Tag Archive: relationships

I readily admit that I have always been one of the more dubious, skeptical types when it came to Valentine’s Day. I never quite understood the thought process behind such trivial and often, frivolous gestures for expressing love. However, a recent conversation with a friend of mine deeply challenged my views on Valentine’s Day. He shared with me that in other languages, there existed nearly forty ways of expressing the word, love, while for us English speakers, we were left with only one word. A thought then dawned upon me: I began wondering about how limited and narrow our perception and definition of love must be with only one word to represent all the various types and manifestations love can take. I propose for a more diverse and open interpretation to the many forms of love.

I am sure that I have not been the first to point out the limitations of using only one word to express love. I propose that rather than view Valentine’s Day from such a narrow definition of love, we instead take this opportunity to celebrate all the wonderful ways of expressing love. Whether that love be the nostalgia of one’s first crush to cherishing the company of good friends to treating yourself out to a manicure, take this Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to celebrate the infinite facets of an emotion that goes beyond our one word for expressing love.

As an individual who identifies as gay, I know that I will allow myself, for the first time, to celebrate the nostalgia of my very first crush and how wonderful it felt. The word love in its traditional meaning evokes too strong of an emotion that cannot adequately express how much I enjoyed having my first crush on a guy, and I cannot help but use this Valentine’s Day as a moment to contemplate the wonder behind the feelings of how real and affirming it felt. Who knew how empowering celebrating Valentine’s Day could be? I know that for me it will be a celebration of the deep friendships that I have developed over the course of my college journey as well as how far I have come towards loving myself. For Valentine’s Day, I hope that each of you will find something worth celebrating for-I challenge each of you to expand the definition of love beyond the traditional sense to all the many shapes and forms it can take. Happy Valentine’s Day!

-Michael Lau

Practicing Safer Sex at UNC

Prominent sexual activist Sue Johanson does not promote safe sex, but she does promote safer sex.

Johanson, also known as the Sex Lady, is considered North America’s foremost sexual educator and counselor. Johanson led a discussion on sex for UNC-Chapel Hill students in Memorial Hall on Tuesday evening as a part of her college-university tour.

Johanson, a registered nurse who turned 78 this July, has played a vital role in reaching youth all across the U.S. that have unanswered questions about sex. Sue’s guidance, while extremely honest and uncensored, expressed a very strong message to students: they need to be informed and comfortable talking about sex.

Johanson stressed that safe sex, does not really exist unless you’re pleasuring yourself or not having sex at all. Practicing safer sex is not just a choice; it is a requirement for any and everyone having or considering sex.

Johanson has provided thorough sexual education through her lectures, radio programs and television programs for over the past 35 years. She is most well-known for the “Sunday Night Sex Show,” a live phone-in program on the Oxygen TV network.

Tuesday’s discussion was co-sponsored by The Carolina V-Day Initiative, a week of entertaining and informative events for UNC-CH students in which all donations benefit the Orange County Rape Crisis Center. The Center aspires to be part of the movement to end all forms of sexual violence by offering members of the Chapel Hill community free support and therapy after rape trauma.

Johanson’s charismatic personality and obvious interest in sex kept students interested in what she had to say. The most important issue Johanson stressed was safety.

“There’s so much you need to know about sex. Don’t let sex just happen,” Johanson said.

Johanson openly discussed generally socially taboo topics like female orgasms, anal sex, oral pleasure and her thoughts on the best sex toy for financially struggling college students.

Many students at UNC-CH are having sex, but do not have enough information to fully pleasure themselves or their partners. Johanson informed students how to reach optimum pleasure during sex while still being safe.

Opponents of the discussion are appalled with the openness of the topics and the degree to which the topics were addressed. However, this type of sexual education is about developing young people’s skills so that they make informed choices about their behavior, and feel confident and competent about acting on these choices.

More and more college students are participating in casual sex with either the same or multiple partners. Johanson’s guidance should influence students to familiarize themselves with their partners, encouraging each other to get tested regularly.

We live in an environment where sex is thought about constantly: how to get it, where to get it, and whom to have it with; we need to know not only know how to protect ourselves but how to enjoy ourselves.

Johanson provided us with the information to do both.

By Alyssa Griffith

How to overcome the inconvenience of distance

Who would want a boyfriend that they never get to see? Why would anyone stay in a relationship that primarily exists over the phone? What person in his right mind would date someone living in another state?

Unfortunately, I am that person. I have been in a long-distance relationship for about two years. I love my boyfriend, but our circumstances are far from ideal and not ones in which I ever thought I would find myself.

I was first attracted to my now-boyfriend in high school, but since he would be leaving for UNC-Chapel Hill as I started my senior year, we carefully avoided anything serious. I had always sworn against dating a college boy when I was in high school, but this attraction was evidently unstoppable.

By his 2nd semester, we were officially dating. UNC-CH had always been my college of choice, but before I was even accepted, my boyfriend’s band decided to move to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue a record deal.

I planned on a break-up when he left for Nashville in May—dating someone in a different state was stupid! That didn’t happen. I then planned on breaking up when I started school at the end of summer—why would I want a boyfriend during college? That didn’t happen either.

Now, in my sophomore year, I’m in that same long-distance relationship. Naturally, I have lots of unwanted experience, and am the go-to girl for long-distance advice among my friends. Long-distance is tough, but not impossible.

Heed my advice to overcome obstacles of trust, money and communication, and your relationship can work no matter where your significant other lives.

Trust: if your trust department is lacking, end it. Trust is the foundation of long-distance relationships. If you fearfully question what your girlfriend might do when tipsy, you will have problems. Likewise, if you can’t handle a month without smooching, long-distance is not for you. Trust is not easy. It’s a day-to-day task. However, when your boyfriend is doing God-knows-what in a different area code, it’s a necessity.

Money: long-distance relationships require it. My boyfriend lives 500 miles away. Gas is expensive. I’m a poor college student. Not a good combination. I’ve thought about marrying a rich man so I can afford to see my boyfriend, but strangely, he has a problem with that. So until his band hits the big time, I save every penny I get. The key is frugality. Be easy on the Gumby’s, learn to love microwaveable noodles and shop the clearance racks—or go another month with no smooches!

Communication: get used to a cell phone on your ear. Never seeing each other is compensated by communication. Lots of it. And not just on the phone. Get creative. Play online games— seriously, it’s fun. Buy webcams. Send cards— guys, you may think this will emasculate you (as does my boyfriend), but Hallmark can easily make your girlfriend’s week (and maybe even get you a little something extra on the webcam. Wink, wink). This is 2007. There are about 1,000 different ways to communicate; in a long distance relationship, I suggest you use all 1000.

Long-distance relationships are not chosen. They require hard work, patience and determination. Nevertheless, for every argument over some Nashville skank posting on my boyfriend’s Facebook wall, every emotional “goodbye” and each expensive gallon of gas, I get cuddles and kisses that are more valuable simply because they are scarce.

By Casey Welch