Sexism and Misogyny and Fail (Oh My!)

So I knew there was a reason I shouldn’t click on a link entitled “How slutty can you be and still trick someone into loving you?” Turns out the reason is that I’d be led to a horrific article in the Daily (Hate)Mail and be forced to rip it to shreds on here for the enjoyment (or something?) of you guys!

Okay. So the actual title of the article is ‘Can First Date Sex EVER Lead to Long-Lasting Love?’ A great start, I’m sure you’ll agree – scare-capitals and all.

Good news for anyone who’s ever opened their eyes to find themselves lying next to someone they met the night before: turns out you haven’t necessarily blown your chances of long-term love by sleeping with someone on the first night.

Okay, two things going on here. Firstly, what’s with this “opening your eyes and finding yourself there” stuff? Oh yeah, it’s the culture of drunken hook-ups. I am deeply disturbed by the fact that we live in a culture in which it is only permissible to have casual sex, or have sex early on, if you’re too blind drunk to be in control of your decisions. Clue: if you don’t remember it, you weren’t capable of giving informed consent. Secondly, God forbid anyone – or a woman, anyway, since this piece is aimed at women – actually want a low-key fling or some casual sex! It always has to be about True Wuv Forever And Ever (or else you’re a slut.)

A new American study of 640 adults in Chicago has unearthed a surprising result: couples who slept together on the first night were just as likely to end up happy long-term as couples who put off doing the deed until they became more serious.

“Doing the deed?” What are we, twelve?

Good news for all the not-so-good girls who spend the next day’s ‘walk of shame’ paranoid and panicking that the guy won’t call because he got what he wanted.

Hello, gender stereotypes! Because men only want sex, and women have sex to try to force a man to fall in love and then sit around wailing and waiting for him to call, don’tcha know? Also, fucking hell – “walk of shame?” Seriously?

Sometimes, you meet someone and it just feels so right and so natural, sex just happens. We’re all adults, right? Isn’t it a bit old school and anti-feminist to wait for sex? In some ways, yes…

NO GODDAMNIT! It is not “feminist” to wait for sex, OR to not wait for sex, OR any of the myriad of other choices. Feminism is about choice. I hereby request demand that the sexist idiots who write this stuff do not appropriate the term ‘feminism’ for their thinly disguised misogyny.

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

…but I’d still advise postponing it, at least for a little while, simply because once you sleep with someone, there’s no excuse for not doing it again. You’re instantly thrust into a far more intimate space than you were.

CONSENT! Do you speak it? Consent, agency, free choice, the right to change one’s mind or withdraw participation at any point? I suppose these are much too advanced concepts for the world in which men only want completely meaningless sex, and women only want True Wuv, and relationships are just a struggle between these two never-compatible opposites.

Ideally, we’d all date each other (minus sex) until both are reasonably sure you’re compatible, want the same thing out of the relationship, and most importantly, think you might make each other happy. This requires logical thinking and objectivity.

Ideally, we’d live in a world where this bullshit wasn’t plastered all over one of the widest circulating publications in the country. Ideally, we’d all have the free choice to conduct our relationships and sex lives the way we choose to, without being shamed if we “put out” too much or too often.

Good sex rather effectively robs us of both instantly. It’s extremely difficult to look at your new partner sensibly and objectively while their tongue is working its way up your thigh.

… I don’t want my thigh licked, thanks. (Sorry.)

Psychologists call this ‘lust blindness.’ You get to involved with your partner’s body, you forget to look closely at the person inside it. It’s how people end up emotionally involved with people they later find out are bad for them – the “I don’t like him but I’m in love with him” feeling.  No-one falls in love with a nasty piece of work when they’re thinking straight.

Oh, that explains everything! The reason I fell in love with my ex even when he abused me wasn’t anything to do with the headfuckery and the mind-games and the way he could be so lovely sometimes and the fact that I was basically a child! It was all because I slept with him too soon! Thank you so much for clearing that up. Way to totally minimise and trivialise the experience of abuse survivors. Way to blame the victim there. If we weren’t all such sluts, we’d only ever fall in love with men who were good for us!

But if you put your brain on hold and get involved with their body, you can stumble out of that glorious, lust-infused haze, rub your eyes and find you’ve made all sorts of commitments and promises to someone who wasn’t worth getting intimate with in the first place.

I just…. fuck this. This myth that sex makes us incapable of behaving like fully functional, adult human beings, that having sex is the route of all bad or misguided or unhealthy decisions? Fuck. This.

Reading this and the horse has already bolted? Another key finding of the study published in the Journal of Social Science Research was that for love to blossom from first-night sex, both people had to be open to the idea of a committed relationship.

NO SHIT. For a relationship to work, both people have to be open to having a relationship? I just… I don’t know where to go with this. People get PAID to figure this stuff out? Clearly I’m in the wrong career.

So instead of plotting a hasty embarrassed exit, you’re actually better off staying put and snuggling up. Let them know you want more and you might just find your one night stand turns into a long, lovely relationship.

Y’know… if you want to! But oh no, you’re an evil horrible slut now and the only way to redeem yourself is to make him fall madly in love with you!

Okay. I’m done now. I quite like this finding-things-full-of-fail-and-ripping-them-apart thing. If you guys enjoyed this one, I might do it more often.

19 thoughts on “Sexism and Misogyny and Fail (Oh My!)

  1. Jessica Burde says:

    ” I quite like this finding-things-full-of-fail-and-ripping-them-apart thing. If you guys enjoyed this one, I might do it more often.”

    It has a certain amusement factor. I do enjoy it interspersed with more positive articles, to remind us that the world isn’t all this kind of stupidity.

  2. Jules says:

    Interesting. Obviously I am the exception that proves the rule because the worst relationship I had, the one that I would erase if I could, and the one that really hurt me – that one was the one where I waited for months before sex. All my other relationships, I’ve ended up in bed with them at the end of the night, and they have all been better (even the one with the utter fuckwit).
    Basically it’s a ‘how can we make people feel shit for not conforming’ shitty article. The Mail is trolling again *grin*

    • missamaranth says:

      Yeah, same with me. I’ve had multiple crappy relationships, but the absolute worst was one where we didn’t actually have sex (well intercourse, anyway) for over a year. I tend to wait a bit now, but that’s because I think I’m probably demisexual, not through desire not to be a Horrible Slut! Proof it it were needed (which it wasn’t) that the people who write this stuff are full of shit. *grins back*

  3. Dragonmamma says:

    couldnt stop giggling at this and your responses. Makes me feel SO MUCH BETTER about the only one night stand I ever had with the most gorgeous guy. And yes, given the chance I would definitely do it again. (obviously I am a slut!!) But no, I wasnt too drunk to recognise him. I CHOSE. oH MY!! i am beyond help and salvation!!! Still giggling.

    • missamaranth says:

      Heh, I’m glad it made you giggle!

      OMG, You CHOSE to have a one night stand, and weren’t drunk, and would do it again?? What kind of universe is this where a woman can do such things? *giggles with you.*

  4. Love.Sex.Fail. says:

    LOL! I really love and agree with your perspective.

  5. Disillusioned says:

    “if you don’t remember it, you weren’t capable of giving informed consent”

    Lovely. So if you come on to a guy, fuck him, then forget what happened, he’s a rapist? Boy, you’re really on to something there.

    • missamaranth says:

      No, that’s not what I said. I don’t think informed consent is only a women’s issue. Yes, women are statistically MUCH more likely to be rape/assault victims, but men also have a right to give, or withhold, informed consent in any situation.

      If two people are too blind drunk to recognise each other in the morning, and have mutually consensual-at-the-time sex, I don’t think either of them is inherently a rapist, just that they’re both extremely likely to have done something they’ll later regret. (Not to mention significantly increased STI/pregnancy risk, because if you don’t remember the name of the person you’re fucking, what’s the odds you remembered to use a condom?)

      I was nineteen, the one time I’ve slept with someone and not remembered it. No, I don’t think that person is a rapist. I consented, I am sure of that, and they probably wouldn’t have done anything if I’d said no. But I’m sure things would have gone very differently if I’d been sober. They did take advantage of my increased vulnerability, and that’s not okay.

      On the other hand, if someone has sex with someone who is clearly so out of it that they can’t really decide or even know if they’re freely consenting, FUCK YES I think that’s rape.

  6. Nile says:

    It’s the Mail. On the surface, moralising. Which is not the same as ‘moral’. At a deeper level: manipulative – and cynical too, as they imply that all women who read it will have a manipulative and utilitarian approach to sex.

    What joyless failures they are.

    • missamaranth says:

      Exactly. Manipulative is EXACTLY what they are – they act like they have women’s issues at heart, when what they really want is for us to swallow their misogynistic bullshit and act in a way which conforms to their narrowly defined idea of “how women should behave.”

  7. Styx says:

    Feels like you were clenching your fists and banging the desk with abject frustration when you were writing this, Jess! I’m not at all certain I could’ve made it to the end of the article, so well done! Great blog post ripping it apart, too🙂

    • missamaranth says:

      I pretty much was! When I first found the article I read it aloud to my housemate, and we had to keep stopping to *facepalm* and rant about the amazing levels of fail!

      Thanks, glad you enjoyed my response🙂

  8. kerran says:

    While the more positive and philosophical pieces are good….. you do a really good line in tearing into a bad article. The “Fuck this” moment towards the end really made me grin while I was working up the energy to go to work. More please.🙂

    • missamaranth says:

      Thank you! This has got such a good response, I’ll definitely be doing more. If you find any sex/relationships/non-monogamy/feminism-related fail you’d like me to rip apart, please feel free to send it in my direction! Always need more material for my merciless commentary!🙂

  9. egointhesea says:

    Hmm, I agree it’s not a great article, but I disagree with the idea that it’s sexist or somehow offensive/derogatory. The intent is a positive one, giving hope to the girls who think their chance at an LTR is blown by sex on the first date. Sure, terms were used inappropriately, but the article is far from (intentionally) sexist.

    • missamaranth says:

      Fair enough. You’re completely entitled to disagree and thank you for sharing your opinion.

      I found it extremely offensive (as you can tell,) for the reasons defined above – as I mentioned in my comment to Nile, I feel that it’s designed (like most of their pieces aimed at women) to try to push us into a narrow little box of how we should behave and what we should want. But YMMV – the stuff I express here is only my opinion, and opposing ones are always welcome!🙂

      • egointhesea says:

        Oh, I see what you’re talking about now. Yeah, it does seem manipulative, and I think it definitely has some sort of manipulative undertones covered by a “moralizing” overlay. But I don’t think it’s intentional.

        The author is a woman and I feel she is trying to give women hope (and power) by informing them. Any of the gender-polarizing language that’s used is due to the author being influenced by society as well as writing for this society. I doubt she would be trying to somehow “put women in their place.”

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