Summer Fling

Summer Fling

By Bessie King

Ever since Danny Zuko and Sandra Dee doo-wopped to “Summer Nights,” the summer fling has been part of our mainstream culture.

“It is a fresh, exciting thing, because it can happen when you are exposed to new people,” said Ian Phillips, a senior business major. “Once you get back to school, the fling ends, you see the same old faces and you’re back in your routine so it’s harder to find someone new.”

Whether it’s between high school students, college students or working adults on summer vacation, the fling generally comes to an end once the seasons change and people go back to their regular business.

However, recent statistics have shown that these flings can lead to more than just a fun, short-term relationship. The National Library of Health reported to Reuters Health in May that, in the past decade, there has been an increase in the number of young adults engaging in casual sex and acquiring sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Dr. Robert Klein, director of behavioral health for University Health and Counseling Services Services, warned about such risky sexual behaviors.

“The notion of a summer fling is generations old, so the idea of a relationship beginning and ending in a phase is not uncommon,” Klein said. “The issue of safe sexual behavior certainly comes into play though, and sometimes quick, or short-term, relationships can have bad consequences.”

Some of these consequences can include STDs and emotional distress. Klein said short-term relationships can be emotionally draining for someone who is not prepared to be in a relationship for only a few short weeks or months. Moreover, a person may be filling a gap with a relationship, hoping to find the support and attention they need. Not being able to maintain that relationship could lead to even more emotional and psychological baggage. Flings are not limited to summer either; Klein said spring breaks are becoming more popular for shorter-term relationships and hook-ups, which can be influenced by drugs or alcohol and can also have negative results.

Students often begin short-term relationships because the various pressures of school and work do not allow them to maintain a boyfriend or girlfriend, Klein said. Since vacation periods give people the opportunity to ease their workloads and open up in a less restrained environment, they can potentially have positive outcomes.

If practiced with safety and responsibility, Klein said short-term relationships can actually help a person understand his or her dating patterns better and to learn how to appreciate and identify the characteristics he or she likes best in a partner.

“Short-term relationships are important for many people because long-term relationships are difficult to take care of, therefore we learn to understand others and we learn who we are compatible with,” Klein said. “They are important because one also learns how to behave and what to expect for future, longer, relationships.”

As summer heat slowly kicks in and the opportunities for dating and being sexually active in a summer relationship arise, Klein suggests students be open with each other and make sure both partners know what to expect from the relationship, practice safe sex and know what they feel comfortable with.

“A lot of people try not to get in a relationship while they are in school or at work because they can be a distraction,” said middler pharmacy major Jane Tan. “During vacation it is better to try because you have more time to have fun and seek a boyfriend or girlfriend and grow from the experience.”

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