Sex and the University: The Lobster Effect

The new year has arrived, and some of our old leaves are back to where they were before as our New Year’s resolutions have fluttered away – much like our hearts with the anticipation or dread of Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re in a relationship, single, or seeing multiple people, you will all be aware of the many obligations that Valentine’s Day brings. Even the couples who say “we don’t do anything special, we just treat it as a normal day” are very much aware of the retail frenzy the day brings. If you somehow forget the date you’ll inevitably hear about it via friends, or through the Sky Movie selection. Or you can just look outside and see it on the streets, plastered on walls of shops, countless red hearts brushing against one another on banners. Basically, there is no escape.

The day itself not only celebrates the love that people share, but also the commitment that goes into shaping and growing that love, too. Without the commitment, there would be no love in the first place. I have multiple friends who are in relationships, and have been for many years, but I wonder – why is it that some people are better at harnessing commitment than others? It’s not all about compatibility, surely?

It’s not just romantic commitment that we think about. Over the last few weeks I have questioned more than ever what my aspirations are after I leave university in a year and a half – and with this looming question, many other issues in life that require commitment and decision-making have been brought to my attention. I wonder why I struggle to maintain a job for more than six months, juggle university and social life, maintain old friendships, check in on the family. I have, however, realised that I’m not the only one that is going through this – most of us have, at one point or another. But, how are some of us better at maintaining life in a controlled way? Why is it that some of us not only appreciate commitment, but crave it? Is it the security of having someone else in your bed when living in an area filled with robbery, the introduction to new bars, the constant sex and its upward spiral filled with new tricks (one should hope)?

So is everyone that is unable to be in a committed environment and relationship just more adaptable? My friend – whom I shall give the pseudonym Flute – and I discussed the idea of hopping from one relationship to the next, and how her and I shared this same tendency. She has been in a stable job during the whole of her time spent at university, and has had a relationship for most of that time as well. The time between her last break-up and her new relationship wasn’t long, and, not that I can judge, how is it that some of us can keep hopping from one relationship to the next, when others can only hop between the sheets or none at all? Our millennial generation believes that we are capable of anything in this world; we can have anything if we just work a little. So some of us might not appreciate commitment due to a desire of being desirable and being able – and available – to attain anyone. Maybe those who lack this ‘commitment gene’ at this age have been previously told to alter to suit their partner, been too heavily controlled, or maybe it just might be that some of us simply aren’t interested in what’s convenient, or settling for inadequacy, or a relationship that’s just ‘we’re great’. Some people want the lobster effect and pursue their list rather than just settling.

In reality we all want somebody, not just for Valentine’s Day. In the end, what people forget to tell us is that while we are all growing, some of us have joined at the hip, and the rest of us are still brushing alongside people that could be the Romeo to our Juliet. So when it happens to be that you find yourself, time and time again, after giving all of yourself and being left by someone who is unable to make a commitment, what needs to be thought of isn’t that you were inadequate, that both of you are commitment-phobes, but that it wasn’t the ideal and it didn’t create the za-za-zoo within you both. Yes, while some of us are able to overcome the challenge that nothing starts with an abundance of butterflies, others run at the sign of a serious obligation to another.

We have taken the romance out of the chase – nobody likes mind games. The immediacy of the final destination of sex has made some people forget the real way of getting to know somebody, and not just get under their clothes. With zero obligations there is no need for charm and manners, and many of us just want to plant the seed we have forgotten, perhaps see what it truly feels like to grow on somebody. Is it that we see no point as we get what we want by the end of the night, or because we’re too reluctant to enter commitment? Or is it because we already know they’re not the one for us, or because we’re unsure of how the other feels?

We are in a world where everything is near, or thereabouts, at an easy reach. Maybe not the dream job, unfortunately, but we are able to watch our favourite television series with no breaks on Netflix and to stream the latest albums without the purchase of the real record. Even a potential partner is just the swipe of a finger away. We have adapted ourselves, our brains, and our bodies to being thrown into immediate action. There is no more hunt or trial period in searching for someone, or attempts to see if the other is simply whiling, or wants to actually date you – you are finding yourself and those around you no longer providing the game. However, the game can be childish and can be easily misconstrued. Basically, what I am trying to discuss here is the fact that people no longer feel the need to make much of an effort with someone else as they once did.


So maybe, if you were unable to turn over a new leaf over the New Year, then this is the holiday that is right for creating a change in you. Whether it’s overcoming being a commitment-phobe or being less controlling in a relationship, we can all give a little more love while we hop along this year.

Charlotte Dean


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