Putting the sexual double standard to bed

Women get blamed for having sex when they want it and for being prude when they don’t.

Internet Culture

Published Aug 29, 2013   Updated Jun 1, 2021, 7:53 am CDT

Beth Cook is a business and relationship coach. Want advice? Have advice? Send her an email at [email protected]

All I’ve been hearing from dudes lately is that a woman should wait about six to eight dates (minimum) before sleeping with a guy—a theory confirmed by countless articles swarming the Web, all written by men. (Recent research also shows that men are the primary contributors to what we call the sexual double standard.) Woof.

“Yes, he’ll be trying his damnedest to get in your pants during these two months,” they say, “but you must say ‘NO, NO, NO’ to maintain your status as a respectable woman.” (I.e., if you want this “thing” to have more than a snowball’s chance in hell.)

This kind of talk enrages me, because I believe it’s true that most guys think this.

I have a recent real-life example to prove it. I had been dating someone for a couple of months when he mentioned—on date number eight—that he felt uncomfortable that we’d had sex several dates earlier.

“Really?!?” I asked, genuinely surprised. I wasn’t uncomfortable about it at all. Nor did he express any feelings of discomfort when he fully pursued me physically that night, and on consequent nights. What gives?

He looked at me for answers, and I gave him the one that I was afraid he wanted: “I don’t sleep with every guy I go on a handful of dates with (for God’s sake).” He seemed relieved.

While I spoke the truth, I was also left with a conclusion that was hard to swallow: He had assumed I was an f-ing whore. Sigh.

Can’t a good girl have a little sex? I guess the answer is still “NO.”

The sexual double standard is alive and well, my friends. And there is nothing I would like more than blast it to smithereens—because it’s bullshit.

This Cosmo.com article, “When should you sleep with him?” perfectly sums up the “why women should wait to have sex” argument swirling around brains and websites (written by a dude, supposed relationship expert Ryan C. Downing). 

“He actually wants you to say no. In the beginning of the dating chase, men are looking to get laid, but they’re also looking to make a connection. Even though he may turn on the charm, subtly (or not so subtly) pushing to get you into bed, the truth is, he’d rather you turn him down than give in. Yes, it’s contradictory.”

From what I’ve heard, dudes don’t like when chicks play games with them. Guess what, dudes? Chicks don’t like it either.

We are also looking to make a connection and get laid. Let’s all take responsibility for our actions, huh? If you are pursuing me hardcore, we’re having a hot make-out sesh on date numero quatro, and you’re angling to get in my shorts, I’m going to think that you WANT to have sex with me. And guess what? If I think you are interesting and sexy, I’m probably going to WANT to have sex with you. I might even not want you to be my boyfriend (I might just want the sex)! Ahh! I know, cover your ears and eyes! Women like sex, and they want it, often whether there are strings attached or not. SHOCKING.

Here’s what I would like: for us to all be as authentic and honest as possible at all times. That means no pretending. We have sex when both parties really want to have sex. No blaming allowed. Men still have brains when their penises are erect and women are not sluts for wanting sex. End of story.

More from Cosmo on waiting even if urged otherwise:

“The sex will be better. Which brings me to my next point: The longer you have him in this holding pattern, the more fulfilling the sex will be when it happens. In addition to locking in his interest, you’re also building up the anticipation of what’s to come.”

Um, holding pattern? Should I make you a primary colored mobile to distract you? It’s not the woman’s job to fend off a horny guy. Exclamation point! Sex doesn’t need fermenting. It can be really great with someone you have a connection with on date three. It can also be great on date six.

One of the biggest determining factors for success in any romantic relationship (casual or otherwise) is the quality of the sex. If I don’t like having sex with you, this thing ends now. I want to know sooner than later. And frankly, I don’t go on multiple dates with people I’m hesitant about having sex with. I know what I want and when I want it—and so do most women.

Sure, sex will intensify as you get emotionally closer, and it will also become routine as you reach the height of emotional closeness (shit, I’ve lived with three boyfriends). It is the job of both partners in a relationship to be honest and open about sex in every stage of a relationship. Be authentic (see above).

One last gem from the mind of Ryan Downing on why to wait: 

“You’ll trust your feelings. It’s no secret that hot sex can cloud your judgment. If you click sexually with a guy, you might overlook a lot of his flaws or inflate his good qualities in order to justify your reasons for sleeping with him in the first place.”

This is the only point I’ll give this dude half-credit for. Yes, sex can be distracting—a reason that you keep seeing someone mediocre for when really, you’re looking for something awesome. But again, it is the responsibility of any woman out there (and every guy) to check in with how they are actually feeling in a romantic entanglement and act accordingly. No blaming other people. 

Your body doesn’t lie (even during month two). If there are reservations to be felt, you’ll feel them if you reflect on your feelings about this person. And anyway, once again, a gal might be looking for simply great sex—in which case, there aren’t many complex feelings needing to be trusted!

Are you getting what I’m laying down? 

It’s a major problem that people assume a woman can’t have sex without wanting a ring from the man who penetrated her. I’m sorry, but that’s just not the case. Women have sex all the time while their jury is still out on a guy. And of course, men do the same.

Women get blamed for having sex when they want it and for being prude when they don’t, for playing games and for not playing games (like keeping a guy in a holding pattern), for having too many feelings and for not being able to trust our feelings while having sex.

Well, I’ve had it. 

There is no truth to what’s being said or written about the sexual double standard. We have to start believing that women are equal to men in the bedroom (and treating them that way!) and stop perpetuating unfair, sexist myths.

Art via Wikimedia Commons

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*First Published: Aug 29, 2013, 9:07 am CDT