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Davis, California

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Secret sex

As college students we all seem to experience hookups that end abruptly and unceremoniously. We all get the bragging rights and experience points, but the one-night stand stands alone, with nothing more resulting from it.

But what about the continual secret hookup? And what if this secret continual hookup becomes emotional. And what if it involves a separate relationship?! Dizzying — I know. That’s why I am here to demystify the very treacherous terms of what I have deemed “secret sex.”

Secret sex — you know, the sex you have behind your friend’s back, the sex that you dare not post a single status about — not even declaring “it’s complicated.” Now the actual sex is not so tricky in the land of secret sex, you just have it. You may enjoy the lack of responsibility and emotions with secret sex — it is all very friends-with-benefits, save the bragging and familiarity.

These relationships can be identified with text messages from midnight to 5 a.m. and constant lies strewn together to your friends and roommates. There is no commitment and there is no boundary ever put in place.

If this carefree and somewhat simple sex seems appealing and gives you quite a little thrill — well then do it. All you really have to worry about in this simple form of secret sex is yourself and your emotions; other than that, pick an attractive partner you can handle for a couple of hours and have the time of your life.

Most of these purely sexual relationships are built out of convenience and ease, as no relationship is really wanted on either end. Most routes don’t end up like Kristen Wigg and Jon Hamm’s did in Bridesmaids, but if they do, the ease of the entire relationship makes the termination even easier — just don’t text back.

Now where things get tricky and completely muddied is when secret sex is a secret to be kept from someone — I’m talking about cheating. Secret sex becomes emotional and ultimately destructive. What drives these complicated secret sex relationships are pretty primal — passion and the rush of it.

If you’re sneaking behind backs and sleeping with someone who isn’t your significant other, this probably applies to you. Think about it — most television shows, movies and books that deal with any type of cheating are wildly popular. You introduce a hot and heavy forbidden love romance into a storyline and it adds a whole different level of intrigue, and affirms the desire of many to pursue it.

Cheating is bad and we know that — morally it shouldn’t even exist, but it does and any clandestine relationship is never going to end well. To be in a secret relationship doesn’t ever benefit either party; every person involved is going to be hurt emotionally one way or another.

If you find yourself with the question or the possibility, or if you are already participating in a side relationship, you need to separate the ideal and romance of being the “other” man/woman and the reality of the fact that these relationships are usually destructive.

I find that people who cheat are not satisfied with what they have. It is an old adage as well as a truthful one. So it’s not likely that they’ll be satisfied with another partner. Sexual attraction fizzles, and once anybody participating does get bored it can turn into a bigger mess than you are already in.

How about avoiding them? You can do that — I know it is extremely difficult to resist being a lover, a mistress, a side squeeze — but if the repercussions of a secret relationship are something you never want to go through, there are ways to deter it from happening.

Have limits with people in relationships. The fun of flirting with a married TA or that barista at Starbucks you know is in a relationship — we’ve all been there and we can stay there. Just know that it will never be. And don’t accept advances, unless you want to end up like Myrtle Wilson at the end of The Great Gatsby.

Sexual inquiries for MARISSA HERRERA can be sent to mdherrera@ucdavis.edu.


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