We’re told women want sex as much as men. As far as I can tell, it’s true. So why don’t we see more equality? When somebody is paying for sex, why is it always a man paying? When you go to a singles bar, why is it that more men are so often cruising fewer women instead of the
other way around? And why is asking and trying to get attention the default and expected behavior for men, and a stigmatized sign of being “too desperate” in women?
Why, in other words, are men pushing for sex and women acting as gatekeepers when women want sex as much as men do? Shouldn’t women be pushing and men resisting about as often?
I do push. The reactions suck. Here’s what happens to me, as a woman who pushes for sex. I go out on a series of first dates with guys who want me to be their dream come true. They see one side of me and decide that I have to change my whole life to accommodate their preferences. Guys are really nasty when you are not instantly available to them in any capacity they want. And that means being the perfect level of busy. Because if you have less or more going on than them that is supposed to automatically happen. Your schedule is supposed to give way to theirs.
It’s just assumed. I know chicks do this too. But when chicks expect more time than a guy wants to give she is labeled as “clingy” and too “dependent”. It’s a massive character flaw.
It’s true in some cases and not in others. But near as I can tell most men don’t want sex as much as we’re told men want it. More equality in what? I cannot count the number of married women I know who whine and bitch and moan about not getting enough sex. Once people are trapped in marriage it really is a toss-up who actually wants more sex. It’s immediate access to sex that is less guaranteed. A lot of this is that many women tend to be turned on by different things than men. Often things that take more time and emotional connection to establish. They may want sex, but not right now and not with you.
There is a physical component of need to sex and there is an emotional component. The general norms indicate that men and women have different levels of trust-need in order to have physical attraction. It may be a cultural construct, but we live where we live.
Why are women gatekeepers? Because if they have sex they are often shamed, humiliated, and later violently assaulted for being stupid enough to say yes. If a high school girl says “yes” in any context other than a committed long-term relationship she becomes a slut. Once a girl has the reputation of being a slut she is in active danger. Boys will follow her around and strongly imply, often backed with physical intimidation, that since she said once she is required to say yes again, to him. It is terrifying to open the gates of sex when you are a teenage girl. That road is littered with violence.
Here are some standard non-answers: “men are dogs” or “men are perverts” or “men have no shame.” Those are euphemisms we use for “men show that they want sex, right out in public.” If desire is equal and universal, why is it shameful to say so? If it’s not shameful to say so, why do we use shaming words for people who do?
Here are more standard non-answers: “women aren’t slaves to their base urges.” “Women are too pure for that.” These are actually the same non-answers, phrased passive-aggressively – wanting sex is shameful, and only men do that. That is, also false and also shaming.
Part of this is the idea that pleasure is sinful. We are a religious country whether we want to admit it or not. As a collective group the Judeo-Christian crowd has decided that if men have a little fun on the sly it can be ignored. If a woman does she should be shunned. This is hearkening back to the era where if a girl lost her virginity before marriage she no longer had market worth and she would be treated badly permanently. Even if she lost her virginity through rape. It really is a tough line that women have to walk. We are supposed to constantly appear sexually appealing, because after all if we aren’t sexually appealing we have no intrinsic value, but be careful about not spreading it around. If you spread a commodity amongst too many people it is no longer valuable.
Why Buy the Cow?
We mean that sex should happen in a tight, monogamous bond, preferably marriage. We also mean that women should enforce that — wait for the ring, wait for the commitment, make him buy gifts and act thoughtful and show how much he wants it. Women are thoughtful and give gifts too, of course. But if you look at what gifts cost and who is coercing who, it’s pretty clear that women can strong-arm men much more often than vice-versa.
In fact, sex is considered incredibly valuable for the woman acting as gatekeeper — so valuable that it’s often treated as a woman’s first and most important asset, and not just by men. Women remind each other that he won’t “buy the cow” if you just give sex away — make him earn it with a powerful commitment and many gifts, over and over again.
If sex is that valuable *only for women*, that’s a huge imbalance.
Why are men expected to spend more money? Uhm, maybe because they make more? Maybe because they will permanently, always, be privileged when it comes to being a provider? The purpose of giving gifts in the courting stage is to show that you will be a good provider. Given that many women still feel nervous about being able to provide for themselves financially, it’s a reasonable worry.
Picking the right mate is the difference between a life of luxury or a life of misery. Ask me how I know. What would my life have turned out like if I hadn’t been such a good whore I managed to catch a rich husband?
We don’t like to admit these things in conversation, but actions speak louder than words. We act like sex is a valuable commodity that must be paid for by men. The world’s oldest profession is also one of the most universal. Yes, men can be prostitutes too. But overwhelmingly their clients are other men, not women.
Feminists dispute some of these points – which ones depends on which feminist you talk to or read. But they dispute what *should* be the case more often than they dispute what *is* the case. And many modern feminists believe prostitution is just fine… That when women have
something of such value they should be free to sell it if they want to.
Mostly women don’t know that they have any commodity to sell other than their body. We are not brought up to cultivate our minds. We are not taught business skills. We are not taught how to be successful. We are taught to shut up and suck smoothly. The reason that a lot of women don’t “put out” early on in courting is because when they do they are abandoned. Many men believe that the kind of woman who will put out quickly is one you should despise. You never know until it is too late what kind of man you are sleeping with. It’s a dangerous risk to take.
But isn’t it the Patriarchy or The Man holding women into these rigid roles, and forcing sex to be sold by women? In a word, no.
The Patriarchy is real, alive and well. But why would it enforce roles on women that force men to pay constantly for sex, whether from prostitutes or with constant and expensive gifts to a single wife? If The Man was in charge of this specific effect, wouldn’t he follow the lead of the Middle East and keep a harem or several wives? He’d pay, yes, and continue buying gifts, but the focus on monogamous bonds keeps him from playing one wife against another, inhibits his chances to find dalliances outside his home and generally holds him back if what he wants is constant and uninhibited sex. He has many better models of sex and marriage to choose from than the modern American one if he’s being properly self-serving. The Man may have chosen this from among his various available choices… But women *do* get to restrict his choices, or he’d have made a different one.
Vast cultural differences, that’s why. Although you are fooling yourself if you think that rich men don’t already have this. Not every guy. But enough that it is kind of silly to imply that we actually follow monogamy in this country. American women have learned to put a higher price on themselves. I’m all for it.
Follow the Money
Here’s the question to ask: who benefits? People are often selfless individually, but they’re generally ruthlessly mercenary in groups and over long times. A large group’s habits and customs mostly work to their collective advantage, even when individuals are selfless,
self-sabotaging or self-sacrificing.
Who benefits? Women wind up holding an extremely valuable commodity, and eventually being paid handsomely for it.
Traditionally speaking this was the only means of survival. To act like there is something wrong with it is short-sighted and self-absorbed. Things have changed substantially over the last few generations, but women still have to worry about pregnancy. Women will still bear the burden of work if a man happens to knock them up. You don’t know until it is too late how much responsibility a man will take for his actions. Yes, this is true of women as well, but it is pretty ridiculous to act like the responsibility for the outcome of sex falls primarily on men. No, it’s on women. And men are upset that women don’t sign on for a whole lot more of it? That shows that they aren’t bearing as much cost for the decision.
If a woman chooses to have sex she is going to have to deal with the consequences. Perhaps pregnancy and motherhood. Perhaps an abortion. These are both significant decisions that have lifelong consequences. Men prove early and often that they don’t have to be bound by the same rules. Yes, some men are responsible. What is a woman’s guarantee?
But don’t women lose a lot? Well, if they’re interested in sex, sure. They get less sex. They get less variety in sex. They get partners who are *desperate* for sex, which is not a recipe for *good* sex in the same way that a starving person isn’t going to pay much attention to the effort you lavished into getting the sauce right on the roast lamb.
But then, if sex is held as a commodity in public, desiring it has been defined as weakness. Admitting you *want* sex is already a betrayal. So you’re only losing what it’s now low-class to admit wanting. So everybody “wins”, right?