Should women make men wait to have sex?
There’s been a flurry of discussion lately about that lately, first with the release of a video “The Economics of Sex” by the Austin Institute, a new academic initiative that conducts research on family, marriage and relationships (you can watch it below). I am quite leary about the institute’s agenda as one of the researchers is none other than Mark Regnerus, who admits to using bad data to support his theory that gay parents and marriage is bad for kids. How much should we trust the institute’s research?
Then dating coach Evan Mark Katz, whose advice I generally agree with, posted on Facebook and followed up with a blog post on why women should make men wait for sex. He links to the video and writes:
(W)omen teach men how to treat them. And if, due to equality, birth-control, libido, societal acceptance, and insecurity, many women are willing to have sex with men who don’t call, pay, commit, or make an effort, then those women are essentially teaching men that they do not have to behave well to procure sex. … My advice is not to tell men that they shouldn’t sleep with women; it’s to tell women that you must have men make a greater investment in you as individuals before having sex. … You want to find out if a man is serious about you? Wait to have sex with him. If you don’t – because you’re a liberated woman who can have sex whenever you damn well please – don’t be too surprised if a decent percentage of those men never call again.
Then he advises anyone who cares to comment that he will not accept “comments about how you slept with your boyfriend on the first date and he became your husband. The many exceptions don’t disprove the rule that giving men sex without demanding better treatment is not the best idea.”
Before I get into my own thoughts about why the video and Evan are wrong — and they are — economics professor Marina Adshade, author of Dollars and Sex:How Economics Influences Sex and Love, had a few things to say on her Psychology Today blog:
The underlying message of the video is that only when women begin to police each other’s sexual behavior will we see men committing to long-term relationships. And, even worse, if women are not policing each other’s sexual behavior then we are directly responsible for the fact that the current generation of young men are “floundering”. [Cue image of man playing video games.] “Men only behave as well, or as poorly, as the women in their lives will permit” and, according to the Austin Institute at least, it is the responsibility of women to see the women who are allowing these men to behave poorly are punished for their permissive sexual behavior.
Here’s what I believe the video and Evan don’t get — not every woman wants to have a man commit to her, not every woman who has sex with a man wants that man to commit to her, and sometimes, women just want to have sex. Random, casual, no-strings attached sex. I know, strange, right?
Women should not have to police each other. Nor should they have to police themselves unless — and this part is essential — they know that they are unable to have no-strings-attached sex without feeling diminished, used and ashamed. If a woman knows that about herself, Evan is 100 percent right — she should not have sex with someone until she’s getting her needs met and feels secure enough in the relationship. But to advise women across the board that there’s some universal “rule” about not “giving men sex without demanding better treatment” is casting judgment on women who enjoy casual sex, and they know who they are. In the video and Evan’s view, women are unable to “give themselves sex” as a gratifying act of physical intimacy. Nope, it’s just a tool for us to catch, manipulate and keep a man.
If there must be a “rule” about such things, why not advise women to take responsibility for their sexuality and their actions with each and every potential sexual partner they meet — Do I want to have sex with this man? Why? When?
Obviously, a woman would be ill-advised to sleep with or even go out with a man who is mistreating her. But a lack of commitment does not equal mistreatment, sorry.
So, what does this kind of thinking say about men? Not every man wants to sleep with a woman right away, and not every man who sleeps with a woman right away won’t want to keep seeing her and maybe even commit to her (and, despite Evan’s insistence about not wanting to hear the exceptions, the marriages and long-term relationships that resulted from first-date sex, it has happened to me and many other women, “rule” be damned!). It perpetuates the stereotype that all men are sex-obsessed horn dogs who want women for one thing only — to get in her pants — and that once they get it they walk away and only demanding commitment will somehow “tame” them. That is a bad, sad way to see men. I have raised two fine young men, and they and men in general deserve better.
According to this theory, women will only get men to commit by holding out. Because obviously, men are too stupid to decide that they might want to be with a woman they find attractive regardless if she’s putting out or not. No, sex is the carrot to dangle before him and once he has it, he’s locked in ladies!
If a man runs right after he has sex with a woman, let’s face it — he’s not a man we’d like to keep around anyway.
This kind of across-the-board advice speaks to the confused state of sexuality in our culture, especially female sexuality. As journalist Daniel Bergner points out in his fascinating book, What Do Women Want? Adventures in the Science of Female Desire, society has repressed female sexuality, which is as “base, animalistic and ravenous” as men’s — maybe even more so.
What that video and Evan want to do is put the chastity belt back on all of us. Yeah, well, not me, and I suspect not for a lot of other women, either.
- Do you believe women should make a man wait for sex?
- Do you believe women should police each other’s behavior to get men to commit?
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