October 26, 2008

How Long Do You Wait to...?

How long do you wait before having sex with a new partner? A group of friends and I were having this conversation last night. It should be noted that all the women gathered happened to be heterosexual, but the findings were still fascinating. Answers ranged from a week to three months! This fascinated me, because I wondered, do women in heterosexual relationships wait (or not wait) to have sex with men for their own comfort, or are we horny as hell but just afraid to look slutty? Also, does the guy really want to have sex on night one? Is he really ready for that, or does he just feel he has to pretend he is to look like a macho man who's full of sperm? Does he secretly hope you want to wait at least a month, or is he just manipulated into hanging around until you will have sex with him because of this "thrill of the chase" everyone talks about? Sex, wtf?

The politics of when to have sex and when not to are far too frustrating for me. I am constantly wondering in romance what steps it is I feel ready to take and when, and what steps I feel society expects me to feel ready for at certain points. Do I really have a problem with having sex with someone I just met that night, or does society tell me that's slutty, which in turn inhibits me?

When it comes to sex today, it's almost impossible to have personal taste at all. We are so inundated with "the rules" for dating (which all seem to assume we're all straight) and with images of very vanilla heterosexual sex in movies, ads, and tv that frankly makes sex look about as much fun as going to the dentist (You know, because at the dentist, you actually ARE supposed to lie motionless on a bed). If I listened to pop culture, I'd probably think I was supposed to wait years before having the kind of sex people somehow manage to have on tv without taking their clothes off.

Critics of porn are always going on about how unrealistic it is, but I say at least it shows naked people actually having sex, no matter how kinky whatever it is they are doing happens to be. The kind of sex that dominates our mainstream culture is full of decorum and mind games and is utterly joyless. So, yes, if you want to wait three months to sleep with your boyfriend, or if you want to jump him after five days, that's cool. I just wish we could get to a point where I am sure those decisions to do it or not to do it are ours, and not just societal brainwashing.

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