Does Sex Derail Or Create Relationships?

I remember my high school Prom...I spent the night dodging my date who was also my ex boyfriend at the time. Recently, I crashed a company Prom party as my friend Courtney’s plus one.

I wasn’t Courtney’s first choice as a date. She had secretly wanted to go with James, one of the good-looking associates who works in her firm. She and James had a one-night stand the weekend before, but hadn’t hung out since. We heard that he was at Prom, but we mysteriously didn’t run into him. Being on the receiving end of avoidance this time around made me wonder if Courtney had alienated herself by not holding out for Prom.

Once it was clear that Courtney wasn’t going to see any after-Prom action, a bigger issue was at hand: without James to supply our assumed crash pad, we didn't have a place to stay the night. So I did what any sensible single girl would do and I phoned my reliable male friend, Andy. Andy and I met in a Palo Alto bar almost two years ago and we have been on-off dating since then.

Andy and I dated for nine months before finally having sex. People have sex for different reasons: because we’re horny, needy, angry, in love, bored, obligated, and also occasionally because we need a place to sleep. Initially I slept with Andy because I was curious about what I was missing out on. After that we would hook up if I needed a bed in the city -- our sleeping arrangement was one designed for crashing convenience.

Andy’s hospitality saved Prom night. Courtney and I went home to the Nob Hill mansion he rented with 6 other twenty-something guys. The night’s events made me reflect; when had sex become something I did to get what I wanted and not something I did because I wanted someone?

I hadn’t given up on love, but I had given up on sex having anything to do with love. Even though the words sex and love are often used in conjunction with one another, and many times interchangeably, I couldn’t help but wonder if the two were related at all... if love was the end goal, what’s sex got to do with it?

As a typical Gen-Y girl juggling many goals and dreams, it’s challenging at times to understand where love and sex fit into my agenda. Growing up in the deep South I learned that in relationships, the desires of the body and heart were a package deal. After college, the two began to diverge. I found myself treating sex and love with indifference towards one another. Once good friends, the two entities now function separately -- it has been years since I had sex with someone I loved.

One of the first movies that resonated with me in college was “Wedding Crashers.” Despite being a predictable summer romcom, this kooky romance touches on relevant millennial themes. Rachel McAdam’s character’s ambivalent attitude toward marriage was one I feel many girls my age can relate to. She’s a twenty-something that is trying to figure out what she wants in life, and the pressure of being in a serious relationship isn’t helping her make decisions.

The film’s instant blockbuster success may give us clues into why Gen-Y struggles at times to reconcile our lifestyles with traditional expectations of love and sex. We’re not abandoning the ideas all together, but their application in our world carries different meaning than it did decades ago.

The final wedding scene when John asks Claire, “... I'm not standing here asking you to marry me, I'm just asking you not to marry him and maybe take a walk, take a chance,” accurately describes a point of view that some millennials may be embracing when seeking companionship. Perhaps our path to love doesn’t follow the traditional marriage trajectory... maybe a walk, and some adventure is what we’re looking for instead?

Once a gateway toward marriage, sex is now more of a pit stop along the way. Sometimes we may even change course and abandon the idea of commitment all together. More so, I notice women my age questioning what value sex adds to relationships.

The last guy I dated, David, wanted to have sex on our second date. I was adamant about holding out for a few more dates. When we finally did the deed, I wondered if I had spoiled our chances of a successful relationship by having sex too soon. As it turned out, we dated for a couple more months before eventually parting ways. In the end it was differing lifestyles that played the biggest part in the demise of our relationship, sex had nothing to do with it.

I recently starting dating Brad, a sports journalist from Napa County. On our first date I wasn’t sure about the potential for chemistry. After the second date, I am now more optimistic. We have similar lifestyles, he loves traveling, and works out regularly. However, without that attraction based on first impressions is it possible that we could sustain a long-term relationship?

I couldn’t tell if I wanted to see Brad again because I thought he was cool or because I thought he’d look good naked. In a perfect world, a companion would be someone that was as compatible in life as they were in the sack, but as young adults pursuing many positions outside the bedroom, was it realistic to expect a partner that would satisfy all our needs?

My friend Courtney was surprised by a call from James a week after Prom. He didn’t make plans to see her again, but instead wanted to know if she had moved to the city yet. Clearly he is more interested in hookup geo-proximity than getting closer emotionally. The chances of Courtney receiving more from James post-Prom aren’t promising, and as a result she’s moved on.

My reliable crash pad friend Andy texted me the weekend following Prom to see if I wanted to hang out. Although tempted, I decided to forgo a hookup with Andy for a second date with Brad. Even though I didn’t get laid over the weekend, I did finish my date feeling satisfied in other ways; sometimes it’s not always about sex either.

For myself, and millennial girls like me, sex and love may continue along perpendicular axes while we search for direction. My advice? Let the rest of the world worry about what it is we’re doing. Take chances in life and sometimes just take a walk. In everything, and everyone, you do -- no excuses. Play like a champion.

Wanderlex | Elite.