About the Author
Layla Ghazi is a current second year student at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is pursuing a B.S. in Chemistry and a minor in French Language. When she isn't spending time conducting research behind the walls of a laboratory, like the famous Dexter, she likes to spend her time laughing, reading, engaging with others and of course, writing.

Does An Invitation To A Frat Formal Require You To Have Sex With The Guy?

I have this ring on my right middle finger.

It’s a peace sign that I originally wore on my left ring finger – you know, the finger associated with marriage.

2008 me was convinced that if Nick Jonas, the man I was destined to marry, was going to refrain from being intimate until marriage, so would I.

I held on to the notion that I would remain abstinent until marriage until I was 16.

I had my first real love, and suddenly my opinion of waiting until marriage seemed out of step with reality.

My feelings towards sex radically changed once I realized the importance of another level of intimacy in becoming closer to another individual, and while some choose not to have sex, I didn’t.

In my eyes, God (you betcha I believe in a higher power) created the body to enjoy his other creations, including sex.


I am a 20-year-old woman who has openly expressed on the internet that she is sexually active and takes pride in her ability to make the choice to be.

Is it just me or does it feel like I had a Carrie Bradshaw moment? You know what I mean, when she was typing away on her laptop in Sex and the City?

Carrie Bradshaw typing away. Photo Credit: AlexHerrera/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Psh, why do I even need to have a Carrie Bradshaw moment?

Well, level with me here because I’m not about to tell you about my sexual escapades.

I value the sanctity of physical intimacy, and I would never share details of an experience with a partner to another individual.

Instead, I think it is important for someone to be frank about sex in college because:





I am unable to trace back to where Western college culture changed so that the major aspect of social development was linked to sex.

Maybe it happened when women (rightly) claimed the entitlements back to their bodies; or maybe it happened when the media could openly sexualize relationships.

Whenever it happened, there was a dynamic shift in our understanding and appreciation of sex.

For the most part, the conversation surrounding sex is treated as much like the methods used to study for a test.

While I think it is truly wonderful that we can have open discussions about intimacy, there seems to be a series of unspoken rules about sex on college campuses in the United States, which I didn’t know about.

Have you ever heard the expression: “High school is all about how long can they date before they hook up? But college…college is all about how long can they hook up before they date?”

It is the most accurate depiction of college hook up culture.

Like I want to paint it on a canvas or get it printed on a flyer because it holds that much power over interpersonal relationships in college.

Don’t worry; Monogamy happens still.

I can tell you from personal experience, I am still struggling with my last heart-break.

But the purpose of this piece is not to talk about monogamy.

Rather, I want to bring to attention the issue that everyone is entitled to believe what they do and should be free from pressure to participate in something they find unsettling.

The results of these beliefs may not always host positive outcomes, but nonetheless the individuals will deal with the consequences as they are presented.

There is some beauty in being in a world where there is an understanding that you can sleep with whomever you want.

What is not remotely beautiful is the expectation that everyone participates in this hook up culture.

Allow me to offer a specific example.

If you, my dear reader, are not involved in Greek life, like the American high school homecoming and prom, fraternities and sororities host semi-formals and formals dances.

While sororities are expected to host their events within the city limits of their university, fraternities will go out-of-town for both events.

At least he has a cat. Photo Credit: T U R K A I R O/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Just as sorority women can invite individuals involved and not involved in Greek life, fraternity men may do the same.

The fact that they go out-of-town means they must spend a decent amount of money to secure the hotel room and the nice dinner venue.

Their dates usually will make them a cooler or flask or craft something else catered to the taste of the gentleman.

Basically, the fraternity and its guests are all in for a weekend of all kinds of fun in a city, taking a pseudo-vacation.

Sounds great, right?!

Well, formal season is almost over, but if I hear anything else about fraternity men looking for dates, I will let you know.

There is one catch, though, the frat boy will probably be expecting you to have sex with him or at the very least fool around until he is satisfied.

Yeah, I would be a little taken aback too.

This party is so lit right now bro. Photo Credit: Pedro Ribeiro Simões/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

By no means are all fraternity men expecting this, and I have been fortunate enough to be asked on formals by men that identified with their gender assigned at birth that I was either seeing or very good friends with.

There was no expectation from me to do anything I was not comfortable with.

However, I have had approximately seven girlfriends come and speak to me about how uncomfortable they felt around their date because he seemed to hold this expectation that she would participate in the hook up culture.

Let me be perfectly clear:

It does not matter your gender identity, sexuality or combination of the two spectra.

If you invite an individual on some event, whether it be out of college or while you are in school, you do not have a right to expect something in return for the invitation.

I find it appalling and a reflection of the manipulative nature of our modern culture that the definition has evolved from something that used to mean to request someone’s presence at to a word that offers an incentive or opens the door to the likelihood of an opportunity.


This beautifully masked article has been another approach to aid those who still do not understand the concept of consent the entire time!

While I may choose to be free with my body, I still reserve the right to say no and be uninhibited by the expectation that I will use the pleasure intimacy can create to essentially repay a fraternity member with his choice to bring a date on a pricey event.

Don’t be afraid to go stag!

Or just don’t go!

Or better yet, take someone you may actually like!

So, while there is a definite beauty in an individual’s ability to choose to sleep with as many people as they want, whether they are being safe about it or not (which for the sake of everyone else I hope they are being), not everyone has to participate in this culture shift, especially when they are invited out to an event, like a date or a weekend getaway.

If you are interested in reading more about the hookup culture of today, I highly suggest listening to the Hidden Brain podcast from NPR published on February 14.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Angie Chung

What It Is Really Like To Fight Depression And Anxiety In College

For those of you that do not know me, I am sorry because I can tell some rad jokes.

For those of you that know me, I am loud.

You can probably hear me from a mile away, I snort when I laugh, and if I am not laughing, I am probably unintentionally speaking at a loud volume about the latest thing that has me riled up.

So when you look at me, you would not think that I am anything but happy. Some might even say that I radiate sunshine and light up any room I am in.

But I have a confession…

I hate clichés, but I am one; there is more to me than meets the eye.

Every day is a struggle for me. I suffer from clinically diagnosed severe depression and mild anxiety.

While you may think “well everyone can struggle with depression and anxiety,” I urge you to stop that train of thought. Right now. Like 20 minutes ago right now.

This is a deeply personal issue for me, and I have shared select parts of my story with a handful of people, who still do not know every detail of my battle.

My mother did not know how serious the instability of my mental state was, and to this day, my father has no idea.

So, dear reader, take solace in the fact that this article will save you from reading the gruesome details of my self-harm and suicide attempts.

Instead, I am going to take a minute to talk about stress and our choice of language.

I bet that segway was not something expected of this article.

How can stress and language choice be related to mental health?

Helen Harrop/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Helen Harrop/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Great Question.

I recently posted a status on Facebook that received a good number of likes, but I do not think the less than 200 words I used could accurately describe how much of an effect language choice has.

Some people took the time to question whether or not my claim to be cautious of language was even valid, arguing that every exclamation should be taken seriously.

Any cry for help in the face of struggle is encouraged, and I hope that if someone is truly struggling, they have at least one person in their life that they can open up to, even if me and my Facebook status are not encouraging enough.

I know when I was drowning, it seemed like my problem would not be taken seriously because of the stigma associated with mental health.

I quickly learned that I could get all of the help I needed through the care of many different outlets, such as medication, therapy and meetings of a 12-step program group called “Emotions Anonymous.”

But I know that I am at a stage in my journey with this illness that I am ready to seek help.

For many others, they hide their pain and choose to use different channels to cope.

I know I used to cut; some may drink; others may turn to drugs; or some might choose to focus their attention in their schoolwork to avoiding dealing with the issue at hand.

All of the above being said, sometimes what these individuals may hear can affect their direction on the journey that is mental illness.

One of my sorority sisters said it best: “Language is a weapon!”

Do not believe me and think I am just another millennial urging for political correctness? Fine. Allow me to offer an example of language as a weapon.

There have been multiple instances where based on my aggressive attitude, men have called me a “bitch.”

I know they were not calling me a bitch to compliment me for getting the job done; their choice of language was a direct attempt to hurt me, to discourage me, maybe even to intimidate me.

Something I refuse to accept, but has become an unfortunate part of the student vernacular, are hyperbolic and dramatic exclamations.

“I am going to kill them!” “I am going to drop out!” “I hate school!”, and more negative, “I hate myself,” “My life sucks,” and “I am going to kill myself.”

So my question becomes if society urges individuals to be careful of their use of offensive language like bitch, c**t, n***er, c***k, etc. and we urge caution of the language we use to refer to others, why does a similar encouragement not follow on how we refer to ourselves?

As someone who is an advocate of therapy and medication, I have come to learn that I have certain triggers that can drastically affect my attitude.

Medically speaking, depression and anxiety are classified as mood disorders.

It genuinely does not take much for something to change my mood from happiest person in the world to stuck in bed for 14 hours.

Besides break ups and seeing tools that I used to hurt myself with, one of my biggest triggers is someone exclaiming “I am going to kill myself” or “I hate myself” because I have been in that situation before and these statements remind me of just how hard my battle is.

They often leave me wondering if the effort I have made to get better is even worth it.

Moreover, when I hear them from someone exclaiming them as a solution to resolving their stress, I find myself asking if it would be okay for me to revert to old habits.

Statements like these that students without a genuine comprehension of mental illness make can have a drastic effect on others who are not quite ready to deal with their journey with mental illness.

While some may argue that it is not my place to encourage individuals, especially students under high stress from academics, to be cautious of their use of “common” language, I will argue that it is my expectation of myself to take care of my well-being before anything else.

Thus, if I find that there are individuals affecting that state of well-being, I have an obligation to urge them to be more considerate and cautious of how they refer to themselves, for the sake of others.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

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