Women Who Like Sex
No one ever told me I wasn't supposed to like sex. I knew I wasn't supposed to have sex until I was married, but that was a potentially forgivable crime. What I really wasn't supposed to do was get pregnant -- I think I knew that before my tenth birthday. But as far as pleasure went, no preset limits existed. So when I actually became sexually active I was not surprised that I really, really enjoyed it.
I was not surprised that I fantasized about sex with frequency and sought partners whose sexual prowess equaled (or surpassed!) their intellectual merits. Then a strange and inexplicable thing happened: I started talking to other women about sex. Some of them liked it, some of them didn't, but there was this unexpected sub-group of women who enjoyed sex but felt guilty for doing so. I was dumbstruck. I didn't understand where all of this guilt was coming from. Then I started to panic. Should I be feeling guilty? Is there something dirty or perverse about craving carnal pleasure?
No. No, no, no, and we shouldn't be suckered into feeling that way just because we're girls. I acknowledge that there was a time when women found it more difficult to enjoy sex: the Dark Ages, when reliable methods of contraception were not widely available, abortion was illegal and it was okay for a man to drag a woman around by the hair.
It is difficult to enjoy sex if you are worried about some of its potentially undesirable consequences, ranging from pregnancy to an unwelcome emotional investment in someone you may hardly know. But we've come along way with this stuff. Birth control is reasonably accessible and sex no longer requires a formal introduction, much less monogamy. Sex can be what sex always was on its most basic level--pleasure in its purest form. It doesn't have to be a guilty pleasure.
People get caught up in what they should be doing versus was they actually are doing. Maybe our ultimate goal as human beings should be a stable, monogamous relationship suitable for procreation (although I have some qualms with this theory...) However, that certainly doesn't mean we can't have our hands in the cookie jar while we're preparing a savory yet nutritious meal. If we can't enjoy sex while searching for our soul mates then how are we going to impress them with our sexual repertoire once we actually do find them? How do we meet them if we're sitting at home, practicing chastity?
There is a resistance against women who like sex, one that might be more closely intertwined with patriarchy than our comfort levels will allow us to admit. A woman who likes sex is a dangerous entity for she might actually want to have sex with someone besides her husband. She might actually say something if her husband is so wrapped up in his own pleasure that he does not concern himself with hers. She might actually leave a man like this, might have an affair, or else masturbate, or explore lesbianism, or find a hundred other ways to empower herself.
While these patriarchal views are not the ones of my current social circle (thank heavens), they are reflected in many parts of our current society -- one can see how women might find some advantages to appearing sexually repressed. The guilt we are still struggling with today is inherited from our mothers, their mothers, and their mothers before them. If they admitted to enjoying sex, they were classified as whores and their families' reputations were called into question. We don't have to pay these prices today. We may have to deal with the occasional man who is intimidated by a woman who knows what she wants between the sheets, but we can usually weed those guys out before they even loosen up their neckties.
RECOMMENDED READING FROM THE PSYSTORE:
For Yourself: The Fulfillment of Female Sexuality
by Lonnie Garfield Barbach
Our Price: $6.29
"An excellent, reassuring book for women and their partners. It carries the woman along step-by-step in the rediscovery of her own sexuality and the pleasure it will bring her. Liberated or not, single or married, young or old, all women will find this book accessible and supportive." -- From the Publisher
For a selection of books on this topic, visit the Psystore.