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What do Mindy Kaling’s new show and a dozen gingerbread muffins have in common? 

I finished them both in one sitting. 

In the heat of my final semester and the seasonal scaries that happen when it’s dark outside at 4 pm, “The Sex Lives of College Girls” filled a very big void in my life. 

With Kaling’s explicit aim to dismantle the typical tropes of college girldom, I was ready to be hypercritical of anything that stuck to the tired convention, but I was pleasantly surprised and glued to my tv. 

I was ecstatic that the show didn’t feel forced, but familiar. It felt affirming to have a show with sex in the title that didn’t solely focus on having sex. It’s a lot of navigating how to be intimate with others and becoming more aware of your sexuality, without being solely fixed on intense orgasms. Sure there’s some of that too, but its success is in the show's ability to showcase not only “banging sex” but the mortification and messiness of undergrad intimacy. At its core, its authenticity towards relationships, whether you’re having sex or not, is really refreshing. 

For a show so focused on self-discovery around sex and relationships, one of my only critiques is that for a show that mentions sex a lot there are very few mentions about how to do it safely. 

I know what you’re thinking: It’s a TV show. But let’s clear up a few things. 

My unofficial count recalls only two explicit mentions of contraception, both condoms, once from Leighton and the other from Alicia. Part of this could be demonstrating that Gen Z is on top of their sexual health, but particular moments in the show leave me doubtful of this. Aside from some sexual mishaps in the show, a larger point of contention is that no form of protection is shown when they’re actually having sex. 

My point, protecting yourself is truly sexy, and here are a few things I wish the women of Essex College knew.
First and foremost, I have four words: ALWAYS. PEE. AFTER. SEX. This is directly at Kimberly, arguably the most misguided of the group. Whitney calls her UTI a right of passage but this does not have to be the case! At the risk of exposing my college friends, we considered the UTI an inaugural experience and would stock our already rotting mini-fridges with cranberry juice and then mix it with vodka. Please, don’t do this. Make the walk to the communal bathroom and strut back knowing you’ve done your part. 

General advice for everyone on campus, get tested for STIs! I have a strong suspicion that everyone in the women’s center has information on where to get tested on campus, so why aren’t we talking about it? There’s an unnecessary and unfortunate stigma around sexually transmitted infections and if a TV show were to talk more openly about taking care of your sexual health I’d love it even more! 

Perhaps this one goes without saying but let’s use protection people! The show only mentioned condoms, and to my knowledge, never showed them actually being used during sex. One, the knowledge around condoms does no good if you’re not actually using them. Two, there are so many other forms of protection that could be better suited to some relationships. 

Next semester, I’m hoping the women have learned not only to have good sex, but most importantly how to have it safely. 

Tags: College, sexeducation, sexual_health_education