Last year, I wrote about how dating culture has been replaced by hookup culture, and if my views have changed since then, it is only because they have further solidified. My goal for my column this year is to focus on anecdotes, and then to zoom out to show general trends. It is my hope that you will find these anecdotes of some use. If not, feel free to express your rage at me on The Hoya’s website and various social media outlets.

Let’s start with a popular game for our generation: 10 Fingers. Everyone in our demographic should have encountered this game by now, but just in case you have been living under a rock, here’s a description. Ten Fingers is a game in which players go around in a circle and take turns holding up their fingers and saying, “Never have I ever _______.” Anyone who has done said activity then has to put his finger down, and the first person to put down all 10 fingers “wins.”

Anyone who has been to a party where this is played knows that it takes approximately two seconds for the game to turn sexual. That is, unless all of the people feel sexually inexperienced. Then you just find out what places people have never been to and who has never learned to ride a bike (that’s a sad one).

I first encountered this game in high school and was surprised when it showed up again at one of the first college parties I attended. It just goes to show that college students really are just high schoolers with less adult supervision.

Within seconds of play, the game is hijacked by the extroverted, sexually active (what does that even mean?) individuals who enter the game with their third set of fingers before the quiet kid in the corner has even lowered one finger. The game is like a proverbial puffing up of the chest — but replace the puffing with many proudly spoken accounts of promiscuity delivered with a frankness that would curl the hair of previous generations.

Only our generation would come up with a game like 10 Fingers. Never before has a generation been more open, frank and nonchalant when it comes to sex. Our tendency to compare sexual experience leads naturally to a new phenomenon I deem S.I.C. — Sexual Inferiority Complex. It’s a perception that everyone else (worth comparing) is more sexually experienced than you.

I have talked to a number of individuals who feel out of the sexual loop, ranging from people who have never been kissed to others who have had several short-term relationships or hookups. I have also talked to the rarer individuals who have been sexually active since middle school and have since bounced from one long-term relationship to the next. I’ve come to the conclusion that when it comes to self-evaluation, just as there is no right amount of beauty, wealth or smarts, there is no right amount of sexual experience.

It goes back to that John Hughes The Breakfast Club moment in which Ally Sheedy tells Molly Ringwald, “You want to, but you can’t, and when you do, you wish you didn’t.” Of course, that was the ’80s, which in retrospect, was actually a long time ago. We’ve gotten less judgmental since then, haven’t we?

Nope. Maybe we’ve become more open, but if anything we’ve become more judgmental — of ourselves and of each other. This is a culture in which perception is everything, and what you actually do can have little relation to the reputation you develop. Cuddling can turn into, “They had sex while we were sleeping,” and a virgin who hooks up, also known as making out with a few people at an alcohol-­fueled rager, is deemed a slut unworthy of a long-term commitment. And yes, these scenarios have actually happened.

When you share your sexual experiences, you set yourself up for judgment. My advice? Dash the fingers and save the sex talk for a trustworthy friend.

Anastasia Taber is a junior in the College. She can be reached at taber@thehoya.com. DATING DALAIappears every other Friday in the guide.

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