Young lady, where are your standards??
**Note: While my motivation from this post is the discussion generated last week, I am in no way directly addressing anyone’s comments specifically. I am merely hoping for additional dialogue on what can be a touchy and convoluted subject…
Also note: I’m talking PROTECTED sex here, people. None of this raw-dogging, alright? It’s never ok to endanger your own health with the likes of that bullcrap.
Recently I posted a lil story about a friend of mine. I put it up as something funny, a horrible dating story that other people could surely relate to. And a lot of people did.
As such, I wasn’t prepared for some of the discussion that it generated. Not that I minded – I love people speaking their minds and talking about things. While I like vanilla ice cream, I don’t like vanilla life – so I always welcome different and new opinions and views. I like to be challenged, and I enjoy it when other people make me think.
And, of course, these comments got me thinking. Shocking, I know.
From what I understood, it seemed the biggest issue was the idea of putting up with Douchebagery to get to sex. Or put up with it in general.
Let me say first and foremost: I agree wholeheartedly that you had better fucking recognize Douchebagery when you see it. Period. Don’t expect more from it than it’ll give you (e.g. more douche-y-ness). Don’t expect it to change or become something it isn’t. And, my previous post in no way meant to insinuate that Amy didn’t identify it for what it was, expect anything more from it, or that the end result (more douche-y-ness) was some kind of surprise.
Now. I also wholeheartedly agree that if you are looking for a relationship of any kind? Douchebagery should not be tolerated (if you actually need clues on this, check Feisty’s lil list). Run from it at Red Flag #1 – don’t wait til #5 smacks you upside the head. Why? Because relationships are build on trust, honesty, and mutual respect. None of these things can be received from a true-blue Douche – man or woman.
BUT. If we’re not talking about a relationship, only sex – I argue that this may not always be the case. Because sexual encounters do not have to be tied to emotions, or headed toward a relationship, or even with a person you like. They can just be about sex.
Women can just have some sex. Men can just have some sex.
However. While we might (or might not) agree there, the point of course is that you make the decision on that for yourself – not someone else. And if you’re still with me on that point, that you agree… I still see the knee-jerk reaction to people engaging in NSA (no strings attached) sex. My lil story was an even more interesting example (to me) because the guy was a Class A DB. There was no question (ever) about that. And yet… I’d like to explore our reactions to that a little bit more…
One thing I am very interested in (if you haven’t noticed) is the subtle and almost unconscious biases and judgments we harbor. All of us. The ones we’re not aware of – that we need to bring out into the light and examine. One of those, that our culture is really really good at, is slut-shaming.
Now. I don’t mean to offend anyone, and I am hoping for a real close personal look at the reactions we have to the standards other people use to decide when to have sex.
ONE: I do think that, when we see a situation where two people have sex in spite of Douchebagery, or even just have NSA sex at all really, the immediate reaction is to judge the female. Not always – but pretty freakin’ often.
Before you clamor to tell me you don’t, hear me out.
While we may not say “oh, she’s a big ol’ whore with no self-respect,” what we might say instead is still slut-shaming, because we still view her poorly by comparing her to how we would act – and showing her to be wanting, given our standards. Further, we often (but clearly not always or, not always clearly) assume that 1) she’s lacking in moral fiber/self confidence/self worth, or something along those lines (because cah-learly she wouldn’t do that dude if she had those – I mean, we wouldn’t and we has them, so) and 2) the Douchebagery will have some bearing on how she feels about herself or is something she should care about (because he needs to be interested in you for you to interact with him… why?). That his behavior will, or should, impact her in some way (it certainly impacts how we see her so…)
We also decide for her that whatever she thinks she’s getting from this encunter (I decided that term is now a perfectly acceptable part of my vocabulary) is not worth what she put up with to get it.
End result? Well, sorry honey: Fail.
And thus, whether we like it or not, we look down on her . Whether we want to admit it or not, we want to call her a slut (and we’ve already decided that is a negative term). Futher, we think she should have some shame for what she’s done.
And that, my friends, is slut-shaming.
Take a close look at how you react, and tell me what you think. I don’t for a second think everyone feels this, but I do believe it’s a general cultural reaction to women engaging in sex we don’t agree with (which also, btw, depends on the person doing the
judging assessing. Of another person’s behavior. Right.)
Do we do this to men? Meh. Sure – but not as much. Yes, we can be rational people so we often say “well, yeah, the dude shouldn’t put up with that shit either” or “of course I don’t have a double-standard here – they’re both sluts.” But….. we probably do. Be honest: the knee is a bit more anxious to jerk around when women do this than when men do. Plus, part of that is because, as a lot of the slut-shaming is done by women, we can compare another woman to our own standards of behavior (something a lot of us love to do anyway). Can’t do that with a dude, because we’re not dudes.
Further, we can’t ignore the fact that we are practically marinated, from day one, in a double standard of men and women. I truly believe it’s very difficult to get rid of that without significant conscious effort.
See – we also say things like “men are pigs” or “men are dogs” or “men are douchebags.” I’d say what we mean is we assume men want sex all the time, and, even though we call them a DB for it, we still allow them to have sex with whomever without, or with less, judgment. Or we assume they’ll fuck whomsoever will give it up. Why? Because men have this sex drive and they are indiscriminate so therefore we don’t hold them to our standards of behavior. And that, my friend, is what I’d call a double standard. Again – this is not everyone. But I would argue it is in general.
Alright. I think that particular dead horse has had enough. But, naturally, I found another one. I’m not done yet.
TWO: There’s another thing I think at play here: The idea that the woman gave out the sex. That the man didn’t have to work for it (which, of course, does tie into our own personal ideas about when to have sex, i.e. our personal standards of behavior).
I really don’t like this idea: sex as something women withold until the men put in enough work.
Here, this idea comes up because we decide that part of the problem is the woman didn’t make the man work hard enough (or pretend not to be a DB) to gain access to the sex. In addition, of course, to the idea that sex in any sense is something that must be earned.
Here’s a thought: What if it isn’t?
What if it isn’t something you have to earn, but instead something you just enjoy? That, yeah, you don’t need a certain number of dates or flowers or door-holding to engage in?
Ever thought about the multitude of people who are complete and utter assholes but fake it in order to gain a relationship or have sex? What if you just take the person as who they are – douchebag or not – be glad they were honest, and decide that YOU want to have sex with them anyway?
What are our standards for sex?
Do we need to gain a level of trust, honesty, and mutual respect in order to feel comfortable for sex? Or, do we need some level of physical chemistry or attraction? Or both? Or something else entirely? What if you get off on having sex with strangers?
And, please note that this is not “in order to give up sex/allow someone to fuck you.” Like I said, I don’t think sex should be viewed that way – as something to be gained. I think it should be about being comfortable enough to have it. And that, my friend, is up to each person individually – it is not up to you to decide for anyone else. If a person does not live up to your standards for feeling comfy hopin’ in the sack? That doesn’t mean they are the only acceptable standards out there. BUT. It ALSO does not mean your standards are wrong, either. They’re absolutely right for you.
And, in the same vein, we should never allow anyone to talk us into sex if we’re not comfortable.
Do you want to have sex with this person? Are you comfortable having sex with this person? I think those should be the standards we use – personally and for each their own.
See, there are two ways in which to ignore Douchebagery. One, you can pretend it’s not Douchebagery, or even go so far as to tell yourself the Douchebagery will magically stop being Douchey. Never make that massive mistake, please. You can also ignore Douchebagery because you just don’t care about it. Maybe it’s utterly secondary to what you do care about (e.g. a roll in the hay). It’s not that you don’t fully recognize the douche-y-ness, but you just don’t care. Someone else might care. You might care with a different guy in a different situation. Or not. But – personal choice. End of story.
This whole idea that we need someone to be “interested” in us, or even like us, insinuates that they are interested in a relationships with us. Maybe that’s not the goal here, so maybe we don’t care about their interest. I mean, I don’t go on every date, or any first-second-even-third dates assuming the dating is heading down the road to a relationship. I’m dating to meet people, and in all honesty? In my life the way it is now? I am one busy girl with lots of shit to get done, in addition to many things I like to do with my free time, friends I love, and I am fiercely protective of my alone time. To be frank – right now? I’m not dating for love. I’m with Miss Elizabeth Rose: I’m dating to get laid. That’s about all I have time for right now, and all I need (woah I know dude – did a girl just say that? Yes I am blowing your mind. And, yes, I am up front about that.)
Sometimes “interest” and “relationship” are not as important. Maybe, just maybe, we don’t want a relationship with this person. Maybe we’re crystal clear on their utter uselessness in that capacity. And they’ve made it clear they don’t want one with us. SO – we’re both on the same page. And, we’re both comfortable having sex with one another. So. There ya go.
I’m not saying everyone should do this or this will be ok for everyone. But. It’s ok for some people in some instances. Absolutely.
What’s left after accepting that we don’t care if they are a DB? Well, the idea that he doesn’t deserve to have sex with you anyway because he’s a DB. Well. That’s not really anyone’s call but your own. Maybe his physical appearance or boning ability means you think he does deserve to have sex with you. Maybe your own desire to just have some flippin’ sex already and he passes the chemistry/physical attributes test is enough. Further, if you get to the root of the above statement, it’s still about men working for sex that women eventually provide. And, as I mentioned, I’m not so into that statement.
Sometimes. Sex is sex. It’s not about interest, it’s not about behaving correctly in order to gain access to it. It’s about fucking. And, as long as you are both comfortable doing that, than it’s no one else’s choice or place to pass judgment.
Of course, I am making the [sometimes gigantic] assumption that you’re self-aware enough to know these things for yourself (I have discussed how NSA sex is not for everyone). I kind of have to – because I am not about to assume the opposite. I’d rather hope for awareness than assume ignorance – and I have to choose one.
There is, of course, a flip side to all this. Just as I’m not going to call you a slut if you’re into anonymous sex – I’m also not going to call you a prude if you want to wait til you get married. We can shame the “prudes” just as easily, you know. And that, really, is the sad thing and the end result of all this. Women have it kinda tough (not to say that men don’t, but that’s another story – one a man should write). If someone thinks you’re having too much sex, or not waiting long enough to have it, or not making someone work hard enough to get it from you, you’re a slut. But if someone else thinks you’re not having enough, you’re a tease or a prude.
And so we (finally) arrive at the bottom line: Instead of deciding for someone else if their choices were “wrong” given your standards, we should instead be supportive of one another in our own choices and standards – and encouraging one another to look at those choices, and think about them, and consider alternatives, and be more self-aware (which is another reason I encourage dialogue).
So, instead of comparing what someone else did to what you would do, why no ask how they feel about those choices. Have they thought about them? Are they happy? Are they comfortable in their own life and their own skin and their own behavior? If they aren’t happy or comfortable only then do you get to ask if maybe it was too soon, or not soon enough.
Those are the answers I’m interested in, and, in my opinion, they’re the ones that matter.
I am not in any sense saying anyone who commented on the last post is wrong. At all. I am trying to stimulate discussion on this topic, and ask people to look closely at how they react to other people’s behavior. To think about those reactions a little bit more. If you react at all. Maybe you don’t. Maybe you truly do not care when or how or if other people are having sex. But. I bet, if you look close enough, you do.
And, by all means, please challenge me to think more, too.
[Please note: Again, I am talking about when we choose to engage in sex, not when we choose a partner. I would never condone entering into a relationship where you are disrespected, undervalued, or otherwise abused.]
For more on this topic:
“Girl Fight: Sluts vs. Prudes” @ The Sexademic
Pepper Wants To Talk to You About Sex @ Pepper & Paprika
I’ve mentioned it on occasion, too. Although with much less eloquence…