A few months back I met someone and actually got to a 3rd date. On the surface, things looked pretty promising. And although things didn’t work out (expect another edition of The Bad Date Chronicles) the real problem existed with my friends. God love ’em, they always have my best interest at heart, but I couldn’t help but discern a whiff, or in some cases a pungent cloud of judgy slut-shaming swirling around me when I told them about this guy. My conversations went as such:
“He sounds fantastic. You better be careful and not sleep with him too soon or this will never turn into anything substantial.”
“Well. OK. We haven’t. I mean…it’s only been 3 dates so…”
“Right, but you should try to hold out as long as you can. I know that’s hard for you. But this one sounds like a keeper!”
Lest we forget, this is the strategy employed by one Anne Boleyn when she was dating the King. And we all know how that turned out for her. While I’m in no danger of losing my (literal) head, I am sort of losing my mind over this. Why is it that, decades after women’s liberation, our sexuality is still being used as a litmus test for our worth as a person and potential relationship partner? Wasn’t the whole point of feminism to judge a woman on the basis of her integrity, her intelligence, and her value to the world and not on her gender and sexuality? And why is it that women are still so quick to judge another woman by the way in which she conducts herself sexually?
Pat Benetar once said that love is a battlefield. I guess that makes my sexuality my weapon, the cudgel by which I can stun, subdue and capture the enemy. But what if I don’t want to use it that way? I don’t see men as an enemy that I need to conquer. Look, I will freely admit to anyone that will listen that I love sex. I love it. I feel like, even though I am well into my 30’s, I just discovered it and just figured out how it works. If I feel comfortable with someone, comfortable with the situation I’m in and am being safe and healthy about it, I will engage in sexual activity of whatever nature I happen to prefer at the time. That’s how I roll. I don’t want to think of how I can parlay this (insert sexual act of choice here) into something else. I want to have sex for sex’s sake. Because it’s fun, and enjoyable and life-affirming. And gosh darnit it just feels awesome and I just realized I was capable of things that I thought only happened in the movies. Isn’t trading or using sex to get something else just another form of prostitution?
After gently and respectfully making these points, the conversation took this delightful turn:
“So, what can I do? Am I allowed to…”
“Oh no, don’t do that. He’ll think you do that with everyone.”
“Ok, so what about…”
“No, not that! Especially not that. He’ll never want you to be his girlfriend if you do that.”
Which brings me to my next point. Men – you aren’t getting off the hook here. I have many bones to pick with you as well. If a woman puts out “too soon” why does that preclude her from being relationship material? What the heck is too soon anyway? If you suspect that she has been around the block a few times, why is that such an issue? How, exactly, is one supposed to pick up the skills necessary in order to be proficient sexually if they have not gone out into the world and gained experience? After all, practice does indeed make perfect. If you’ve been on the receiving end of some particularly stunning sexual act, you should be calling up the lady’s past partners and thanking them for letting her practice and perfect her art.
This dynamic played itself out recently on an episode of Jersey Shore, which is a fascinating study of male-female dynamics and sexuality. It is also trashy and escapist, but I digress. In short, the men on this show are total sluts. They objectify women routinely (females deemed as non-attractive are designated as “grenades”) and bring home random women for sexual trysts on a regular basis. Yet, when one of the girls (Snooki, the fabulous little one) does the very same thing, she is rejected by her crush Vinny who himself had JUST DONE THE VERY SAME THING. Now, I realize that using Jersey Shore to make my point may not be the wisest thing to do, but these children are our future. And these backwards notions of female sexuality are still alive and well.
Does it suck when you sleep with someone and they never call back? Sure it does. Even though I’m a slut, I’m still a human being believe it or not. I do have feelings. But when it does happen, I pick myself up, dust myself off and start all over again. Because I realize that if a man is going to judge me based on my sexuality, he is not the kind of man who I want to be with. Period. End of discussion. Does that mean the number of men that I may be able to have a relationship with is smaller for me than for a non-slut? Perhaps. I am OK with this. There’s just no room in my life to hide, to compromise, to ever feel less-than because of who I am. I spent the last decade of my life doing that and it’s a place I intend to never return to.
When it comes to relationships, how the other person treats you, how they respect you and makes you feel about yourself are far more important than on which date you were able to slide into home plate. Read that last sentence again. Once more. Ok, now repeat it. Learn it. Internalize it. Now, go forth sluts (male and female alike), and conquer the world!
P.S. – What happened to this guy? I ended up NOT sleeping with him. And he never called me back for a 4th date. Guess I should have just gotten it while the getting was good!