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Losing Virginity Is Good… No Biggie… Shameful

Artemis, the virgin goddess

Artemis, the virgin goddess

By Anna Oseguera 

About a year ago I was talking with a friend of mine, “Maria,” and the topic of sex and virginity came up. Maria said that when she was 18 years old a male friend of hers offered to “do her the favor” of taking her virginity.

That puzzled us. “Do her the favor” of taking her virginity?

Did he think that she couldn’t find anyone to have sex with because he thought she wasn’t attractive enough? And why would she want to lose her virginity, anyway? Isn’t virginity a good thing? Something to be saved until marriage? Read the rest of this entry

Men, Bitches and Bimbos 

Girl talks to guy at barIn high school I had the kind of thinking like she’s either a “bitch” or a “bimbo.”

My friends and I would go to a bar and get some drinks and maybe a buddy would “drink up” the courage to talk to a girl. If she rejected him we automatically labeled her a bitch. But if she stayed and conversed for a while, and if she started dancing with him, we labeled her a slut.

I honestly did not realize how horrible my thinking was until we started talking about these issues in class.

Read the rest of this entry

How’s The Double Standard Make Sense? 

Emma Stone in "Easy A"

Emma Stone in “Easy A”

People often ask:

How does the double standard make sense?

Men can’t have sex with women unless women have sex with men.

And, how is it fair that guys can have lots of sex — and be rewarded, in fact — but women are shamed if they behave in the same way. It’s crazy.

Logically, it doesn’t make sense.

But if you want to create a patriarchy that values and privileges men over women, the double standard helps to create that world. Read the rest of this entry

Casual Sex Distresses Women?

The double standard

The double standard

Women who do casual sex are, on average, more distressed than other women.

Men who do casual sex are, on average, more confident than other men.

That’s what sociologists, Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker, found as they researched their book, Premarital Sex in America.

That means the double standard is neither good nor bad. It just is. They say. Read the rest of this entry

Evolutionary Psych’s Double Standard

The double standard.

The double standard.

Evolutionary psychology says the sexual double standard dwells within our genes: men are naturally polygamous and women are naturally monogamous.

It can’t be helped.

Unfortunately, the theory harms women’s sexuality. And unnecessarily, because the theory has some problems. Read the rest of this entry

Be… But Don’t Be… Pretty, Girly, Sexy

The sexual double-bind: damned if you do, damned if you don't.

The sexual double-bind: damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

By Caitie Adler

In my kindergarten mind girls were beautiful and boys were tough. And since girls were beautiful, I was beautiful.

By middle school things looked a lot more complicated.

I’d learned that girls should be pretty. And I tried to be. But there was a downside.  Read the rest of this entry

Dear Daughter, Have Lots of Great Sex

tumblr_lhpj4ofBpn1qbhh33o1_500[1]Maybe you’ve seen this “rule for dating my daughter”:

I’m sure you’ve been told that in today’s world, sex without utilizing some kind of ‘barrier method’ can kill you. Let me elaborate: when it comes to sex, I am the barrier, and I will kill you.”

That guideline, along with nine others, went viral a while back.

Sounds par for the course, as they say. That’s part of the problem.

In other times and places dads may literally kill someone when their kids have sex – usually their own daughters. In these honor killings honor lies in hateful murder, not in loving (or at least fun-loving) sex.

On the other hand how does this sentiment strike you?

Dear daughter, I hope you have some awesome sex.

Read the rest of this entry

Lose Virginity, Lose Self-Esteem?

When women lose their virginity, they can lose self-esteem, too, experiencing a small drop. That’s what a recent Penn State study reveals.


Women college students were surveyed over time. Before sex the women felt increasingly good about their bodies. But after first sex they felt worse. Looks like when they’re in bed women start worrying about whether they look good enough. Masters and Johnson tagged the phenomenon of watching yourself from a third person perspective instead of focusing on sexual sensations or your partner, “spectatoring.”  Women are much more prone, being the objectified. Then, feeling they don’t measure up, self-worth drops.

Other usual suspects may also affect self-esteem, including the double standard that provokes worries about labels like slut and whore. Tracy Clark-Flory over at points to a 1995 study that found “women were significantly more likely to report that their first sexual experience left them feeling less pleasure, satisfaction, and excitement than men, and more sadness, guilt, nervousness, tension, embarrassment, and fear.” Even now women continue to experience that bind.

The double standard strikes again when women feel used, unappreciated, and worried about reputations after short flings or one-night stands.

Meanwhile, a study I recently posted finds 35% of women in strong partnerships feeling sad, anxious, restless, or irritable, after sex. Researchers don’t know why. Commenters, speculating on their own experience with the phenomenon, fingered sexual repression or difficulties with orgasm (which are related to repression) as culprit.

Studies repeatedly find that women are less likely than men to enjoy sex. Other research suggests the problem is not biologically based, or inevitable. Women in sex-positive cultures enjoy sexuality a great deal.

We are going to have to move beyond sexism for women to reclaim their sexuality. That would benefit both women and men.

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Did Slut-Shaming Kill Phoebe Prince?

Guys aren’t threatened by other guys’ successes with women. When a guy “scores,” men celebrate all around. But women are different. Slut-shaming was not the sole factor in 15-year old Phoebe Prince’s suicide, but it seems to have played a part.

According to Jezebel, Phoebe had been depressed before the bullying began. She missed her absent father, had been self-mutilating, and had attempted suicide after a broken relationship.

But slut-shaming played a role, too. Many girls at South Hadley High began calling Phoebe a slut, a whore, and a cunt because she sought attention from older guys at the school and had been close to, or involved with, some young men who the girls at South Hadley were also interested in.

Why are women threatened by women who are attractive to men, yet men celebrate men who are attractive to women?

While men can actively pursue women, women must take a more indirect course of action. Might the more passive power of feminine beauty cause women to feel less powerful, less secure, and more threatened?

More likely, women and men simply know how they’re supposed to think in this culture. And what they’re supposed to think is that men who get women are studs, but women who do the same are sluts.

The word slut then becomes a handy weapon. It’s pretty sad to use a weapon that has been used to control women, and that could be easily turned on themselves.

While women punish each other for success with the opposite sex, what’s with the high-fives among men?

Women never worry about proving that they are truly women. But men must constantly prove their manhood. Perhaps by flattering the success of high-status men a guy creates a sense of brotherhood with them. They become one of the guys. And in this brotherhood their manhood is assured.

Whatever the reason for the difference between men and women, it is pretty sad that slut-shaming can kindle suicide.

Georgia Platts

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