I’m not going to be having casual sex anymore.
Casual sex could be so much more if people allowed it to be. A disillusioned 18 year old self hadn’t envisioned the amount of deceit, sexism and general negative association that entangled the otherworld of casual sex. I had thought that casual sex was sex minus love, which I was totally cool with. Not that I felt I wasn’t deserving of love, I just didn’t need it for the time being. I was too horny and too curious to wait for love. I mean, what was I supposed to do? Keep my legs closed until someone loved me? Screw that bullshit.
Unfortunately for me, a lot of the men I hooked up with, or people that I knew, thought casual sex was:
What one does when they wanted to cheat on their wife
The same as not paying a prostitute for her services
Where one turns to when their girlfriend isn’t in town
Something one can’t tell their friends about
No holds barred when it comes to “dirty talk”
When men don’t have to think about pleasing her
Silly me. Apparently the equation is: casual sex = sex – love – trust – honesty – respect. Math never was my forte.
I didn’t (and still don’t) understand why it must be so. Why can’t it just be something two consenting adults do when they are attracted to each other, but not in love with each other? I also don’t understand where people got the idea that women place meaning on sex, when men, by far, do this more often. Sex should just be sex, but to men, it’s way more than that. It’s either something you do with a good girl/virgin (eliciting a certain code of conduct) or something you do with a bad girl/whore (eliciting a certain code of conduct).
I haven’t been in love before, but I can say with near certainty that regardless of whether I’m in love with someone or not, when I’m having sex with another person, my goal is always to do what I can (and am comfortable with) to please that person. They are a human being no more or less worthy of, in the very least, respect.
Having said that, I have had some good times. I’ve had some really great sex with some really amazing men so I don’t want to paint all men with the same brush. I just wish more of them existed.
Alex, from Europe. I met him and discovered that he was in town for only a few month. I’d show him different places of the city, then he’d show me to his bed. The person in the apartment next to Alex hated us. I knew this because I’d hear the person crank up the volume of their stereo to drown out my screaming. But it wasn’t just the sex that was great. It was refreshing to finally meet a guy who had a healthy attitude about sex. He didn’t believe in the word “slut”. He liked to cuddle afterwards (I didn’t but I indulged him on occasion). When I told him I didn’t want to have anal sex, he didn’t take that as a cue to try harder to convince me otherwise.
He told me that he found people here, in Canada and the US, to be sexually repressed. I agreed with him. Maybe the problem isn’t me after all. I’m not crazy for having these ideals… I just need to move to Europe.
If casual sex worked, I’d keep doing it. The idea of having sex with someone I hardly know is a tremendous turn on. And there’s none of the game playing that comes with dating. I say, if you want to do someone, do him/her. If you’re not ready to do someone, then by all means wait. It should be that simple. No need for the naming calling and value judgements.
I don’t want to be sitting in a rocking chair, at 80 years old, and think to myself “Why didn’t I screw more people?”.
Casual sex can be fun, and honestly, if I had a daughter I would her that. But I’d also tell her that like everything in life, there is always a catch.
Anyway, I’m not having casual sex anymore. I can be a stubborn person, and 10 years later I’m seeing how stubborn I have been. I didn’t want to give in, to give up, to relinguish control of this otherworld to men. It was like walking outside at night to me: a part of me was doing it exactly because I wasn’t supposed to. And that’s no reason to be having sex. Well… it is, but what am I proving? And who am I proving it to? Myself?
And besides: men don’t care. I hated typing that, but it’s true. Men don’t care because they benefit from the status quo. They continue to use sexist language and do sexist things because it helps preserve their need for virgin vaginas. And I alone can’t fight that. I especially can’t fight it when so many women believe these sexist attitudes themselves.
I used to work for the Gift Registry department at The Bay (and if you’re familiar with my previous posts, you can definitely see the sad comedy in that). Anyway, a male coworker made a comment about not wanting to date “a used bicycle”, to which a female coworker starting laugh hysterically. I turned my back, pretending to rearrange some stemware as I blinked back tears. Me, and women like me, had just been likened to used goods. I’m not a thing. I’m a person. And why is it okay to categorize women as new or used goods? And how did she think this was funny? She obviously believed that men had more rights to expressing their sexuality than women did as well.
This reminds of the commodity versus performance model of sex. Thomas Macaulay Millar distinguishes between the two in Yes means Yes! Visions of Female Sexual Power & A World Without Rape:
The commodity model assumes that when a woman has sex, she loses something of value. If she engages in too much sex, she will be left with nothing of worth. It further assumes that sex earlier in her history is more valuable than sex later.
Millar talks about the need for a performance model of sex, using music as a metaphor.
She gets better by learning, by playing a lot, by playing with different people who are better than she is. She reaches the height of her powers in the prime of her life, as an experienced musician, confident in her style and conversant in her material. Her experience and proven talent are precisely why she is valued.
A performance model is one that normalizes the intimate and interactive nature of sex. The commodity model easily divides sex into good and bad, based on the relative gains from the transaction, mapping closely to conservative Christian sexual mores. Under a performance model, the sexual interaction should be creative, positive, and respectful even in the most casual of circumstances, and without regard to what each partner seeks from it.
The performance model undermines the social construct of the slut… There is no such thing as a music slut, and the concept makes sense only if it blatantly borrows the idea of slut from sex – an idea available to us because we are so used to talking and thinking about sex in a commodity model.
Since society – or at least the one I dream of – isn’t here yet, I’m going to do things differently. Why bang my head against a wall for 10 years? It was worth a shot, it didn’t work as well as I’d hoped, now move on.
In a previous post, I imagined what it’d be like to have sex within the context of a “real” relationship, and I couldn’t. I imagined myself unable to have sex because of my fear of men and their attitudes about sex. And I don’t know how I’d react when I make love for the first time. Will I be over-the-moon delighted to have such a fulfilling experience? Or will I be angry and resentful that men have been holding back all these years because only women in relationships are worth pleasing?
So, instead of supposing and imagining and wondering and theorizing what it’d be like, I’ve decided to leave casual sex behind and focus my efforts on being in a relationship for the first time. I’m going to date. As much as it pains me, and as difficult as I know it will be, I will try harder at finding someone I am compatible with. And then once I find that someone, I will make a concerted effort to let my wall down. I will try to fall in love. I will try to experience what it is like to make love.
Me. Love. Men. Have I ever placed those words in the same sentence before, without including the word sex?
I can try.
Not now, but I’ll let you know when I have.