Repressive Female Sex Culture

“After I’ve just gotten laid, the first thing I think about is that I can’t wait to tell my crew who I just did. Omigod, they’re not going to believe I just did Kristy. They’ll all be high-fiving me.”

Guys routinely celebrate having sex. The messages they give each other pretty much translate to, “Sex is great! And more is better!” 

But what do women hear? 

After anticipating “high-fives” for his sexual success, the young man above adds: “And Kristy? She’ll probably ask me not to tell anyone, to protect her reputation.” 

Men and women receive very different messages about sex. 

In fact, the term “hookup” is deliberately ambiguous. It can mean anything from kissing to intercourse. So if a guy says he hooked up, he’s hoping other guys think he went “all the way.” But if a girl hooks up, she hopes her friends hear, “I kissed him.” 

At one northeastern college, men returning to the fraternities after a night at the dorms are said to be strolling the Walk of Fame. But women returning to the dorms from a frat are taking the Walk of Shame. 

A few years back a fraternity at Dartmouth published the names of all of the women the brothers had had sex with, making disparaging comments about them. 

Is sex something to avoid? Something dirty? Or something to pursue with a vengeance? It all depends on whether you’re male of female. 

When it comes to sex, men are celebrated but women risk punishment. 

Many think sexual repression is not a problem in our society – that these notions never reach the subconscious. Yet women can come to turn off sexual feeling, whether they realize it or not. Not feeling can be safer. 

Sex therapist, Lonnie Barbach, says that highly repressive societies create women who have difficulty climaxing, while women in non-repressive societies have regular and satisfactory orgasms.  

In 1972, when women were more penalized than they are today, a Playboy foundation survey found that more than half of single women under age 25 found their first sexual experience neutral or unpleasant. Only 20% found sex highly pleasurable.

Things may not be as bad today. Indiana University’s recently released sex survey found that 58% of women in their 20s had had an orgasm the last time they had sex. But when that compares with 96% of their male counterparts, we see the tell-tale signs of continuing repression.

But really, should we be surprised?  

Men who slut-shame don’t seem too worried that women won’t enjoy sex with them. After watching sex-craved porn stars, and thinking that accurately reflects women’s sexuality, perhaps they assume women can’t help but come back for more. No matter what.  

Some will interpret my observation that men are more sex-positive and more promiscuous as prescribing male behavior to everyone. As one reader put it“But I don’t want to run around like a tart!”

Actually, I want to have a conversation about the positives and negatives of so-called men’s and women’s ways of doing sex. It is certainly not better to treat people like currency – the more you bang the higher your status. But what can women learn from men, and what can men learn from women? 

Georgia Platts 

Sources: Lonnie Barbach. For Yourself. Anchor. 2000; Michael Kimmel. Guyland. Harper. 2008

Related posts on BroadBlogs  DO Women Like Sex Less Than Men? 
Sex Lessons from Mom and Dad   “Cock” vs “Down There” 
Sex: Who Gets Screwed?    Are Women Naturally Monogamous?
Surprises in Indiana University Sex Survey

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on October 13, 2010, in feminism, gender, men, sex and sexuality, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. What seems interesting to me is that the guys wants to use the fact that Kristy “let him” to show off to his friends. Like, she validated him, increased his status. But a girl wouldn’t normally say to her girlfriends, “that guy couldn’t resist going to bed with me”, I am so awesome and cool. That would be just ridiculous, because it is seen as sort of a baseline that men would want sex with you, there’s nothing special in it, nothing to brag about. If you start bragging about it, it means you had a pretty low opinion of yourself to begin with, you did not expect him ot want you. Instead, women tend to be validated by men wanting RELATIONSHIPS with them, isn’t that so?

  2. I think it is sad that when women are very sexual and enjoying it they are sluts, but when men are they are looked up to. I can remember in highschool there were a few guys who everyone knew had sex a lot and they were really cheered on for it. Any girl that these guys had sex with became “whores”. I do think this changes to some degree as we grow up but like the blog says, women keep it in the back of their minds and it really does affect some women and their sexual preformance.

  3. From a women’s perspective, I think that men only want to get laid. They need to feel accepted among their social groups and in order to do so they need to hook-up and “go all the way.” I do agree with the post ahead saying that it may just be covering up men insecurities but what men don’t realize is how the women feel.
    Women feel all different sorts of emotion after having sex. When I read that first portion of the post where the guy couldn’t wait to tell his friends, I just thought after sex that has never been a thought that ran through my head. When you meet new people and you start getting to know them sex is a big topic. Many people want to
    know how many partners. Every guy friend I have ever known has willingly say whatever their number may be. While my girlfriends still wont let it out because it is shamed upon.
    I think women need to be treated with the same respect that men get because we are human to and sex isn’t something to avoid. It is something everyone should experience, but the way it is viewed in society makes people no want to enjoy and make it more like a contest. Not saying all men are out there for the glory of adding to their number, because some definitely are not, but it needs to be socially accepted that women can have sex too!

  4. Since I have never shared with someone else when I “got laid” or “scored”, and I can’t remember anytime when men I have known have done so either, I can’t really speak to what’s in the mind of men who exhibit this behavior.

    I can only guess that… given the rampant sexual images we all receive, and the image of “manhood” that is associated with having sex, it may well be that for one who does not really feel confident about who they are, this boasting about sexual conquest is some men’s way of demonstrating (mostly to themselves) that they finally qualify as “ok” as men, having now achieved what they think is the defining characteristic of being a man. So it may be that this is their way of covering up basic internal insecutirties. Only guessing.

  1. Pingback: Stephen Fry: Only Men Truly Like Sex | BroadBlogs

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