By Hannah Wydeven
Dear Hannah, I’m just curious, do you have any tips for how to make your first time with someone new not an awkward experience? It seems that no matter how comfortable you are with your body, or bodies in general, there’s always at least a little physical miscommunication the first time. Can this be avoided or is it just me? Lonely in the LibraryA new sexual experience is only awkward if you make it awkward, LIL. Every first thing with a new person-whether it’s just a kiss or anal sex-is going to have its awkward moments. If your newest bedmate bumps your teeth when they kiss you, or fumbles while trying a different position, just brush it off and move on. Laughing about it with your partner and remembering that sex is fun will make you both feel more at ease. It takes a little time to find a rhythm with new sexual partners, and getting there should be fun for both (or all) of you. It might feel awkward because neither of you know what the other wants. Be open and tell your lover exactly what makes you get off, and then help them get you there. It’s not awkward to talk about sexuality while you’re having sex, so do it. Dear Hannah,I am dating a guy who recently started using cocaine. He only does it recreationally, but he encourages me to use it too. I have to admit I don’t know that much about coke or its effects, but I am not sure if I should be worried about being in a relationship with a user. I am in dire need of some advice!Substance and SexI am glad you wrote this question, SAS, because I have been thinking a lot lately about substance abuse on our campus. It’s generally accepted that people at Macalester like to drink and smoke pot, but I don’t think students are as aware of how often cocaine and other stimulants are used. It seems to be a problem that people just don’t want to talk about. Here are some things you should know about cocaine. First, it is highly addictive. Even though your boyfriend is currently only using “recreationally,” chances are that if he continues using, he will experience greater physical and emotional addiction. Cocaine is as addictive, if not more so, than tobacco products. When someone does cocaine, the high they get is very intense and is followed by an equally intense comedown, which often involves feeling of depression, irritability, jitters, weakness, suicidal thoughts and a desire to do the drug again. Cocaine also has a plethora of extremely damaging effects to the body. When you’re boyfriend is on coke, he could experience anything from paranoia to impotence-something you don’t want to be dealing with as his sexual partner. Cocaine causes your dopamine and serotonin to surge at extremely high levels in the brain. Essentially it changes the function of your brain cells to compensate for the imbalance caused by the drug. Dysphoria, insatiable hunger, aches, insomnia, lethargy, anxiety, increased risk of stroke and autoimmune diseases, reduced attention span, weight loss, and kidney failure are just a few of the other physical side effects of cocaine. One Macalester student described it as, “like running ten miles with no training and feeling no pain, and then feeling it all afterwards.” Not to mention that cocaine is almost always cut with something else. Often it is caffeine, but there is no way of telling what it will be cut with, and the effects of the other substances can be very dangerous. I was curious why Mac students would choose to do cocaine, so I did a little research to find out. Cocaine creates a false reality when it’s used, and can make people feel invincible or feel the illusion of intellectual enhancement. It also makes you stay awake, which explains why people often use it to get work done quickly or to have short bursts of intellectual ambition. In reality, cocaine, Adderall and Ritalin might help you get your work done faster, but they aren’t going to increase your intellectual capacity or make you smarter. Other people do coke socially to have more fun, or to feel glamorous and excessive.Whatever the reason, the physical side effects are destructive, and using the drug is irresponsible. People at Macalester who use cocaine can be the same people who buy fair trade, eat organic and talk about equality, while still doing something that is more socially negligent than the things they are fighting against. Buying cocaine feeds into one of the most destructive industries in the world. Not only is it economically destructive, but it also subjects the people who make it to physical pain and destroys families. If you want to read more about this, you can check out an article written by our very own Anthropology professor Jack Weatherford, “Cocaine and the Economic Deterioration of Bolivia,” from Conformity and Conflict.Now that you can put your boyfriend’s cocaine use in some perspective, it will be easier to make a decision about your relationship. You need to be clear with him that you don’t want to do cocaine and that encouraging you to do so is selfish and irresponsible. If he is pressuring you to use, then you need to kick him to the curb. He is asking you to put yourself at risk so that he can feel better about his own use, and you don’t have to put up with it. If you think the relationship is salvageable, then you should talk to him about the problems of his use. Don’t be as self-righteous as I have been in this response, but open a dialogue with him and find out why he is doing cocaine and tell him how it affects your relationship. It might take only a little prompting for him to quit using. Be supportive of him while he tries to quit and understand that he might make mistakes along the way. It’s not easy to quit, especially with social pressures, so be aware of this and offer him encouragement. Whatever you do, don’t get so involved with his problems that they become yours. If he is using cocaine to relieve other stresses he could end up placing them on you instead. Don’t let yourself become the bearer of all of his burdens-quitting cocaine is his problem, not yours.If you ask him to quit and he won’t, dump him, SAS. Being in a relationship with a user is destructive and will ultimately take its toll on you. You deserve better than that.Have a question? Email or SPO?Hannah Wydeven!