According to a recent study from Florida State University, gender equality equals more sex for men and women alike. The researchers found that in countries where gender equality is more common, casual sex and premarital sex are also more common (as well as less frowned upon).
The reasons for this are simple. In countries without gender equality, women have less power and control over their sexual decisions, not to mention, premarital sex and other sexual acts can actually be considered a crime in certain parts of the world.
However, it is more than the threat of physical violence or death that keeps men and women apart. In countries without gender equality, women have few options. They can’t necessarily go to college and get a career. Their only real option is to marry a man who can provide for the family and to accomplish this, they must withhold sex and the promise of children until after the man has committed to her for life.
Of course, in America and in other countries with gender equality, women don’t need a man to support them. Women today have freedoms our mothers and grandmothers never had, including the freedom to embrace our sexuality more openly. We can have one-night stands, booty calls, and casual sex with little fear of judgment or negative reaction.
Although we are very fortunate to be so empowered and independent, I wonder, does gender equality really equal sexual equality?
Not from what I see. Casual sex and one-night stands can be exciting and fulfilling, but men seem to enjoy the lion’s share of the sexual satisfaction. In fact, it is estimated that more than 70% of women cannot reach orgasm from intercourse alone; and when you factor in that alcohol is likely involved in such encounters and that two strangers don’t yet know how to pleasure each other, you have a recipe for disaster...at least for the woman. The man will most likely reach orgasm, but she is left alone, wondering why she went through all the trouble in the first place while he sleeps soundly beside her (or rushes out the door with his pants still unzipped).
The pleasure is often one-sided, and so is the pain. While men are socialized to embrace sexuality and sexual pleasure, women still tend to experience the next-day regret. Not only do they feel embarrassed and used, but they also “catch feelings” easier than guys do. Oxytocin, the cuddle hormone that establishes feelings of bonding and intimacy, works more potently in women’s brains, as they have less testosterone to counteract it. In other words, you might end up falling in love with someone you only wanted to fall in bed with.
These risks aside (along with the risks of STDs and unwanted pregnancy), it is also important to look at why women are so willing to give in to sexual demands. Is it because we are equal and empowered, or is it because we are pressured and frightened to say no? I think it is often the latter, especially for young women in college. There are more women than men in college, and competition for dates is fierce, so if you don’t give it up, you can be almost certain someone else will. Add to this the fact that “everyone is doing it,” and you have a situation in which women feel downright prudish and ridiculous if they don’t want to hop into bed with the drunk guy from their poli-sci class.
Of course, this is the very opposite of what the women’s movement was meant to achieve. The sexual revolution was meant to give women options and put the power back in our hands, but this doesn’t just mean the power to say “yes.” It also means the power to say “no,” and the wisdom to know when and if sex feels right. However, this doesn’t mean that I am against casual or frequent sex, as long as it is physically and emotionally safe and enjoyable for both couples. Sex is a beautiful and precious gift, just not one that you should take lightly or share with someone who doesn’t deserve it.
So, the next time you get a booty call, don’t give in to the pressure until you make sure it’s what you really want to do. And if you don’t, it’s simple enough: Just set your cell phone to “vibrate” and your vibrator to “on.”