The hidden cost of sex for women

Katie Jgln often mocks the current heterosexual singles scene. She is bisexual so part of that unhappiness could reasonably be construed as the effect of living in a world into which she does not fit. Normal women might see the situation differently. And I think she misses two major points below.

1). She describes modern-day relationships between the sexes as unequal and oppressive towards women. Most of what she says is probably pretty true in her environment. But it is surely not true of all male/female relationships. There are relationships in which the woman is dominant and some relationships in which men treat women lovingly and considerately.

Negotiation is the secret to getting things right. All human relstionships involve the striking of bargains. They all have to be negotiated in some way. To take a very simple example, a bargain that still exists to this day is one where the wife does most of the housework while the man does various outdoor chores such as taking out the trash.

I am of course neither recommending nor criticising that "bargain". The point is that bargains of that general sort are routinely entered into. Division of labor between men and women goes back deeply into our evolutionary past. And some degree of compromise will be needed for such bargains to be entered into. Large numbers of married couples do succeed in finding agreements that suit them.

So what jiggling Katie is describing is the situation of a woman who has not or cannot find a bargain that suits her. She is far from alone in that. There is much complaint of dating failures

But if individual negotiation cannot deiver a comfortable heterosexual relationship, is there an alternative?

2). There is. What Katie describes is a common modern situation but she appears to miss competely how it all came about. Traditional society once offered a balance of its own. It had all the unequal treatment of women that Katie deplores but it had something else as well. It had ways of treating women which recognized and compensated for inequaity.

I am of course talking about something that feminists fiercely mock: Chivalry towards women. Women did not personally have to negotiate a fair deal with men because men were brought up to believe that they must give women a favourable deal in some ways.

Male violence towards women is a real and great concern for women these days and no-one seems to have found any way of preventing it. The usual hilarious "solution" offered is to tell men to be more like women (!). But violence WAS prevented once -- by the traditional attitude that violence towards women was shameful and a great weakness. Such beliefs were not always effective in protecting women but often they were. Traditional society had answers where the modern world has none.

So the world Katie knows is one where women get treatement that is still unequal but shorn of the protections that once went with it. Feminists took away chivalry and have offered nothing to replace the very important functions it had. Women are much the poorer for that. They still have typical female burdens but none of the support that once went with it.

There are still some men with traditional attitudes. Women would be well advised to seek them out. Feminism has stripped women of important protections and thrown them to the wolves but, fortunately, not all men are wolves. Christians in particular tend to have a traditional orientation

In my notes here about relationships, I often add personal anecdotes by way of illustration of my points. And I am pleased on this occasion to relate that I did personally do very much as recommended above in my own life.

I had a long marriage in which I did nothing about the house while my wife did it all. I seemed to do nothing. Yet at the time she regarded me as the love of her life. Why? What was the bargain involved? What did she get out of it?

Simple. I enabled her to give up work and become a full-time wife and mother. That is about as traditional as it gets. She was also a single mother of three lively kids when I met her so the chance to spend lots of time with her kids was a a huge boon to her. Most mothers want that. I also treated her kids as my own. So a very traditional marriage can be a very good one from the viewpoint of both parties involved.

In an ideal world, hook-up culture would likely work just fine for those who genuinely want to participate in it.

But we clearly aren’t living in one now. At least not yet.

Our society is still saturated with gender inequality, rife with patriarchal double standards and filled with men who are socialised to disrespect and dehumanise women. And all of that, unfortunately, shows up in many aspects of our lives — including hook-ups, relationships and sex in general.

And it’s the reason why there’s a hidden cost of sex for women.

On a societal level, the still existent purity culture implies that women ‘lose’ something while having sex with men, making the social stakes for women to engage in it much higher. Because while for men having a high ‘body count’ is a point of pride, for women, it continues to be a point of shame. And even something that can damage their reputation.

Even if you aren’t religious or don’t subscribe to sexual double standards, you obviously can’t control the fact that many people do and will judge you on it. (Ironically, that often also includes the men who want to sleep with you in the first place.)

Thanks to patriarchal social norms, women also bear most of the financial and health-related costs of birth control. We’re the ones who are expected by our male sex partners — casual or not — to stuff our body with hormones and risk its many side effects, ranging from depression and breast cancer to diabetes.

And then there’s, of course, the fact that depending on where you live, you might not even be able to access it. Or reproductive and sexual health care in general, including emergency contraception and abortions.

Women also face a much greater burden — and more severe health consequences — than men when it comes to getting diagnosed and dealing with sexually transmitted diseases. And it doesn’t exactly help that some straight men — according to some surveys among Millenials, as much as a third — never even got a full STI test, meaning they could be spreading HPV or other infections that rarely cause symptoms without knowing about it.

(Without the HPV vaccine, you might even develop cancer from contracting it. So if you’re a woman who’s never got it and hasn’t done a pap smear in a while, perhaps it’s time to book it now.)

Heterosexual women are also the least likely to orgasm out of… literally everyone else. According to one recent study, while heterosexual men orgasm nearly all the time, and lesbian and bisexual women about 86% and 66% of the time, respectively, heterosexual women only reach orgasms at a 62% rate.

There’s also a far greater taboo around female pleasure than the male one, and both men and women often grow up believing it simply doesn’t matter.

Not to mention that sexual violence and intimate partner violence both affect women disproportionately more than men — according to some global estimates, as many as 1 in 3 women experience it across their lifetime — or that thanks to a myriad of rape culture myths, rape remains one of the least frequently persecuted crimes.

And if all that wasn’t enough, many men now believe that feminism has ‘gone too far’ — in the UK, for instance, half of the young men do — and are being increasingly groomed by violently misogynistic online ‘gurus’ that equate women with…. animals. Or men’s property.


No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments containing Chinese characters will not be published as I do not understand them