The virgin-slut complex

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November 14, 2013

11:17 PM

When it comes to sexual activity, there is a strict balance between too little and too much. Either you are sexually active or you aren’t, and, either way, you’re facing criticism. This can be said for both men and women. Ever notice how embarrassed a guy may appear to feel when speaking of his virginity? Ever wonder why some girls insist that they will keep their V-cards until marriage? It is because they will be criticized for their sexual decisions, no matter what choice is made.

Guys who aren’t sexually active may feel incompetent: It’s in the basic evolutionary nature of males to procreate in order to save the human race, right? No pressure. Don’t worry, guys, because for every guy ashamed of his virginity, there is a girl who’s being called a prude for refusing to give up her V-card, many of whom may be left feeling undesirable and unwanted. Take it from someone who understands the struggle: There may be times when you’re left sitting alone watching romantic comedies wondering why a soaking wet Ryan Gosling isn’t ripping your clothes off at that very moment.

Then there’s the other end of the spectrum: too much. Among guys, those who are “pulling” girls get the praise. For these guys, sex is an accomplishment. If you’re bringing a girl home with you that night, you’re seen as competent. However, girls think sexually active guys are trouble. We’ve all heard it before: “Stay away from him, he’s a player.” Why do we dismiss these guys simply because they’ve had sex with other partners? If you ask me, they’re only trouble when they’re messing with girls in relationships. If not, it’s all fair game. Why should being a frequent flyer tarnish your image so negatively?

While everyone suffers from this dichotomy, I believe women have it worse than men. While guys undergo feelings of shame and embarrassment when admitting to maintaining their virginity, women struggle with the expectation to remain ladylike and pure. We’re encouraged to cherish our virginity in order to maintain our respectability. The irony is that you can never please everyone. If you’re a virgin, you’re labeled a prude. I once had a hall mate who was dancing at a party until the guy with whom she was dancing was pulled aside and told not to waste his time since “she’s a prude.” So, are we to assume the solution is to have sexual experience? Sadly, it’s not that simple. Once a woman begins having sexual relations with men outside of a relationship, she crosses over to the other side of the dichotomy, which is promiscuity. Women having sex outside of a relationship are labeled “easy” and “slutty.”

Is there a middle ground? For many, the answer is a monogamous relationship. People feel safe from judgment when in a relationship. Sorry to break it to you, but even then you’re not out of the red. If you’re thought to be having too much sex in a relationship, rumors may start circling that he’s obviously only with you for the sex. Not having enough sex? There’s obviously something wrong in your relationship.

In short, you can’t win.

Mariana D. is a Behind Closed Doors columnist and definitely isn’t Googling pictures of a sopping Ryan Gosling.

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  • Mariana D