Owning Your Sexuality

EvCC Students Speak About Their Sexuality


Savanna Eickerman

EvCC student Payton Knudson says, “High school was a time of testing the waters for most kids.”

It’s scribbled on the doors of bathroom stalls. It’s carved into desks. It’s passed through high school hallways in whispered tones. It grabs hold of reputations and rips them to shreds. It is used to shame women for their sexuality.

It is the word slut and the idea that girls can’t be sexual like boys are, and that virginity is a sign of worth and self-respect. This culture is prominent in a high school setting. Guys are celebrated for having sex; girls are treated like they have “whore” etched into their skin like the desks they sit at.

It is clear that a double standard exists, but does this harmful idea also extend its reach onto college campuses?

EvCC student Hailey Gribble thinks it does, but there is a slight improvement. “I don’t think women’s sexual experiences are even close to being talked about in the same way men’s are, but I think in college there is more awareness that women are sexual beings too, and that it’s not a bad thing,” she said.

Maturity also plays a role in it. The average age at EvCC is older than the age of high school attendees. In college people are focused on their education, not the sex life of their peers.

The culture of gossip and shaming is not as present when most people in college are trying to discover themselves and their passions. First quarter student Sheila Diep said, “In college you have this mature mindset that you’re in a transitional part of life, and you need to get your stuff together. The trivial stuff doesn’t matter.”

Savanna Eickerman
Payton Knudson is a second year photography student at EvCC.

This idea of a changed mindset in college is a recurring theme in student sentiments. Payton Knudson said, “High school was a time of testing the waters for most kids. As we split paths we go to new places and meet new people in a new phase of life. A phase where sexuality and sexual preferences are not as new of a topic as when we were younger.”

A double standard for virginity also deepens the divide on the topic of male and female sexuality. On Jan. 15, 2019 Men’s Health reported that out of 3,000 men, 26% of them reported feeling like they lost their virginity too soon.

EvCC sophomore Lucas Griffin said, “There was a lot of pressure in high school to have sex. It was almost like a race or competition between guys even though some people weren’t ready.”

For girls, virginity is preached as a standard for purity and worth, and for some families this means having daughters participate in Purity Balls. In 2015, BBC shared photographs of this tradition. In these balls the daughters pledge to stay virgins until marriage while the father’s vow to protect their chastity.

EvCC creates a sex-positive space with free condoms in Parks Student Union. When a school creates a safe space for sexual freedom, it lessens the slut-shaming culture that is present in high school.

EvCC eLearning Specialist Hannah Lovett said, “The students, staff and faculty were so instrumental in helping me grow, discover and accept who I am, including my pansexual identity. I knew that I wanted to come back here to work and help provide the same support for students that I had. Having supportive co-workers and working in an environment that has equity and inclusion as its focus makes all the difference.”

For many students college is a safe space for self-exploration, discovery and liberation. Student Drew Bourassa said, “Slut-shaming has no place in college. We own it now. We own our sexuality, and we will not be shamed for it.”