_Warning: The content of The Flat Hat’s Daily Grind blog contains adult themes and explicit language. Please contact the editor-in-chief if you have questions or concerns._
After about two months of writing for this blog, I’d have to say I’m really enjoying it. Brainstorming topics, hearing friends’ hilarious stories, seeing my tiny black and white head shot in the newspaper. Most of all, I’ve definitely been loving the positive feedback. However, my last post on awkward sex received some mixed reviews, to say the least. Now obviously, some of these comments really pissed me off. The commenter going by the username “Anonymous” makes some strong assumptions and judgments about my love life. But after a sorority-wide bitch session, I found that the implications of these comments really stuck to me, and also gave me pause to think.
It’s become a little cliched to explore that common double standard in society — boys who hook up a lot are legit while girls who do it are sluts. I think for the most part this stems from the way we seem to define masculinity and femininity. Women are so frequently bombarded with indicators that to be a complete person we need to look a certain way and act a certain way that it becomes easy for us to think a certain way about ourselves. All signs, subconscious and blatant, point towards looking to men for validation of our worth. Women need men, but men only need themselves. This means that when a guy runs some serious train he’s just doing it for kicks, but a girl who does it is desperate. Her promiscuity indicates that she is willing to find approval from anyone, and so we judge her.
I would file a good number of guys I’ve dated and hooked up with under the heading of “tool.” I didn’t care that they were jerks, either because I couldn’t initially see that or I chose to accept them for their faults. I ignored early signs that I wasn’t going to be treated well or appreciated in exchange for companionship. This pattern ended over the summer with my amazing boyfriend who paid for everything, called me at least five times a day and even cleaned out my trash dump of a car. He was perfect and loving until things didn’t go his way. Then the insults, both laughable and biting, would come flying at me. I let him do it because I knew he was just saying these things out of anger. When you “know” someone is a good guy, it becomes second nature to ignore their bad behavior. This guy was the worst, but he is also just one example.
Despite all the crap, I’m glad I’ve had my share of negative experiences. Now I know what I want and how to spot it. I also know what the deal breakers are. Believe me when I tell you that the early detection of a douche who only subtly displays his true colors is an art that I have mastered. I know the difference between making a sexually- or relationship-oriented decision that I am comfortable with and one that I will regret.
I make decisions on sex based on the gratification of the act alone, not because I need validation. I mean, frankly, I highly doubt the reasons a guy would have sex with me are any reflection of his judgment of my character, so I don’t see how hooking up with them could make me feel bad or good about myself. I know what I want to get out of any kind of relationship, and that control and understanding is the defining feature of my sexuality.
Everyone is constantly in the process of making this journey. Our moral opinions on sex set the context for the decisions that ultimately come to shape our sexuality. The resulting spectrum ranges between people saving themselves for marriage and people who say, “You know what? I’m a ho and I love it.” It also ranges from straight to gay to not even giving gender a second thought.
I spoke to a number of people about this topic; I wanted to explore perspectives on sex different than my own. I found that for any one viewpoint there was someone else who held a totally opposite idea. Sex is fine outside of relationships; sex should only happen after a couple months of dating. Sex can be an emotionally weighted act or you can be completely emotionally disconnected. Or sex might not just be an act to you; you might consider it as a part of who you are and having sex with someone means losing a piece of yourself to them. Your sexuality can be defined by the decisions you make, but it can also be defined by plenty of other influences like your maturity level, your lifestyle, your past relationships or your expectations for future relationships. The way we approach sex is our own interpretation of our collected experiences.
I guess my real point is that there are infinite ways to think about sex. You know, I think that is my favorite thing about writing this blog is that I get to explore my own opinions on sex, and in the process learn so much about other people’s opinions too. I share my own thoughts and stories, so other people can start doing the same. It’s easy to judge something you don’t understand. Sex is pretty mysterious I guess, but talking about sex is the beginning of accepting sexualities that are different from yours. Everyone should be able to bone (or not bone) who they want, how they want. There are so many ways to approach sex that I don’t see how anyone with a judgmental attitude thinks they have ground to stand on. It just reveals how little you understand about sex.