From generation to generation, you hear the same thing: Back in my day, things were not this crazy, oversexed, and dangerous. You probably also talk about how you walked uphill both ways to school (possibly in the snow).
Regardless, it begs the question, “Are things really that different in college today?”
Every day, we receive hundreds of articles from college students, young millennials who are eager to share what it’s like in college in 2017. We also poll our audience and interview students. Our top category is, by far, sex and relationships.
We see all of what it’s like to date — the good, the bad, the ugly. You’d think that all of the distractions and technology have completely desensitized students. Yes and no. Sure, they have reverse engineered social platforms so that they can swipe, chat, and sext with 100 different people before lunch. Don’t let that fool you; the desensitization hasn't removed their actual feelings.
They still have the human need to be liked, to make a real-life connection and to feel valued. They don't want to be broken up with through text or see their relationship unravel on social media. When the students write about what's on their mind, more often than not, they are just people who are stressed, happy, sad, confused, lonely and figuring it out. They’re just like the rest of us.
Labels don’t matter to these millennials. It doesn't matter if you are a boyfriend/girlfriend, straight/gay, celibate, or into really freaky stuff in the bedroom, they just are who they are. Students don’t want to be put into a box (unless it involves a safe word).
“Dating” today is any activity that happens outside of the bedroom. On the topic, millennials aren’t nearly the nymphomaniacs we all like to think they are. Almost 70% of students we polled have had five or fewer partners.
Speaking of which, they don’t need your judgment.
So what if they are willing to send a nude to someone they aren’t exclusive with (more than 35% are cool with that)? What has changed is just how open students are in today’s world.
This generation’s sex positivity movement, not unlike that of the late ’60s (see, Baby Boomers, they aren’t so different), is all about freedom and acceptance when it comes to talking about sex and gender roles.
Students in our community share real, unfiltered stories about everything that they are passionate about. They speak candidly about group sex, sex toys, embarrassing intimate experiences. They pour it all out, and they expect the same level of openness and authenticity from the brands they associate with.
Do them a favor: Cut the crap. Stop advertising and start connecting. These young millennials tell you their story, they want to hear yours. Stop talking about how great your product is. Tell them why you started your company. Tell them how you can solve a real problem for them. Tell them your vision, your mission, and the why behind what you do. Stop using buzzwords and slang.
Next time, we will dig into the specific language that students use and why it matters to you and doesn’t matter to them. That will help you communicate with someone that thinks you speak a different language. It’s not the other way around.