March 01, 2005

Two To Tango

So, having turned this into a weekly feature, the Demystifying Divas are at it again. And this week's topic is casual sex.

When we were discussing this topic via email, the general theme that arose was how women just aren't made for casual sex. Now, Sadie chalks this up to hormonal differences. Silk believes it's got something to do with vulnerability. And Feisty Christinathinks it's about differing expectations.

They're all correct. Each and every one of their reasons is true. To a certain extent. But I'm going to play the part of the devil's advocate here and say that the reason most women do not want to partake in casual sex is because some just don't like how they feel about the whole business in the harsh, cold, raccoon-eyed, light of day.

It's one thing to be Carrie Bradshaw at night. It's entirely another to be Carrie Bradshaw the morning after.

There is a reason, after all, why they call it the "Walk of Shame."

Because, like the reasons the others laid out, shame does have something to do with it. We may be fabulous, Twenty-First Century women and can compete with men on just about every playing field, but when it comes down to it, most of us would like to be considered a nice girl. And nice girls, on the whole, do not go home with men they barely know.

It's against the rules.

Men are allowed this sort of behavior when it comes to the rules of society. They're not labeled 'easy' after a night out. They're not labeled as a 'slut' or a 'whore' after spending the night with someone. They simply don't have to deal with any of that. It's expected behavior for them and they will not have to suffer the societal consequences of said behavior. But women? Well, that's a whole different story. The bar for our behavior has been set higher than for men.

It's the old "double standard" raising its ugly head again.

I attended an all-girls Catholic high school. It was school policy that when a girl became pregnant, she was automatically kicked out for violating the Honor Code. This wasn't something the school advertised, but it was apparent when someone disappeared, like a ghost who faces the steely light of dawn, that they hadn't just transferred to a different school. Yet, amazingly enough, when it was sussed out who the father of that child was, that boy never was kicked out of the boys' school down the road. He was allowed to continue on with his studies, at the school of his choice. He faced no adverse consequences, no drastic changes to his life, particularly when the child was invariably given up for adoption. But the girl? Well, that was another story. Conversely, when I was a senior, it was known fact amongst our classmates that one of the girls in our class had become pregnant and had had an abortion. When confronted, she admitted it, too. It was quite the scandale amidst all of us youthful pro-lifers. She wasn't kicked out of school, of course, because there was no proof of the deed and no one was brave enough to tell on her, three months before graduation. But, surprisingly enough, she couldn't get a date to the prom, either. She asked eight guys. They all said, 'no, thank you.' It didn't take a rocket scientist to suss out why she'd been refused. After all, if the news had spread around our school like wildfire, it would have been a very small leap to say that it had spread three miles down the road to the boys' school.

Now, of course, you're saying, "Kath, that was how many years ago?" Well, it was about fifteen. I'll admit that things might have changed in recent years. But I don't think they've changed so much that a construct as deeply embedded as the "Madonna/Whore" complex could be so easily removed from men's psyches in that short period of time.

Of course, this goes back to how women feel about themselves. If it doesn't bother you that someone has called you a slut, then you're probably going to go on with living your life as you choose. But it bothers a lot of us to be called such names. To have a "reputation." If there's any difference between now and my vaunted high school days is that women are increasingly ditching the baggage that comes with such behavior. And that's not a bad thing. After all, no one can make you feel bad about yourself unless you let them. Particularly when it comes to casual sex. To realize this is to pull the root of the double standard right out of its own turf. It goes one step further in making society at large realize that it takes two to tango, and that the consequences of casual sex should apply to both sexes, and that women shouldn't always be the proverbial fall guy.

Posted by Kathy at March 1, 2005 11:05 AM

There's a lot of truth in what you say, Kathy.

Well done!

It's official, it takes four intelligent and confident women to to tackle topics like this.

; )

Posted by: Christina at March 1, 2005 11:46 AM

It is so very true what you say. A woman dating many men is deemed a slut/whore/easy where a man dating many women is somehow a successful stud in the prime of his life. Where on earth did that standard come from?

The reason they didn't kick the boys out of that school you mentioned Kathy is, as Sadie so aptly put it, they were simply spearding their seed in that manly way they have.

Give me a break.

Posted by: silk at March 1, 2005 12:38 PM

Carrie Bradshaw always paid so dearly for her trespasses, didn't she? When Mr. Big's wife discovered the affair, only Carrie was shunned by high society. Big continued relatively unscathed.

Your perspective of the segregated schools and differing consequnces illustrates this inequity quite clearly... It's another good round of the divas!

Posted by: sadie at March 1, 2005 12:53 PM

WOmen who claim to be abnle to enjoy casual sex with no feelings afterwards are liars. Women are biologically different from men -- and it's great that we are! The problem is when men try to be too much like men. What women really gets pleasure from taking a guy home that she barely knows only to have him leave her slutty ass high and dry in the morning? The difference between men and women is that women don't have to take anything they are offered... we have choices... we have POWER. When we act like men we not only abuse ourselves but we also waste our power. Then we are no better than the greedy, shallow men that we end up feeling jaded by!

Posted by: Amy at April 13, 2005 07:00 PM
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