Sunday, March 25, 2012

Why Women Still Can't Enjoy Sex

Slut. I used to fixate on the unfairness of the accusation, particularly given that it seemed to be issued with no particular rhyme or reason other than the accuser’s desire to be hurtful. But recent events (including Limbaugh’s outburst) have made me realize that this isn’t about the kind of sex women are having or even the amount. It’s about the fundamental view that women should have only a peripheral relationship to sex and certainly no active engagement with it – and that these two things will determine if she’s a Lady worthy of respect or a Slut deserving of contempt.

In the subconscious social view, Ladies are naturally disengaged from their sexuality in any kind of human way at all. They view their sexuality peripherally through the gauzy veil of fluttering, dreamlike vistas and romantic fantasies and never, ever as a visceral event involving sweat, dirt and animalistic howls. Those who seek to take charge of their sexuality by, say, accessing birth control aren’t responsible adults making responsible decisions about their future – rather, they’re bitches on heat planning (planning!) grunting sexual encounters to satisfy their craven, unladylike lust for dick. And they pose a threat to masculinity because, given their addiction to birth control, they might now sleep with someone who’s not you.

You can screw these Sluts – but how can you respect them when they have no respect for themselves?

But it’s not just extreme conservatives who diminish women this way. Discomfit around women and sex permeates our culture, and the act itself has become a darkly comic battleground. Otherwise fair-minded women perpetuate the idea of Woman as Gatekeeper, warding off the advances of men and only buckling out of necessity – or worse, pity. This has less to do with women’s natural disdain for sex and more to do with a cultural expectation of how women should participate sexually.

Rather than a fulfilling pursuit in and of itself, Ladies should view sex as a gift to be bestowed upon a worthy suitor. It’s something that should vaguely interest them because it feels good (particularly under the masterful hand that guides them) but its role pales in comparison to the ultimate objective.


On the fraught path to love, sex is something ladies agree to, not something they do, and those of us who engage too excessively with the latter are pityingly accused of demeaning ourselves in order to find affection, or satisfy our own tragic lack of self esteem.

The conversation is lost in the problematic discussions of double standards. Women become Sluts when they engage in the same kind of behaviour as men, who are apparently called ‘studs’ although I haven’t heard that used since about 1983. But a double standard implies two different treatments of the same thing, and the core issue is that men and women at a base level still aren’t viewed as being the same. Worse, women are just as guilty (if not more so, on occasion) of depicting other women as Sluts in order to leverage themselves into the role of Ladies.

And so the accusation of ‘slut’ or ‘whore’ or ‘prostitute’ is less about how much sex women are supposedly having and how we judge it differently to men, and more to do with how much we demonise women’s enjoyment of sex in general. Think about that for a moment. In order to diminish women in our culture, we accuse them of enjoying sex. Worse, we accuse them of wanting it.

by Clementine Ford, DailyLife |  Read more:
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