Women and ‘free love’, is it just for sluts?
So, what I am going to ask is this: why is it still not okay for women to enjoy sex today? are there deeper reasons? And what can be done about it?
This post was inspired by the book ‘Sex slaves: the trafficking of women in Asia’, and the post ‘the single woman & sex…really?’ (Especially the comments). This is also inspired by as any number of horrible rape tales. The reason I feel these more shocking examples are relevant is because I see the question of women’s sexual freedom as being interlinked with the questions of dominance and inequality that are raised by such tragedies.
The way in which sex is discussed in the media is often misleading and confused. Women are bombarded with information about how to look, dress, have the perfect body and be the perfect lover but at the same time the question is subtly raised at each turn: is it really okay for women to enjoy sex?
We are told subtle things like you shouldn’t wear ‘too much’ make up, you should pair your short skirt with long sleeves so you don’t show off ‘too much’ skin. Or what will happen exactly?
We are also bombarded with safety information: If you go out then do so with friends. have a buddy. tell people where you are going. know what to do if you’re attacked. Don’t walk alone at night. don’t wear your hair in a pony-tail. look out for cars. Don’t leave your drink or friends unattended. Beware of cab drivers.
Some of it probably makes sense, but where are the articles aimed at both men and women, on topics like: what do you do if you see someone’s drink being spiked? How to spot domestic violence? What can you do if you think your friend is in a dangerous relationship? How do you know if a line has been crossed? How do you talk men/women about sexual harassment? How do you get out of a dangerous relationship safely? What is consent?
What not to do is so much less valuable than information of a pro-active nature. We are not told how to look out for each other. In fact information on sex and safety is often decided on gender lines, so males are much more unlikely to be exposed to a debate of this kind. Even the term ‘feminism’ which to me just means equal-ism can be alienating.
The information we are bombarded with instead conditions us to accept the notion that if something happens then it must be the victims fault. You might not think about it like that, but that’s what happens. What went wrong? Well, she went out, got drunk, got separated from her friends and this guy took advantage. Not: what went wrong? A man raped her. I don’t know why he did it.
For the purposes of this article I am going to define sex as a mutual expression of tenderness for your partner. So, why can’t I get tender with a man I just met, or even a few? (In my case I’m married and don’t want to, but if I did…)
As we have already touched on it then I will say right outright: Safety. If I were to be sexually harmed by another person and it went to court then I expect that my sexual history would become known and used to discredit me. Even by being married I provide a ‘mitigating factor’. Of course I would ‘cry rape’ if I slept with a man I was not married to, and got found out. Who would want the blame? Women are basically conditioned from childhood to fear sexual crime. To the point where they often accept it as a normal part of life (the question of whether it could happen to them is another matter).
Tied in with the previous point stigma is so much more widely accepted. I don’t want to be judged because I wanted to be close to someone.
It could be jealousy, like: I don’t get any and I’m hotter than she is, she must just be easy.
It could be historical: Those babies better be mine. Bad young wife, stop looking at that man your own age and get some of my middle-aged action.
Think about women taking their husbands name at marriage. Did you know that a white wedding is basically a symbolic funeral procession for the woman’s old life? Look into it.
Historically women could not work, own property or a business after they married as they themselves were viewed as property. This forced them to attach themselves to a husband.
Emperors in China used the number of wives they had as a status symbol, more wives and more children equating to more power and sexual potency. Thousands or even tens of thousands of wives were the norm and some had hundreds of children (which is a terrible ratio if you’re not trying to breed out the most attractive Chinese women). This attitude that the more women you sleep with the more potent you are is one of the reasons men have historically tried to limit women’s sexual appetites so much. Using justifications like ‘men just have greater needs’ as validation. No way in hell they want the ladies doing just the same.
As someone whose poor husband is subject to her every whim (Hunni, can I have some tea? Hun, where are my shoes? What’s for lunch? *he crashes in a heap* Hun, how come we never snuggle anymore?) I can honestly say that if there were two of us, never mind a thousand, I think he might die. He definitely couldn’t meet my daily attention needs. Actually, if anything, I think I need more husbands.
It seems strange to me that the notion of having a wife who actually loves you and wants to be with you by choice should be so unappealing.
If a man’s genetic job is to sew as many of his seeds as possible then a woman’s is both to choose the best possible genetic mate and find the best home for her children. Now, if we follow this theory, the notion that making a woman dependent on a man for wealth should not work. It should in fact encourage her to look for genetically superior males to breed with, whilst of course, maintaining her home and potentially loveless partnership. Therefore, it would just make them sneakier cheats.
Sleeping around might make me less appealing to men (not the kind of men I like admittedly, but some men).
Apparently many men worldwide are intimidated by women who are sexually confident. It makes them worry that they will not be able to satisfy them. This attitude is built on a double standard that encourages men to play away and, for example, use prostitutes whilst at the same time keeping their wives sexually unaware (I cant do that to her, she’s so innocent!). Is that electing not to even try and satisfy your wife at all?
Probably worth mentioning that extreme punishments like stoning were used on adulterers. mind you, even if you were a good wife in some cultures you could be buried alive with your husbands corpse as a reward. Or maybe end up forced to jump into a funeral pyre.
Finally, if I slept with too many people then I would lose any moral credibility that I have. Women are often only viewed as either innocents or whores. A balanced middle ground is hard to define. You know, like ‘Human being’.
Moral credibility is important for women because without it there is nobody to educate men. For you see, men are very stupid and without women they would be incapable of telling their nose from their elbow, never mind answer complex moral questions or tell rape from consensual sex.
It is completely unrealistic to expect men to behave like reasonable human beings without a sober womanly influence to guide them onto the right path. Really, if it was not for women all they would do all day is fudge, fudge, fudge and kill each other. All men, even the gay ones, need to be immediately married to a woman so that they can become reasonable people. God help us if we actually expect them to educate themselves about ethics and morality, or regard women as equal beings with needs and feelings to be respected and loved.
Women can be funny creatures indeed. But encouraging men to engage with them, let’s say; as they would a man, would be a totally unrealistic starting point. They might end up regarding them as friends rather than sex objects and where would that leave us? Perhaps in a society of trust and mutual respect *shudder*
I had to switch to satire just there, some arguments are really too silly to take seriously. People with power who believe things like that can be tougher to ignore.