Iconoclasts Anonymous

Inane ravings of an irreverent slacker

Let’s talk about sex

Posted by Jeff on February 19, 2009

As far as men go, I suppose I’m a little strange. I’m not the typical guy who’s going to jump into bed with whatever woman happens to be willing at the time. That’s not to say, however, that I never wasthat guy, but I’m not now. These days I take sex pretty seriously and am not particularly interested in one-night stands or meaningless encounters. Now, what I want to know is this: why is it that women can make a man jump through hoops for months before having sex with him and it’s ok, but when a man chooses to wait it’s horribly insulting?

Allow me to clarify here. Usually if I’m in a situation where coital business is on the table and I turn it down, it’s likely because I actually like the girl and want to be careful in regards to physical interaction. It’s not because I’m uninterested. In fact I would likely not be in that situation to begin with if I weren’t interested. There is also a component of what I know about myself and how I tend to react after the fact to sexual situations that happen too quickly, but that’s a different topic entirely. Yet every time I’ve been the one deciding that it would be a better idea to wait, it’s as if I’ve insulted someones mom or pissed on a communion wafer. Is it really so hard to believe that some men have enough depth of character to not immediately discard reason or consideration at the merest hint of blood flowing in their nether-regions? Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to present myself as some paragon of self-control. I am weak after all.

I’d like to get people’s opinion on this? Why is sex etiquette so one-sided? Why is it accepted knowledge that men have to earn sex whilst women are entitled to it? I personally don’t think anyone should feel like they are entitled to sex with anyone else. I’m sure that there is some psycho-sociological explanation that I’m not clever enough to notice, and no, ‘because men have all the power everywhere else’ is not good enough.

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14 Responses to “Let’s talk about sex”

  1. Dayna said

    Why is it accepted knowledge that men have to earn sex whilst women are entitled to it?

    I’m not saying that I agree this is how it should be, but doesn’t it come down to biology? In our species women are the ones who make the selections in the sexual selection game. After all, we have a limited number of chances to produce offspring so we have to be particular about who we take our chances with. Men, on the other hand, produce gametes practically forever, and are charged with the job of competing for the limited number of female chances (i.e. working for it). It’s kind of akin to the strutting males in different species of birds do, you know? If they do a good job and impress the female, she’ll reproduce with them. If they are not impressive enough, eh. She is allowed to turn them down. But since the goal is to produce as much offspring as possible, maybe it seems natural for men to want to take every opportunity they’ve got. If a woman offers herself up, perhaps it just seems normal that a man would be down with it because he has been selected.

    I know that people don’t think like this since sex is largely not about reproduction. But maybe we’re all still wired with those instincts?

    Plus it’s bogus gender codes.

  2. Jeff said

    Damn Dayna! That’s a REALLY good answer. Makes perfect sense too. The males of the species have ALWAYS had to fight for the ummm… well you know…

    Hmmm… So evolution is to blame.. Damn you Charles Darwin! Damn you!!!

  3. sarah said

    i think there is a lot of risk and emotion behind girls putting themselves (and their bodies) on the line. that is not to say that guys don’t have negative reactions to being rejected, but it could be they are also used to it more, as, like dayna says, evolution is on our side when it comes to being picky. often, when girls put out the signs that they are interested in a guy, just that move takes guts. and for a girl who has rocky self-esteem, if those signs aren’t picked up on or they are ignored or straight rejected, she can strike out in ways that protect her from further emotional harm. whatever the reasons are for a guy not wanting to get busy, a girl is likely to take it personally, like she wasn’t good/cute/skinny etc enough for the damn thug. but i’m just guessing… 🙂

  4. While biological explanations are attractive, and likely have some validity, we also have to remember that there is a long cultural history that comes into play regarding sex.

    Rightly or wrongly, there is a cultural assumption that men are de facto more interested in sex, more willing ot have sex without any further connection to their partner, and more interested in promiscuity than women (and, again, I know that people will provide biological explanations for this, which are no doubt somewhat valid but very often seem aimed more at explaining stereotypes rather than explaining actual behavior). While there is some truth to this stereotype, it is typically over-generalized and assumed to be true of all men at all times.

    So, when you aren’t behaving in a typically male fashion, people assume that it’s not because you as a person don’t meet the stereotype or that the stereotype might be invalid, they assume that it’s because you are rejecting them personally. Believe me, I can understand where you’re coming from, and I know the frustration of this far too well.

  5. In response to Sarah’s comment, everything that you have said about how a woman might perceive the situation is equally true for men. This is what I’m talking about in regards to the stereotypes, there’s an assumption that men and women are feeling so differently that when one fails to live up to the cultural script, they are seen as somehow wrong. In reality, it may be that the script is wrong, and that there is more common ground than distance between men and women.

  6. skepbitch said

    In quick reply to Anthroslug, I would add that the greatest differences are across individuals, rather than across gender. For years, (some) Linguists have tried to describe gender differences in language behavior, without reaching any definitive conclusions.

    “Hard-wiring” as an argument shits me; it’s like the skeptic’s equivalent of ‘intelligent design’.

    If it’s a biological function, it doesn’t serve too much purpose today with birth control options (if you aren’t a Catholic!). I err in favor of nurture on this one.

    To me, it’s a product of social roles, a construct – the hot dude with the tatts (not mentioning any names) is expected to be available and willing to have sex with any willing female. If so willing, any negative outcome is interpreted by the chick as a slight, and perceived as rejection. We do take it personally, regardless of your positive motives, and it all comes down to irrational egos and emotions – Am I too fat? Too ugly?

    My advice: just be upfront about your beliefs and preferences. Many, many women would find this sweet and innocent and romantic.

    If they don’t, you can always just give in… 😉

  7. cheomsky said

    Maybe you should ask Ms. Mateo.

  8. Jeff said

    Wasn’t that the teacher from our middle school that we all had crushes on?? What did she teach again?

  9. Might I simply say: What Skepbitch said!

  10. Kay said

    Hey… not be all annoying and such.. but a few thoughts…

    If a guy says “no thanks” to sex because he isn’t ready for sex… that is one thing and should be treated the same as if it was the girl saying “no thanks” because she isn’t ready.

    I think we can all agree to that.

    What I want to point out is the trap of arrogance and condescension that can happen even when it isn’t intentional.

    And I am taking gender out for a sec, but feel free to assign it if you want.

    A: Let’s have sex
    B: No… let’s wait.
    A: Why?
    B: I respect you too much to sleep with you yet.

    Scenario 2

    A: Let’s have sex
    B: No thanks
    A: Why not?
    B: I think it would be better to wait.

    Both instances can lead to person A feeling insulted and that person B was being a condescending prick… and in my humble opinion should person A be female the likelihood for such feelings gets huge.

    Why?

    Scenario 1: This isn’t about respect. This is person b knowing what is better for person A.. or thinking that they do. No wonder person A will get miffed.

    Scenario 2: Not to bee too picky but when you said in the original post “every time I’ve been the one deciding that it would be a better idea to wait, it’s as if I’ve insulted someones mom or pissed on a communion wafer.” Wait a sec… shouldn’t the sex act be a mutual decision.. not something that one person gets to decide? If you are the condescending, then no wonder the other person might be upset… after all consensual sex should be consensual… and waiting should also be a team decision.

    Why would it affect women more?

    Women have plenty of social hurdles to get over before being able to be the “agressor” in tems of sex. (obviously this isn’t a law of nature, just a general trend.) So if, as a woman, you have finally gotten to the point where you feel powerful enough to be honest about what you want sexually having a guy either “respect” you in this way or decide for you can lead to some major ego smashing and hurt feelings.

    To get to your actual questions:
    “Why is sex etiquette so one-sided?” Nature and nurture baby. And the only way to change this is to continue to break down social norms tht are silly.

    “Why is it accepted knowledge that men have to earn sex whilst women are entitled to it? I personally don’t think anyone should feel like they are entitled to sex with anyone else.” Agreed. Sex isn’t a right, it’s a privilege and should be treated as such. But the idea of earning the privilege of sex being more on the men does go back to the idea that women have more options. Supply and demand.

  11. Jeff said

    Excellent points Kay. I agree that sex should be a mutual decision, but waiting can’t be. If one person is ready to go and the other person isn’t, then you’re waiting. I think it’s better if it’s a team decision because there’s less tension/frustration/whatever, but that situation is, unfortunately, not so common. I guess my question, then, is if I’m not ready for sex for whatever personal reasons, how do I tell someone that without being arrogant and condescending?

  12. Kay said

    By saying “I’m not ready” and avoiding things like “We aren’t ready” or things like what I wrote above.

    (I know people mean well but that “respect” line never ceases to drive me nuts.)

    My advice as someone who has been on both ends of this issue… honesty is usually the best. I’m not ready. Sex is a big deal to me. I want to be more committed to you first. I am not ready for what sex would mean to our relationship. Or whatever the case may be.

    And then be willing to talk about the WHY because chances are she/he will want to understand where you are coming from.

  13. kacyp said

    Truth, no matter the situation, is the answer to all of your woes, dear Jeff. You aren’t an annomoly of the male gender, just a cautious creature with an understanding of the potential worrisome outcomes of some highly complicated Mendel diagrams. This is an acceptable precautionary measure. I believe most of the answers above serve to illustrate perfectly acceptable biological reasons for observed behaviors in women, I just thought I would back you by noting that the fluid in the gene pool gets murkier by the minute… No blaming you for the caution.

  14. Megan said

    “pissed on a communion wafer” is now one of my favorite lines EVER. Totally stealing that and attempting to utilize it, at least weekly.

    This is why I think this is such a common reaction. Women tend to be more sensitive and overanalyzing. While men would take the old “I’m into you but I don’t think it’s a good idea right now” at face value, your average woman would most likely hear “I’m not that into you”, “I’d rather get some sleep and be well rested for work than have sex with you”, or “I have a low sex drive and think your sister is hotter”.

    So I guess the root of my answer? Women are insane.

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