Double Standards and Other Random Sex Issues

April 17, 2011
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Let me preface this by disclaiming that if reading about sexual subjects offends you, go no further.

I am quite sick of the notion that women are not supposed to desire sex as much as men are expected to desire it. Being in high school, I have frequently noted that if a man talks about sex, society considers it very normal. However, if a woman does the same, she is often deemed a s*** for openly expressing her thoughts about sex. This bothers me quite a bit, as I feel that women should be able to express their sexual thoughts without fearing stigmas, labels, or social repercussions. Because sex – inherently – is not bad. It is not taboo or ugly or immoral. It is, in fact, very normal, and can be quite beautiful. Women, if you enjoy sex, it does not make you a slut. And if you are a virgin, or do not want to have sex, it does not make you a prude. You can be whatever you would like to be – society should not decide this for you.

Speaking of virginity, I do not like the phrase “losing your virginity.” What does the word “virginity” mean anyway? A lesbian woman may never have penetrative sex in her entire life - does this make her a “virgin”? Is a woman only “not a virgin” if she has penetrative sex? That seems like a very narrow definition, considering the wide range of sexual acts that produce pleasure for many different people.

In addition, even if the word “virginity” was applicable, why am I “losing” something? A friend once put it this way: you are not “losing” anything - you are gaining a new perspective on lust, love, pleasure, and yourself. And if you choose to have sex within the boundaries of a loving and monogamous relationship, you may even gain a stronger emotional connection with your significant other. I do not see what a woman inherently loses if she chooses to have sex (note that I say chooses - I won’t deal with the psychological repercussions of non-consensual sex right now). Having sex does not mean you have suddenly lost your youthful innocence or some other ridiculous notion like that. Depending on your circumstances, sex can mean whatever you would like it to mean! I do not like the idea that society dictates my venture into adulthood and loss of innocence by judging a very personal act that is my business, and my business only.

Now I come back to the issue of how men are expected to enjoy sex more than women are. It seems that nearly all mainstreamed sexual images are directed at straight men. Walk into a sex shop. The toys for men have pictures of scantily clad, big-breasted women on the packages…and guess what? So do the toys for women. I find it disappointing that the only sexual images I see in everyday life are unrealistic versions of women, essentially showing me how I am expected to look in order to please a man. Why can’t we, as women, be exposed to things that we find sexy? I think at least part of the answer to that question is the issue I dealt with earlier - society deems that women are not supposed to enjoy sex as much as men are, and so there is no need to appeal to their desires. I am not sure how to go about dispelling this notion, but I believe it is very important.

Onto another issue. Last Saturday, I was about to leave the house to go to a party. I was wearing a pair of short denim shorts, a dressy, low-cut top, with my hair and makeup done nicely. As I left, my mom commented, “Be careful, Kelly. You look like you’re asking for it!” Although I knew she was joking, it got me thinking. Am I “asking for it” if I dress in a way that makes me feel confident and sexy? In my opinion, absolutely not. I can dress however I please, and my attire will never be an excuse for someone to attempt to take advantage of me sexually. Neither will how much I have to drink or how much I flirt with him.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to say that I think men are evil for thoroughly enjoying sex, wanting to look at pictures of idealized women, and thinking dirty thoughts about scantily clad girls at parties. That is all completely fine with me, and I encourage everyone (bisexual, straight, gay, lesbian, queer, transgender, etc.) to pursue their sexual desires - no matter how “kinky” - in a way that is healthy, safe, and consensual for all parties involved. I merely find it disappointing that society has shaped women into these pure and angelic creatures with temple-like bodies, and if a women goes beyond the bounds of this narrow ideal, she is often labeled as ”slutty”. Contrarily, if a man engages in sexual activities, he is often looked upon positively by society and his peers. This double standard is not fair.

I would like to be able to do whatever I please with my body without fearing judgment, whether I choose to have sex or not. I want the sexual desires of women to no longer be viewed as dirty and taboo. I don’t want to be a s***, a virgin, a prude, or any of those narrow labels. I am going to be whoever I want to be – and I believe that other women should not be afraid to do so, either.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Jayme said...
May 7, 2011 at 7:12 pm
Thank you for posting this. I totally agree with you. You have said what many are afraid to say, for that I applaud you.
pinksage33 said...
May 5, 2011 at 7:58 pm
A very interesting perspective.
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