Students are Sex-Crazed

Are You a Slag?

“You slaaag” is one heckle no one ever wants to hear. “Slag” and “man-whore” are words which are thrown around campus more than discarded cigarette butts and crumpled flyers. Leeds Metropolitan students apparently rack up a total of 9.4 sexual partners each (studentbeans.com), and although the University of Leeds ranks at a respectable 6.3, there are definite signs that the Leeds water is infected with something, be it sexually transmitted or not.

It goes without saying that it tends to be something stronger than water which proves to be the downfall of us all. Alcohol is an obvious major contributing factor to the diminishment of the lovely girl-next-door into the Beyoncé-sized booty-caller; but ten WKD’s aside, what is it about student life which is such an aphrodisiac?

Sex During Fresher’s Week

42% of prospective students (cosmopolitan.co.uk) see that exciting first Fresher’s week as an excuse to screw anything that breathes – and even the benefit of respiration doesn’t appear to be all that important. The mental and physical freedom from the family home quickly and recklessly develops into an increasing sense of sexual freedom, and bingo:“copulation ahoy”.

Sex at Oxbridge

Anonymous blogger sexatoxbridge.com has over one thousand followers on her website. She crudely and honestly relates the stories of her sex life at university, including the less glamorous awkward conversations before and after.

While reading through her posts the true experience of sex at university is told, warts and all. And other than the blatant amusement which comes with confessing the true topic of her blog to the unsuspecting guy she’s just slept with, you’re just left with one thought floating around in your head:

Why do we do it?

Nadia*, a 20 year old student from Leeds reveals why the notches on her bedpost have practically doubled since starting at university two years ago:

“Sex is just a huge part of the uni culture. And whereas ‘slag’ is a looser term at university than it is at home, one girl in my halls threw a party when she hit the 50 person mark… Now that is a slag!”

So if you’re starting to panic that your bedroom may need a revolving door installed, don’t worry – as long as you don’t have to buy your ‘number’ a golden anniversary present, I think you’re doing fine.

Are You a Slag?

“You slaaag” is one heckle no one ever wants to hear. “Slag” and “man-whore” are words which are thrown around campus more than discarded cigarette butts and crumpled flyers. Leeds Metropolitan students apparently rack up a total of 9.4 sexual partners each (studentbeans.com), and although the University of Leeds ranks at a respectable 6.3, there are definite signs that the Leeds water is infected with something, be it sexually transmitted or not.

It goes without saying that it tends to be something stronger than water which proves to be the downfall of us all. Alcohol is an obvious major contributing factor to the diminishment of the lovely girl-next-door into the Beyoncé-sized booty-caller; but ten WKD’s aside, what is it about student life which is such an aphrodisiac?

Sex During Fresher’s Week

42% of prospective students (cosmopolitan.co.uk) see that exciting first Fresher’s week as an excuse to screw anything that breathes – and even the benefit of respiration doesn’t appear to be all that important. The mental and physical freedom from the family home quickly and recklessly develops into an increasing sense of sexual freedom, and bingo:“copulation ahoy”.

Sex at Oxbridge

Anonymous blogger sexatoxbridge.com has over one thousand followers on her website. She crudely and honestly relates the stories of her sex life at university, including the less glamorous awkward conversations before and after.

While reading through her posts the true experience of sex at university is told, warts and all. And other than the blatant amusement which comes with confessing the true topic of her blog to the unsuspecting guy she’s just slept with, you’re just left with one thought floating around in your head:

Why do we do it?

Nadia*, a 20 year old student from Leeds reveals why the notches on her bedpost have practically doubled since starting at university two years ago:

“Sex is just a huge part of the uni culture. And whereas ‘slag’ is a looser term at university than it is at home, one girl in my halls threw a party when she hit the 50 person mark… Now that is a slag!”

So if you’re starting to panic that your bedroom may need a revolving door installed, don’t worry – as long as you don’t have to buy your ‘number’ a golden anniversary present, I think you’re doing fine.

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Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus

This famous saying has been immortalised by a self-help book and by people everywhere who are looking for an excuse for their stereotypical behaviour. Women like a clean house, make-up and honesty? “They’re from Venus.” Men enjoy beer, sex and computer games? “Well, say no more: that’s all the characteristics of a Mars resident…” But now we’ve reached the 21st century there is a very strong and reasonable argument that these differentiations are no longer relevant. Then again, maybe people should question whether they were ever truly viable in a world where gender has stopped being the defining element of an individual – and personality has, quite rightly, taken over.

The whole metaphor is for one, obviously scientifically incorrect. But even the cold, hard fact that the two planets are hundreds of thousands kilometres apart is no longer representative of the male and the female counterparts of our species. Back when you could buy a house for the price of a modern car, and a pint of beer was cheaper than chocolate, men were assumed to be the career-driven ones: the trouser-suit and brogue-wearing half of the marriage. Women were never asked if they wanted to wear anything other than a dress, or whether they wanted to spend their lives ensuring their husband’s dinner was on the table ready for his arrival. As a result of this domestic order, men became dominant – they were men’s men, and they clearly had to be excused from their masculinity by picking a red-hot, fiery planet to compare themselves to. But thankfully, women are now making a comeback: and Venus is gradually heating up to equal Mars.

And that, summed up simply, is the importance of diminishing the use of this feeble excuse: equality. University has enabled girls to socialise with men freely in whichever way they choose and this freedom has paved the way for twenty-first century women as a whole. I was once (brace yourselves) given a copy of the so-titled Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus book by an ex-boyfriend. This wasn’t an act of good-will, but rather a present to explain why he often acted like an idiot. While flicking through the pages I realised that none of the jargon was mutually exclusive to a specific sex. The tie between genders and their stereotypes has long been loosened and we can no longer predict personality based on genitals. Women are increasingly mirroring male attitudes towards relationships, careers and sex – sometimes leading to surprising revelations. The latest government figures show a rapid increase in the number of young girls using the morning-after pill as regular contraception; figures which surely represent the developing casual attitudes of we women. It is no longer just ‘lads about town’ who tend to show signs of commitment-phobia; girls now too avoid being ‘tied’ down, embracing their new-found sexual freedom with the enthusiasm that men have exuded for many centuries.

But with an increased awareness of sexuality come new expectations in relationships. It is no longer just the man who can play away; nor is it the man who controls and influences the progress of the partnership. Girls can be the equal cause of any fall-outs, just the same as guys are able to brandish a spatula and get hot in the kitchen. So next time you hear “Well y’know – men are from Mars, women are from Venus” as an excuse for anything – just walk away. Men may resemble “elastic bands”, but if they start to stretch too far, snap the elasticity and make sure that they won’t be returning. We’re not, after all, in the 1950’s anymore.

Viva Forever

Viva Forever: Can we really thank the Spice Girls for female empowerment?

If you haven’t heard of the Spice Girls then you’re either under the age of ten or you lived under a rock for the duration of the 1990’s. The all-girl band took the world by storm with their ‘girl power’ inspired lyrics, their very individual identities and their high-profile romances. This week tickets have been released into the ether for Viva Forever; the new Spice Girls west-end musical and extravaganza. Creator, writer and all-round inspirational woman Jennifer Saunders has confirmed that the show will focus on friendship, ambition and female empowerment: exactly what the Spice Girls stood for. But how far did the Spice Girls truly inspire us girls to become who we are today? Were they just a successful girl band, or did they really influence a whole generation of nineties kids to be who they ‘wannabe’?

For four long years the Spice Girls dominated the British, American and even the South African chart. They met Nelson Mandela; a strange collaboration if there ever was one, and performed at the MTV Music Awards. They had three Christmas number ones, sold 75 million records worldwide and had nine UK number one’s under their belts. Not an easy feat. Their success catapulted them into superstardom and every girl under the age of thirteen wanted to meet them or even be them: there were hoards of friends arguing to be Baby Spice when dressing up, and many refusing to be ‘the ginger one’. Young children are oh-so sensitive. With five completely different girls colliding to produce what was the all-time record-breaking girl band, it was proved that if we members of the fairer sex joined and worked together we could take over the world: with simplicity.

The recognisable images of the five individual girls were heavily marketed allowing the band to be accessible and appealing to all children: be it the tom-boy, the pink-lover or the union-jack dress-wearer. It is therefore this idea that anyone from any back ground with any hair colour could sweep the world off its axis and be successful – especially if that person has a vagina.

Female empowerment has been uprising all through the new millennium. In fact ever since we’ve been able to vote, work and wear trousers there’s been no stopping us. In the past decade alone we have seen a substantial increase in the number of women doctors, lawyers and yes – even writers. We no longer need to feel guilty for our ambitions, and there’s no need for a male pseudonym in order to announce our opinions. Before the Spice Girls there was a significant male dominance not just in the music charts, but also in our country. The nineties saw a male prime minister, an overwhelming number of male journalists and many male broadcasters; there was a very limited female voice. And that’s where the Spice Girls shone.

The Beatles had already persuaded the mass population to ‘Let it Be’ and that all anyone needs is love; Oasis had created anthem after anthem while Blur tried to push them and their Manchurian tones off the chart ladder. The Spice Girls modernised and feminised the male message with their own choreographed songs. With inspirational lyrics such as “Be a little wiser baby, put it on, put it on / ‘Cause tonight is the night two become one”, it may be questionable to some, how exactly the music these five girls sang to the globe caused them to become so successful; but, it spoke to the masses. After all, who doesn’t love contraception advice which doubles as a love song?

Truthfully the Spice Girls were much more than just music. If they were a newly launched band today then their success wouldn’t be nearly as ensured: as the attempted comeback by them, Blue and Steps proved. They were in no way musical geniuses but their music just may well still be around in fifty years time. Especially if Viva Forever reaches the same heights as the band. The Spice Girls owe their success to a strong image and a determined message. They were five young girls who were just embarking on their lives; they were different and individual and they promoted girl power regardless of whether they always followed their own lyrical mottos. Yes, someone cynical – but definitely not me, could argue that the fact all five ended up married with children isn’t very revolutionary or feminist; but then I would just ask them one question…

What would you do if David Beckham proposed?

That’s what I thought. ‘Viva Forever’ girls, ‘Viva Forever’.

 

The Digital Age

Dominance of the Digital Music Age

My imagination tends to go a bit overboard when I imagine a die-hard music fan. In fact, it practically boils splutters and overflows with scenes of said die-hard music fan lying prostrate on a bed, barely visible through thick clouds of smoke nodding his head in time to the crackling vinyl rotating away in the corner. The vinyl of course would have been searched for, hunted down and finally discovered in the deep, dark aisles of a back-street record shop; making that the best purchase of die-hard music fan’s life and completing a much-loved and cherished collection. A bit idealised I hear you say? Well, you’re possibly right. A person’s music collection, whether you are a die-hard music fan (and I do know one or two) or just a dabbler and appreciator of good music, has developed and progressed from a physical stack of records, cassettes and C.D’s, to just a long list of text on your nearest digital screen. But is this a ‘STEP’ in the right ‘DIRECTION’? Sorry, terrible pop references there…

Digital music is undoubtedly a convenience. Frankly, our generation has a huge advantage over the generation of our grandparents or even our parents. We can do our food shopping, cry at our over-drawn bank accounts, decide we don’t care and download a few albums in the space of an hour without even leaving our sofas. We don’t need to trudge all the way down to the shops and we don’t have to fight the summer monsoon just to be able to buy and listen to the song we’ve had in our heads for the past week. In fact, no one can judge or witness our shame when we press the ‘Download’ button next to Carly Rae Jepson’s Call Me Maybe subsequently pushing her towards the number one spot. That is – no one need know until you write a confession in an article… Good one Jess. I’ve experienced the eyes of judgement looking down on me from behind the tills at a music shop, and it’s not pleasant. You try to laugh it off, perhaps even lie with the classic: ‘do you do gift wrapping? It’s for my mum…” but you know they know. So sometimes the non-judgemental confirmation message from iTunes is just the respite from human contact that you need. And suddenly the popularity of downloading music makes sense.

The downside of digital convenience is of course unreliability. In just five minutes your laptop could decide it’s had enough of life and shut itself down from your relentless typing, scrolling and downloading, taking with it your entire music collection. Then what? You’re faced with a whole lot of technological-garble that only Bill Gates could understand and it’s impossible to try and salvage your music library. There goes convenience right out of the window hand in hand with your money, and in flies HMV and Fopp to take its place. The truth of the matter is there will always be a need for physical music. People will always want to buy a hard-copy of their favourite album be it in C.D or record format and they will always be showing off their collection to like-minded friends. An impressive gathering of Pink Floyd, The Smiths and Ray Charles is a physical parallel to being able to speak three languages – fluently. It shows appreciation, varied tastes and intelligence which just isn’t showcased through a digital list. There’s just something about a touchable, tangible music collection which appreciates bragging in ways which aren’t the same flicking through an iPod; perhaps it’s the ability to wave a rare special edition in your friend’s face while doing a funny dance… I don’t know.  And so asking whether there’s a need or space for a music store on the high street is like asking whether a pub is necessary in a Student Union. It’s fundamental.

A record shop serves as a place of discovery for all of us music explorers. It’s escapism: a dark, dingy and loud room where every album we could possibly want today, tomorrow or even yesterday sits waiting patiently. In amongst the dusty racks of C.D’s and records we are safe from the unrelenting approach of the digital age and we can fool ourselves into thinking we’re saving music from the lazy, unreliable devil. But of course we’re not, nor can we. Buying music from a physical shop is like turning your T.V. to analogue for a few short minutes. You’re full of hope and nostalgia but it’s futile and it’s pointless. Digital has won and will continue to dominate our lives. And yet we’re still fuelled by hope for and the principle of, music.

 

Long Live the Queen

1952. A year which is a part of Britain’s not-so-historic history and yet a year which seems a complete life-time away from 2012. And in some ways it is. Since 1952 we as a country have seen wars, a recession and some very worrying music periods (take the Cheeky Girls, Aqua and S Club Juniors for example). This first weekend in June we celebrate six decades since the 25 year old Queen was crowned. And while we all party on in true aristocratic style with regal cucumber sandwiches and tacky Union Jack bunting I believe we should sit back content and full of British pride.

Liz has served our country for all of these sixty years with no hesitation and no word of “I’m tired, I think I’ll retire to Spain now”. While sat on her throne, and not the flushable porcelain variety, she has witnessed significant changes in technology and science, politics and in the world itself. Not to mention the rise and fall of many reality ‘celebrities’ – most of which I’m sure she wishes she never had to meet at yet another Variety Performance; a feeling I’m sure we all appreciate. Throughout all of the change she has remained the one constant in a life of blur. Always there, in a hat and with a smile, Lizzie (I might be taking liberties with the name now…) has reassured and calmed the population of the British Isles that all will work out eventually. After all, she helped and guided us through the Tony Blair years. If there’s anything to sway you into loving her it should be that.

The Royal Family has seen a huge popularity increase over the years and more and more members of our generation are starting to appreciate the Queen as a person and as a monarch. As rulers go, she has been pretty awesome. She hasn’t, unlike her ancestors been over-zealous with her beheading, she hasn’t decided to run off with a divorcee (Prince Charles had that covered) nor has she caused a civil war. Life with our old Queenie has been indisputably relaxed, peaceful, and well – classy. Not unlike the Queen herself.  When addressing crowds, accepting flowers from children and giving us our annual Christmas greeting, she emulates a loving ‘Grandmother’ quality which makes even the most sceptical republicans want to welcome her into their home.  But of course we can’t – and that reserved, untouchable barrier between monarch and we mere commoners only serves to emphasise her brilliancy as a ruler. Who wants to spot a British Queen pushing a trolley around her local supermarket? Sure, we love to see Kate being the perfect newly-wed housewife, but from the Queen we expect tradition and we do not expect her to be squeezing melons in Waitrose. Her recognition of what makes a British Queen pushes forward patriotism and encourages us to love our country.

Liz is 86 years old. And yet she is completely in touch with Britain in the 21st-Century and knows what we, as a younger and future generation need, want and how we work. She has, reportedly, embraced social networking, she owns a mobile and she meets, speaks to and smiles at hundreds of people a week. Also if what we hear on the television is to be believed our Queen can knock back a few alcoholic beverages too, even donning the dance floor of a top London night-club at the age of seventy. It was a private party and her fellow revellers were all pensioners too, but you’ve got to appreciate her get-up-and-go. The truth of the matter is, ol’ Liz is not as out-of-touch as you may believe. For a woman who has a grand total of fifty-four countries under her belt, she has no other choice than to constantly reinvent herself, the face of the monarchy and the Commonwealth as a whole. With Prince Philip by her side (probably whispering some wise-crack in her ear) she has travelled around the world countless times, acting as the perfect ambassador for us British. And we get to reap the rewards. The world suddenly becomes a lot smaller – countries are welcoming to backpackers and their different and exciting cultures begin to emerge within our own little island. We are able to enjoy Indian food, African literature and holidays in Barbados. Why? Because of our Queen of course.The Queen is quintessentially British. She is basically the only thing the American’s envy about us. Our economy is down the drain, Scotland wants independence and our weather is terrible but darn it – we have the Queen. She is everywhere in our lives: in our purses, on our letters and thanks to good old Gary Barlow, on our radios.

It’s time to embrace her, to love her and to be proud of her. And this weekend I will definitely be singing, probably out of tune, ‘God Save the Queen’.

 

Spotted: Clint Eastwood Staggering in Sainsbury’s

As exams come to an end and the sun is shining down on us all (miraculously – Hallelujah!) students begin to flock en masse from their dark, dingy, revision-associated bedrooms and out into the full glare of the day. Beer gardens come to resemble drug-fuelled hallucinations as we in Leeds take the opportunity to spend long hours dressed up in various outlandish costumes staggering our way through the Otley Run. Finally forgetting all memories of deadlines, exams (and the first pub) we don’t care what we’re wearing, what we look like or in my case, what we’re saying. My own thrown-together fancy dress concoction resembled an outfit which no one in their right mind would wear but worryingly is available for all in a shop near you… That’s Primark for you ladies and gents. Our freedom to sunbathe means Woodhouse Park is absolutely crammed all day every day and you can almost hear the tuts of the locals as BBQ’s, loud music and lots of laughter mingles into the Leeds evening atmosphere.

The city, particularly Leeds (but then I’m admittedly biased) is a great place to live and explore when you have no commitments and the weather is fantastic. But students tend to make plans all the way back in December for those four long glorious months we’re given as freedom and respite (we need something to motivate us after all) and diaries are full with travel plans, work hours and excursions with friends. So it’s inevitable that one by one the last empty bottle of Koppaberg will be thrown away, the car will be loaded to bursting point and the roads will be full of arms waving from windows as we all say goodbye to our second home until September…

But what happens to that park, those streets and our local pub when our backs are turned?

Personally I imagine student towns and cities as an old black and white ‘Country and Western’ film when all the students leave. You know – deserted bars with the wooden saloon doors hanging off by the hinges, tumbleweed blowing down the road and if you listen really carefully the sound of the wind blowing through and around the empty buildings. Perhaps if you’re lucky you might even spot Clint Eastwood hanging around Hyde Park Sainsbury’s… Of course the reality is far less amusing and entertaining but what can I say – my imagination is a fun place to live. 

I was in Leeds for a weekend last summer and as I got the taxi to the train station (I was feeling particularly flush that day) the driver started to strike up a conversation. This is a rare occurrence at the best of times so as I tried to forget about the banging hangover I was suffering from I took advantage and asked him what Leeds is like over the summer months. I was curious – and I needed the distraction. His answer? “Dead”. He was a straight to the point kind of guy. Just when I thought that was it, he continued: “Quiet. It’s nice. No queues in pubs and less loud music. Not so good for business though”. And just like that the unnamed taxi driver has summed up the advantages and the disadvantages of staying in your university city over the summer.

If what you enjoy is a quiet friend in a bar or pub with your friends, meeting locals and looking around the shops while 50% of the city’s population have gone home then staying at university over the summer could be for you. If you’re worrying about the number of people around then don’t. The clubs aren’t going to be deserted – especially not in cities. Thankfully for us there are many young professional locals hanging around who wear a suit every day and can afford to buy you drinks all night (what better reason to stay could I possible give you?) Summer in big towns and cities are full of exciting events, probably far more exciting than anything occurring in your home town. Leeds alone is kicking off the season of festivities with a big Jubilee celebration. This followed by Olympic inspired events, the notorious Leeds Festival and the promise of blue skies it seems like there’s nowhere better to be than your own student pad. So instead of running from it, embrace it. Hold your university city close to you like you’re never going to let it go. I can promise you it will reward you with many, many memorable summer days and nights… And maybe Clint Eastwood.

Think it. Don’t Say it.

I would like to try a little magic trick – bear with me. I’m going to admit to three non-groundbreaking things and then I’m going to predict what you are all thinking of me. Ok, ready? Here goes…

  1. My all-time favourite bands are, with no hesitation Coldplay and Mumford & Sons.
  2. I’d rather wear flats on a night out than heels.
  3. I actually don’t mind a Friday night in watching Graham Norton and Alan Carr.

Now, here’s the magic part.

You are all thinking one thing: Jess is boring.

Am I right?

I completely understand why you would think that. After all if someone told me they listened to Bob Dylan I would instantly be classing them under my: ‘Don’t bring up war, feminism or politics’ category of friends. And then if they confessed they were still living at home with their parents I would picture them sitting in their basement bedroom, quietly strumming away on their sticker-crowded guitar surrounded by wisps of smoke from their smouldering spliff. It’s probably miles away from the truth (and by the sounds of it my imagination is stuck in the 1960’s), but as a competitive human race we are constantly forming instant judgements of the people we meet.

Yesterday I was in London – the city where everyone is supposed to be invisible, or if not invisible, free to be individual. However I lost count of the number of times I walked past teenage girls scanning me up and down with a strange look on their face. I wasn’t wearing a clown’s outfit, I didn’t have toilet paper stuck to my shoe and I definitely would have noticed if my flies were undone… It was a breezy day. I was as normal as them – just with a smile on my face. They may have been wondering where my shoes were from or they may have been merely staring into space. But truthfully, in the manner of females everywhere, they were probably judging me based on my appearance. Frankly if they didn’t like me because of the clothes I was wearing it’s a good job they don’t know about my music tastes, my aversion to high shoes or my Friday night antics.

Human nature means we judge quickly. Perhaps it’s something to do with when we were all living in caves and didn’t have a very long life expectancy. The men had to decide which animal to hunt, which female to copulate with and how to invent the wheel. Fast. This quickness to decide taste, beauty (and malleability of rocks) has been, as determined by my amazing scientific calculations, passed on through generations. Natural selection if you will. And obviously, we can blame the men. After all, this impressionable mind began with them.

However, judgement is usually stopped in its tracks by decency. In other words, we never actually say what we’re thinking. If you’re thinking Coldplay are dire and dreary you would probably compromise with admitting ‘Paradise isn’t too bad I s’pose’. It’s the same with boyfriends never admitting to the size of their girlfriend’s backside in their favourite dress, or we girls telling our closest guy friend that the shirt he is wearing is sure to ‘attract the ladies’ (if my bloke friends are reading this – I’m not talking about you). Our brains may be quick to judge but our mouths aren’t so keen to follow suit. But then, perhaps that’s not such a bad thing. For the sake of survival (y’know, avoiding vengeful murders and the like) it’s probably best that we avoid voicing our judgements. So next time you meet a Coldplay-loving, flat shoe-wearing, Friday night home-dwelling person – think it. Don’t say it.