In our new weekly advice column, The Tribe's resident "Agony Aunt" is here to come to the rescue of anyone needing help with love, sex and relationships.Q: Dear Auntie,Lately I feel like my friends have been ‘slut shaming’ me. I have an active sex life, but I’ve never thought of myself as promiscuous. I want to enjoy my time here and have some fun, but I don’t want to go too far and be considered a ‘slut’. After all, they’re my friends so I should listen to them, right?-Anonymous ReaderA: Dear Reader,We’re at a time in our lives where we can, and should, make mistakes. We should try new things, talk to new people, experience life and enjoy it. No one, especially your friends should try to take that away from you. In our so-called ‘progressive society’ we’re supposed to be accepting of all walks of life, but old values die hard and a sexually active girl can still, unfortunately, seen to be a slut.With all the stresses we have in our lives as students: essays, making new friends, working out who we are and what our future holds, we need something in our life that is constant and doesn’t add extra stress – that’s where friends come in. Sex is also great way to alleviate stress – it’s like yoga but more fun. As long as the sex you are having is consensual and you don’t feel pressured, then you can have as much or as little of it as you like, and you should never feel guilty for that.I come from a traditional thinking family. Not quite ‘no sex before marriage’ but having sex outside a long-term relationship was frowned upon. It took me a while to work out that having sexual ‘adventures’ (as I like to call them because you learn something new with every partner) was something I could do, without guilt or shame. Naturally, the reasons my family had for their opinion were centred around how I would be viewed. A girl who has sex? God forbid! People might start to think you like it! (let’s all roll our eyes together 3…2…1).I care what people think. I turn red with embarrassment when I accidentally play a video aloud in the silent section of the library, I feel self-conscious when my shoes make too much of a noise, or if my hair looks weird – how people view me is a concern. But when it comes to my sex life, other than the person I’m having sex with, no one else’s opinion matters. Don’t like the person I’m with? Then don’t talk to them. Don’t like the fact it’s outside a relationship? You’re entitled to that opinion, but don’t judge me by your standards.I hold myself to certain values – I like to think we all do – and, to me, those values and standards are important; they help me lead a fun but safe life. That said, I am fully aware that not everyone, not even some of my friends, share those standards. The role of a friend is not to criticise or impose a view, it is to support. If your friends are not supporting you, then they’re not being very good friends. They are well within their rights to not have sex themselves or to think that they would only want sex inside a relationship, or marriage. What they are not entitled to do is impose that view on you and expect you to conform to it.So, the next time your friend makes a snide remark about your sex life, address it. Tell them it makes you uncomfortable. More often than not in these situations, you find that it is the critic, and not the criticised, who has the problem.Love AuntieIf you would like to send your questions in, feel free to e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or fill in our anonymous survey on Facebook.
Hermione Bird, our Love, Sex and Relationships Subeditor, talks us through the history of sex.Sex is everywhere. Flicking through Instagram is like flicking through a Victoria's Secret catalogue. Sex is on our TV screens, in our perfume commercials, in the way we dress, even, for some, in the way a mother feeds her baby. Everything feels sexualised. You name it, sex sells it. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the next time I am idling scrolling through Facebook I see sex selling dog food – nothing feels safe.And in my quiet musings, when I’m not wasting my time considering why a stick thin models sex life is going to make me buy a Range Rover Sport, I wonder how we got here and if society was always like this. Naturally, curiosity got the better of me and I delved into the history books to suss out how sex was viewed in bygone eras. And I stumbled on a few interesting snippets from our forefathers that raised an eyebrow.The Victorian Detox: In Victorian Britain sex was taboo, well at least talking about it was. Society was so concerned about sexual arousal that they covered the legs of chairs and tables because they were considered too phallic. As I stare hard at the foot of my kitchen table, I struggle to see how anyone would have found it stimulating but, I shrug, and decide to live and let live … or love as it were. It wasn’t just table legs that needed to be covered, but human, mainly female, legs too. Women were forbidden from showing their ankles, and if you did you were considered either a prostitute or indecently exposing yourself in public and you may have even been arrested. Anxiously glancing down at my mini skirt makes me thankful I was born in the 1990s, rather than the 1890s.The Victorian attitude to the female orgasm is even more bizarre. It wasn’t right of passage for women to orgasm, but rather a medical procedure. If a woman was seen to be suffering from hysteria or depression, there were special ‘doctors’ who would alleviate their suffering by, well let’s just say giving them a hand. I’m awfully glad student services chose not to adopt this practice, something makes me think that it might just make me feel worse rather than better.Ancient Greece:Narcissistic? Vain? Then Ancient Greece is the place for you as a woman. That is, of course, if you don’t mind being kept inside for your entire life and they didn’t even have Netflix to binge watch back then. If somehow you did get out, and were beautiful, then you were seen as a gift from the Gods. One plucky girl used this to her advantage when she was on trial for blasphemy, the penalty of which was death. Her defence was simple: nudity. She stripped naked in front of the jury and asked them if they could really face killing her perfect body. (Disclaimer: do not try this in a modern-day court of law you will be arrested … again). But she wasn’t just stripping off for nothing, her defence was to show how the Gods had blessed her with a perfect body and ask how she could have blasphemed when she was clearly a Godly gift. If only we could do this now… Middle Ages:The Bible = Karma Sutra. I don’t mean to sound blasphemous (though if I were thank God I’m not in Ancient Greece), but, in the Middle Ages, the Church dictated your sex life: when, where, who and, most importantly, how. Forget trying out new positions, there was only one permitted by the Church – missionary. And if you did anything else then you could risk going to jail. Having the woman on top was a seen as a ‘deviant’ sexual position, so God knows what they thought about doggy style … That said, the Middle Agers weren’t pretending sex didn’t exist like the Victorians. In fact, the most popular fashion accessory of the time, for men, was a codpiece, which drew attention to male virility. You’ve heard of the ‘bigger the hoop the bigger the ho’ - well, go back a few hundred years and it was ‘the bigger the codpiece the bigger the bro’. Twentieth Century:Peace, love and the pill. This is the turning point for sex and how we got from no chair legs to Love Island. The 20th century saw the rise of the pill; a woman could now have sex with a reduced risk of pregnancy. It didn’t stop STIs though and the increased amount of ‘free love’ going on led to a rise in sexually transmitted diseases, the worst of which were HIV. For a period in the 80s and 90s there was an AIDS crisis, following the death of Queen singer Freddie Mercury. Think of the Mean Girls sex ed scene: ‘Don’t have sex, or you will get pregnant and die’. It was that sort of fear, not that it stopped people having sex. And now we’re here. Sex is everywhere … except in the courts where stripping naked unfortunately will no longer grant you immunity. Courts of law aside, it’s actually hard to find a place where there isn’t something sexual. The idea of sex has changed, it’s a fun thing to let off steam as well as an act of love. Relationships aren’t necessary for sex anymore and, in some cases, neither is another person. My brief account of fun historical sex facts is only a bit of fun but does provide a stark contrast to how our views of sex morph throughout history. And who knows, maybe in a hundred years’ time, some student writer will stumble across our idea of sex and find it utterly ridiculous as well. Hermione is a fourth year studying English and Philosophy. She has seen every episode of Midsomer Murders one hundred times over and still can never remember whodunnit.If you would like to contribute to our Love, Sex and Relationships section you can get in touch with Hermione at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Lifestyle Editor Rachel Abreu offers some advice for how to write about Lifestyle.Hi, it’s me again. If my name seems familiar, it might be because I’m back for another year as the Lifestyle Editor for The Tribe. If you haven’t come across me before, my name is Rachel Abreu and I’ll be managing the Lifestyle sections – Events, Food, Fashion, On The Road, and Love, Sex and Relationships – for the upcoming school year, which will also be my last. My main jobs as Lifestyle Editor consist of finding keen, talented writers who have an interest in food, fashion, travel and everything in between, as well as providing the help and guidance needed so they can produce engaging articles on those topics. A lot of the ideas and topics that are submitted to this section are personal and writer-generated, so I try not to overstep my role as an editor. While I do try to keep articles eloquent and of a high standard, most of the opinions and ideas presented in lifestyle articles will still stay very true to their writers. In a section that deals greatly with style, it’s important to me that everyone is given the space and freedom to express their unique flair. The Lifestyle section has been the runt of the litter the past few years, and this year, I’m really hoping to change that. For a town that cares greatly about fashion and a full social calendar, it sometimes feels like people would rather be written about. So if you’re interested in sharing some new food to try, new places to visit, or think your fashion and beauty tastes are worth hearing about, definitely come write for us! And if you consider yourself a social butterfly, the events section would definitely be up your alley. The Lifestyle section is also a really great place to make your voice heard, whether you want to discuss controversial topics in the Love, Sex and Relationships section, or want to shine the spotlight on someone whom you think could be our town’s next style icon. My quite ambitious aim for this year is that the articles in the Lifestyle section will be full of people you know. Not only will you know the people writing the articles, but I also hope that many articles this year will focus on the talented, stylish individuals in this town. So if you know someone who would be great to interview, maybe someone whose recipes have inspired you, or someone whose fashion sense you wish you could cop for yourself – send them my way! I’ll be crossing my fingers. As always, the Lifestyle section is open to suggestions and if you have any ideas you’d like to run by me or simply want to contribute an article.Rachel is and English student and writer for a number of publications.You can contact Rachel with articles or questions at email@example.com.
This anonymous piece offers a personal account of what a 'casual relationship' or a 'casual hookup' means in today's youth culture. “Can we keep this casual?” “Sure, what does that mean? “I don’t know, I heard it in a movie once”. Helpful. So, am I in a relationship? No, it’s casual. And I have no idea what that means. Perhaps it’s different for different people. For us, it appears ‘casual’ is being with someone in a way that was less serious and committed than our previous relationships. For others casual is just sex, meet in the dark and leave in the dark, maybe you never see their face. How exciting. Clearly, I’m still discovering what casual means. After every meeting we ask each other whether we’ve figured it out yet … “Casual means the other person doesn’t get disappointed” Vague. “Casual means we’re not exclusive” I don’t sleep around. “Casual means no commitment” But what does that mean? Is it even possible to do casual in a town so small? I imagine in a big city, ‘casual’ could mean we get on with our own lives for a few weeks and meet up when we feel lonely or have nothing else to do. Here, casual is meeting every few days because we never seem to have anything else to do after the library shuts. I find myself second guessing messages to send and regularly asking my friends for advice with the words: “That’s not very casual of me though, is it?” I hate playing games, but I find myself falling into traps I should have avoided. Such as accidentally letting slip I mentioned him to my parents. Suddenly wedding bells sound like alarms in the distance and I’m scrambling to diffuse the situation. “I tell my parents about all new acquaintances, casual or otherwise”. Did that cover it? I’m over-thinking this and over-thinking isn’t very casual. Making plans for holidays becomes even harder. I’d like to go away with him because he’ll be a fun travel companion but asking for a mini-break doesn’t feel casual. I’m desperately trying to negotiate my way around a casual minefield and it’s a dance I am ill-prepared for. “What do we call this?” We ask. Dating? Seeing each other? A thing? He arrives on ‘situation’. Which echoes a bad action movie where the hero dramatically explains: ‘We have a situation here, boss’. Should I rename this section ‘Love, Sex, Relationships and Situations’? I think not. Situation is too negative and it suggests a problem. But there is a problem with casual, and it’s the same problem that friends with benefits has – someone ends up getting hurt. It’s easy to do because you’re sleeping with the person and having some form of relationship – feelings are bound to build. As soon as the other person tests the limits of casual, those feelings rise to the surface. Being in St Andrews makes it harder because you can’t just end it with ‘thanks see you never’ because you have to see them all the time. Then again, we cannot deny ourselves casual relationships just because we’re in a small town. I firmly believe that casual is possible, but only if communication is involved. Set yourself boundaries and define it. If you want to avoid feelings, then don’t see them every day. If you want to start off casual with the intention of seeing if it can go somewhere, tell them that from the start. Knowing what you want from making it casual can help keep it casual, otherwise you end up on different levels wondering why they don’t feel the same way. Casual, for me, is limbo. It’s teetering on the edge of a relationship and friendship, avoiding commitment to either. Limbo isn’t sustainable, but I don’t want to think about that right now. It’s certainly not ‘casual’ to think about sustainability. For now, we’ll blunder along with ‘casual’ and hope we figure out what that means.