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Just a tip about just the tip

 Kait headshot

Sexpert Kaitlyn Alkass talks about our generations hook-up culture and dealing with increasingly blurry lines.

“Just the tip?” Ladies, we have all heard this request, regurgitated by any male with a pulse who we have decided to become sexually involved with. It is as if the phrase has been programmed into their neural pathways as some kind of primal insurance for the continuation of the human race. It tends to switch on once a couple has delved into the realm of oral sex, and the guy seems to think that he is getting that much closer to the main event. A sexual shortstop, if you will. The holy grail that men seem to think is a stepping stone between second and third base.

Let me tell you something: “just the tip” is an absolute travesty. It is this sexual no-man’s-land purposely designed to make the decision of becoming intimate with someone all the more confusing. In some ways, it is a power play that a guy can use for later. “But babe, we’ve technically already had sex, let’s just do it, alright?” Objectively, I am sure everyone can identify that this is a manipulative move that any self-respecting young woman would say no to. But in the moment it can be difficult, especially if you are emotionally attached to the person and in a vulnerable position, a.k.a. bottomless with a naked dude and his hard-on. Add some cheap alcohol to that scenario, and you have got the romantic scene from every teen flick ever.

Even if it is “just the tip,” there is still a ton of questions that come with it. Do we still use a condom? Is this actual sex? Does this count as losing my v-card? The answers to these questions might seem to be black and white at first, but they are entirely subjective. Sure, the technical term for sexual intercourse is penetration, but “just the tip?” What are you supposed to do with that? Here’s an example:

June: Oh my God, Jill, how’d it go with Henry last night?
Jill: Oh, you know, I gave him a handy j, then I let him put the tip in. Just the tip, though.
June: No way! So are you, like, only half a virgin now?
Jill: I have no idea, but I guess I’m ready for full sex.

Since when could you lose your virginity in increments, like you are back in the second grade learning how to divide a cupcake into four equal parts? Losing your virginity was supposed to be like tossing back a shot of vodka, right? Something you approached with an all or nothing mentality, because in small sips you were definitely going to puke? Chances are if you are only comfortable with “just the tip,” you are not truly comfortable with that person and definitely not ready for full-on intercourse. On the other hand, I think “just the tip” is yet another phrase specific to our generation. We can barely define our relationships in simplistic terms, what makes us think that our sex lives are any different? Sex cannot be defined or organized into perfect little boxes. Of course there must be consent at all times, but blurry edges are inevitable. It is important to keep an open dialogue about everything that is occurring, whether it is a one night stand or your star-crossed lover, so that you are not left in the dark with questions.

Before the onset of social media and the anxiety-inducing title of “Facebook official,” either you were in a relationship or you were not. When did all of this jargon come into play? “Seeing each other,” “dating,” and “non-exclusive” are all various terms of beating around the bush, avoiding telling someone that you enjoy spending time with them. “Just the tip” has become the training wheels of sex. Both parties are nervous about doing it but still want to get their feet wet. No pun intended. hoAnother typical “just the tip” situation:

Joe: Sally, baby, let me just put the tip in.
Sally: Sure, okay.
Joe: Okay, ready—
Sally: OW OW!
Joe: Sorry! Sorry! I didn’t mean to hurt you!
Sally: No, you’re pulling my hair.

This recent epidemic of just the tip mirrors the hookup culture of our generation. In the same way we have difficulty committing to a monogamous relationship or determining our status with a sexual prospect, neither can we define our sexual status, further confirming that virginity is more a social construction rather than a physical one. Allow yourself the power and wherewithal to make the healthiest decisions for you. Just a tip about just the tip: it Is only as powerful as you make it.

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