My last post regarding the meaning of sexual liberation for the modern woman gradually began to irritate me so I decided to make an updated post more aligned with my current views. By not examining the sexual lifestyles of women in an effort to be a "Good Feminist(™)" and not judge their sexual choices, I ignored the undeniable societal impact on the way women view sex and instead opted for the unoffensive route — "some women want to fuck around, others don't. Deal with it!" without questioning why.
I maintain that society is the most sexually liberated it has ever been. For example, the notion of pre-marital sex being totally abhorrent is now practically Dickensian. However, I fear that hook-up culture, in particular, may have backfired in this quest for female sexual freedom as while it would be easy to assume that with more women enjoying more sexual liberties, sex should be, well, enjoyable. So why are young women around me so blasé about sex in a permissive society?
Firstly, I would like to propose that "permitting sexual liberties" may be more accurate than "enjoying." Hook-ups require the reciprocation of sexual favours, although how much sexual gratification does a woman gain from this experience? Common among teenage girls is the belief that in order to gain approbation from their male peers, they must permit them to take remarkable liberties with her, without seeking or obtaining anything for herself, representing a suspect form of freedom.
This passivity doesn't conclude with puberty, sadly. Sex has become another example demonstrating the entrenched idea of male superiority in virtually all fields of life. Linguistics surrounding sex surmise it is done to a woman: she is fucked, shagged, screwed — a non-participant. Could you blame us for accepting this role when we are taught that our virtue is assumed from our loveliness, our passivity? Simone de Beauvoir stated that to appear "feminine is to show oneself as weak, futile, passive, and docile. The girl is supposed not only to primp and dress herself up but also to repress her spontaneity and substitute for it the grace and charm she has been taught by her elder sisters. Any self-assertion will take away from her femininity and her seductiveness." It is this empowering assertion of one's own sexuality that confuses and frightens men as the libido is looked upon as exclusively masculine. Accordingly, all libido must be male libido and if a woman dares express sexual desire, she is not unlike the castrated man of Freudian womanhood, something wholly unattractive to the straight male.
In addition, the virile male ideal neglects amorousness in preference for mechanical masturbation in the vagina except with the expectation to keep at it for longer. Therefore, with this being the predictable hook-up experience, it comes as no surprise that some women aren't entirely thrilled by the desolating prospect. This kind of sex can feel like two sets of organs jackhammering at each other as opposed to two people having sex and instead it becomes a regrettable, shameful experience when no amount of discovery or pleasure is felt, emphasising human isolation more dishearteningly than ever before. However, to combat this, women would benefit from changing their attitude towards sex while we encourage and hope that our male counterparts do the same. Rather than taking it, we would do well to embrace it. Also, it would be worth remembering that earth-shattering, transcendent orgasms are very attainable and very real and nothing real is ever tidy or linear, so throw away the E.L. James.
When I was young(er), I would sit and read my mum's Cosmopolitans, fascinated by the sex columns and the advice grown women would share with one another. "Experts" would devise magical formulas for guaranteed orgasm, for example, your partner ought to go deep once, shallow four times, deep twice, shallow three times and so on, tricking your vagina into a false sense of spontaneity. This is dull, computerised sex for boring people. Germaine Greer rightly said that the implication "that there is a statistically ideal fuck which will always result in satisfaction if the right procedures are followed is depressing and misleading. There is no substitute for excitement: not all the massage in the world will ensure satisfaction, for it is a matter of psycho-sexual release. Real gratification is not enshrined in a tiny cluster of nerves but in the sexual involvement of the whole person." Remember, fresh isn’t the same thing as exciting, and excitement isn’t the same thing as chaos. More on that in another post.
Linking back to the issue of sexual liberation in the modern-day woman, I believe that we will never be truly sexually free as long as we are inhibited due to societally manufactured ideas surrounding ourselves and sex. Women refraining from sexual activity out of moral imperative or those partaking in sexual activity out of obligation both encounter societal pressures only from different angles. Until such inhibitions are lifted, the new age of "sexual freedom" appears to be a dubious one.