only sexy underwear — they’re just the most uncomfortable sexy underwear. “Oh, no thong? I’m not having sex you with,” said no guy ever to a half naked woman. Lacy boyshorts, here I come! Because there’s no need to suffer discomfort in the pursuit of pleasure.
4.) Accept Vulnerability
I have always equated vulnerability with weakness. It takes me a long time to open up to someone. I can talk for hours with a guy without actually putting myself out there: my career goals, my cat, my favorite music are all fair game, but I won’t bring up my fears, my past relationships, my emotions. I’m now beginning to realize that, even if I’m not looking for a long term relationship, sex and casual romance can be greatly improved with a little intimacy. I’m not suggesting my opening gambit with every guy I meet this year will be a trust fall or that my pillow talk will involve traumatic childhood memories, but I’m going to try to accept the fact that sexual and romantic interactions are inherently risky without that fact automatically closing me off emotionally.
5.) Be Straightforward About What I Like In Bed
Like many women, I can be a “hinter” in bed. You know, someone who beats around the bush, as it were, about what she wants sexually for fear of otherwise seeming too aggressive or bossy. It’s not that I’m ashamed of my sexual desires; if a guy asks me what I like, I’ll tell him. But this year, I’m not going to wait to be asked. No more tiptoeing around the subject, hoping he’ll just accidentally pull my hair so I can then say, at last, “Yes, like that!” This year, I’m asking for it.