From ‘Naked Roommate’ to naked co-ed
Getting physically naked is easy. Getting emotionally naked is where college students struggle.
Author of bestselling college survival guide “The Naked Roommate,” Harlan Cohen is tackling dating, sex and romance during the college years in his new book, “Getting Naked,” out this May.
The Towerlight spoke with Cohen to get a sneak peak at the tips, tricks and life-changing advice he said his book provides.
Getting naked emotionally
If you can’t do it sober, Cohen said you shouldn’t do it at all.
College is 90 percent amazing and 10 percent bullshit, according to Cohen. Much of what falls under bullshit is relationships and dating. Students aren’t taught how to be in a couple in classes the same way they are taught the skills they’ll need on the job.
“There is never going to be an easier time to meet people than in college. It is just in terms of the number of people within a very small area,” Cohen said. “If you’re having a hard time now, it’s only going to be that much harder in the future.”
After graduation, there are far fewer opportunities to find yourself drunk and alone in someone else’s room looking to hook up. Even if students are willing to have sex, they might not be comfortable talking about sex or their feelings in general.
“I think a lot of college students have sex not because they want to have sex at that moment. I think they have sex because they don’t think the moment will be there in the future,” Cohen said. “Because sex is really about getting lucky a lot of times. The risk is if I wait until next week, you might not want to. If I wait until I’m sober, you might not. If you wait until I get tested for Chlamydia, you might not. You have sex now, worry about it later.”
Having big balls and big ovaries
In “Getting Naked,” Cohen offers a five-step system for successfully getting lucky, getting dates, or getting into a committed relationship.
Step four is “Take the risk,” which many college students have difficulty doing because they fear rejection, according to Cohen.
“The reason people don’t like dating is because you have to state your intentions before doing anything,” Cohen said. “If I want to ask you out on date, I might want to kiss you. You might not want to be kissed. Hooking up is a way to circumvent rejection.”
In order to combat this fear of rejection, Cohen suggests that men and women grow a pair and make it safe for potential dates to take the risk of asking them out.
“Giving a man permission to ask you out safely will help you,” Cohen said. “Women need to make it safe for men to take risks, meaning if I like you, I make it clear if you like me, I will not reject you. This is a powerful idea: If you want to ask me out, I won’t say no.”
Committing yourself long-distance or long-term
As scary as it is to start a relationship, once successfully attached, it can be even scarier to not be in a relationship, according to Cohen.
Some students even go as far as marriage to hang on to that relationship status.
“If anyone wants to get married because they don’t have to be single, that’s a bad reason,” Cohen said.
Dating presents the opportunity to learn if you not only love someone, but like them. And there’s nothing long with dating for a while before saying “I do,” according to Cohen.
“If you don’t have yourself together, you can’t depend on someone to give you things you don’t have,” he said.
On a similar scale, being comfortable with yourself is necessary if you plan on being in a long-distance relationship.
“Each partner encourages the other to be comfortable, to always feel beautiful, to always have a life independent of the other,” Cohen said. “You’re not jealous because you know you’re the very best choice. You’re not worried about someone hanging out in rooms with other people. You be each other’s best friend without being threatened.”