Changing the Narrative

You know how you believed that going to college meant you would be married to your soulmate by 21?

No? Okay.

Well, that’s the story they told me — sold to me. The AUCC (Atlanta University Center Consortium) is the largest consortium of Black colleges in the world and so I believed that my husband had to be around the corner from my freshman dorm.

My Story to Change the Narrative

Now, I won’t say I was wrong because I’m only 24, and this world is full of fun surprises. My husband may be a Morehouse or Clark man. We just haven’t crossed paths yet. Actually, I didn’t cross paths with many young eligible bachelors during my time at Spelman. I kept to myself mostly; also, I wasn’t the kind of person to go out to parties very much and neither was my freshman group of friends.

I came to college with a boyfriend of two years, not as a virgin, and our breakup wasn’t anything to lose sleepover. It happened, I cried, and I moved forward leaning into the support of my Morehouse brothers. One of my Morehouse brothers suggested that I just enter my “hoe phase” after the breakup. If you’re unfamiliar with what the “hoe phase” is — it’s a very outdated way of saying “just start having more casual sex.”

And I did. I started having more casual sex and was enjoying myself, but I wasn’t fulfilled. I thought living out almost every fantasy would make me happier — it just felt like the thing to do. So I agreed to this social contract of casual sex, situationships, and lackadaisical dating practices. Don’t get me wrong, you had to take me out to dinner first, but the magic sort of ended there. Maybe that’s college? Or maybe it’s conditioning. After bagging my favorite Que, Alpha, A Doctor, and a single dad, I felt something was missing.

What Shifted For Me

I missed having a partner, someone to depend on, and share with. My experiences with casual sex in college were lackluster. The men I was sleeping with were nice enough, took me on dates, and a few of them I considered friends at the time. And they were all having sex with other women. Some told me beforehand and others I just had to find out about it. As a sexually monogamous person, I would be dating multiple men but only have sex with one.

At 19, I was okay with the man I was being sexually monogamous with having sex with other women because we weren’t in a committed monogamous romantic relationship. We knew what it was, feel me? I have never been okay with a man withholding that information from me. And it was experiencing that kind of betrayal that shifted my entire perspective on sex, relationships, and communication.

I was approaching my 20th birthday, and the man I was dating, who had agreed to be in a sexually monogamous relationship with, was lying to me. I found out the way we all do, so I became the FBI. As I scrolled through images of him and his other girlfriend, I knew at that moment I did not want to engage in casual sex anymore. Entering my junior year, I had made that choice. I was practicing abstinence in the AUC and being loud about it.

Every man I was dating, at the time, saw my abstinence as a personal challenge — which was annoying and expected. I left abstinence for a few months when I found someone I wanted to share the experience of sex with again. When we ended our sexual relationship, I entered abstinence again and have remained abstinent for the last four years. I simply changed my mind.

Know the Decision Is Always Yours

You can always change your mind. I started having sex at 18 years old and stopped at 21. I’ll be 25 in February, and I’m so grateful to have made this decision. It began as one made in response to pain and has now evolved into one of spiritual awakening. Abstaining from sex, in your 20s isn’t easy, and starting in college doesn’t make it easier. This choice has transformed my life; learning how to transmute my sexual energy has taken me places that I know I would not have arrived at as quickly as I have. It’s a true vow. I’ve made a vow to myself to return to myself; to be unrelenting in the love I provide for myself.