Enjoyment for all

By Lauren Vincent

A man’s worth is not measured by his ability to resist his sexual urges.

So why should a woman’s be?

I’ve heard the term “slut” thrown around far too many times in this so-called progressive society. Only in a small handful of these cases has the recipient of the insult been male. When it was, it was usually prefaced by the word man, much like in the word “man-purse,” which is used because it implies that a purse is something feminine – just as the words “slut” seems to be. In none of these cases was the word used with the intention of seriously insulting the man or calling into question his morals or intelligence.

We are all sexual beings – both females and males alike. Neither likes pleasure more than the other as a general rule. So why do we react to sexually active females differently than sexually active males?

I’ve recognized this double standard since I knew what sex was. I’m sure everyone has heard it before, and I’m sure many are growing tired of it. But it hasn’t gone away, and it doesn’t look like it will any time soon.

The very fact that there are events in this country called purity balls, where teenage daughters make virginity pledges to their fathers and “promise to protect their mind, body and soul by remaining pure,” is an illustration of this very problem. There are apparently no male versions of these events.

I’m tired of hearing how progressive our society is. In what way is this progressive? Telling your daughter that all she has to offer is her virginity, so if she gets to the altar without it, her marriage will not be meaningful? Or that no man will want her if she’s already had sex – and well, that’s just the worst thing that could possibly happen to her.

First, let’s step away from the belief that men only want sex and women only want love and commitment. It’s ridiculous to imply that while women can and must control their sexual temptations, men’s libidos are out of their control. Furthermore, it is insulting to both sexes. Women and men are not wired differently when it comes to sex. This is made obvious through same-sex relationships. Does lesbianism only exist within relationships because women never want sex purely for pleasure? Clearly not. And how can homosexual men form loving relationships if sex is all that’s on their minds?

Sex does not cloud the mind of a healthy person and prevent that person from acting reasonably – whether they are of either sex. The act of consensual sex should be treated as what it is for both sexes: enjoyable and a natural part of life. We can’t go around berating one sex for enjoying it as much as the other. There’s nothing about consensual sex that is malicious or ill-intentioned, so why does it bring out these feelings toward the woman for observers?

These inequalities are deeply rooted in our history, and are far from absent in today’s world. They continue to be upheld by the use of the word “slut” and “whore” in degrading a female’s character. Imagine a world where women’s sexuality is as socially acceptable as men’s. Now imagine a world where men and women could do the exact same job and get the exact same salary. It’s the same world, but unfortunately, we haven’t made it there yet.

We can’t call our society progressive until we all have stopped using a woman’s decision to hookup with someone who she is not committed to as an indication of her character. If we are still calling her “stupid” and assuming that she was trying to find a relationship in a misguided way, or that she is unusual in her desire to have sex with no strings attached, yet we don’t attribute these qualities to men who do the same, we cannot claim that we consider both sexes equal.

There are certainly many people out there who respect a woman’s decision to have sex outside of marriage. We wouldn’t have shows like “Sex and the City” if this weren’t true. But if society as a whole was accepting of this, we also wouldn’t have outcry against the show for having its female characters sleep with various men throughout the series. There wouldn’t be an episode titled, “Are We Sluts?” I haven’t seen the all-male cast of “Entourage” asking themselves this question, and I’m sure if they were real people, the thought wouldn’t have crossed their minds either. Did it cross yours?

We still have a long way to go toward gender equality. We may be moving, but we’re moving slowly, and the more we cry out about the persistence of women engaging in casual hookup behavior, the more we’ll remain in place. That’s not progress.

Lauren Vincent is a Collegian columnist. She can be reached at [email protected]