After reading Amber’s post a few weeks ago, I had a few thoughts that I wasn’t focused enough to comment on. This being a holiday weekend in the states, I’m still not sure that I’m actually focused, but here goes.
I think that it’s really harmful to think that there is one set of rules that should apply to all women (or all men, for that matter) in the way that they should act. I’m sure there are women out there who maybe shouldn’t sleep with their guy early in their relationship for a myriad of reasons. But there are also women who for whatever of reason, want to experience that early on. Who, but those two people in that situation, should tell them when they “should” do something that is just between them? What if the sex is really terrible, in a I-don’t-want-to-put-forth-the-effort-to-teach sort of way? Wouldn’t it be better to know that sooner rather than later? What if the sexy time leads to a deeper and stronger relationship?
What if you’re not ready to get married, or looking for someone who is marriage material? There was a very long time when I wasn’t ready for marriage, but I was doing the sex, because it was enjoyable. Thinking back on those years, I think I learned a lot about myself, who and what I was going to open myself up to, what I would someday want in a long-term partner, etc. The idea of waiting until marriage, was for me, laughable. And it’s insulting to think that because I was sleeping with someone I wasn’t able to see their flaws. If that was the case, I think I’d still be hung up on a high school boyfriend, or in a few unhappy marriages.
I certainly don’t judge anyone who decides to take their time, I just think that everyone should do what is right for them, and prescribing a lot of reason why women can’t separate lust from love is insulting. (What about men? In my experience, men can start to think that the sex is more than sex – even when there have been conversations about the fact that it will just be sex!)
Perhaps (and I’m no anthropologist) there were reasons why back in the day women had to wait until marriage to have sex. Because they were getting married while they were still teenagers? Because working was more taboo, so raising children without a husband, an obvious risk of those days since contraception was non-existent or frowned upon, was a bigger challenge? I’ve heard that the A in Hawthorne’s The Scarlett Letter could sometimes actually be a boon to a women in society because then the other men knew that she was fertile.
Anyway, to wrap this all up, I think that by trying to slut-shame other women, we’re doing ourselves a disservice. Of course there are women who fall into the same patterns and can’t see that what they’re doing is harmful to themselves in the long run, but I think it’s a much more useful conversation to frame it that way instead of suggesting that there is a way in which most women should lead their lives. Attempting to say that the way I lived my life in the past won’t get me what I want (sleeping around won’t find you a husband…) is a little insulting. I’ve lived, I’ve laughed, I’ve hurt, and I think I’ve learned a lot about myself along the way. I personally think that’s more important then holding out for a man who’s “right” for me.