Here’s something you may or may not realize: In America, women of any age are not permitted to appear interested in sex. It is also not acceptable for women to be overtly sexual. To some of you that is not new news.
It begins when we are young. Some parents look the other way when their sons touch themselves but daughters for the most part get shamed, told “don’t touch” and redirected. This begins the detachment women experience between their minds and their genitals. This is the way it has been for a lot of girls but I see a problem with that; the basic innate sexuality that is supposed to be part of her life becomes separated from the rest of her personality. Take these daughters and fast forward to adulthood. Some women are not aware when they are aroused. Some women don’t know what turns them on. Some women have never had an orgasm.
Even once girls become adults, our society does not want women to show any interest in sex unless it’s in a married, heterosexual relationship, but even within that narrow definition there is an expectation you get baby makin’. Anything outside of penis-in-vagina sex is considered, and sometimes labeled, “deviant” (That’s a horrible term!) and so NOT true. Fast forward to advanced age; some in our society have preconceived notion that “older” women are not sexual… or sexual enough for a virile man. (Does Hugh Hefner come to mind for anyone else?) This is so sad and so negative. Lots of women come into their sexuality in their late 30’s and 40’s and are plenty sexual. And for some it just gets better from there!.
Because of this cultural view of female sexuality, American women have adapted to get what they want and preserve their persona. There is a phenomenon that I have observed in multiple heterosexual settings. I call it The Drunk American Girl Mating Call – it is a behavior exhibited by women who seek the attention, most often sexual attention, of the opposite gender. Everyone, especially men, seems to recognize this behavior without even realizing what is happening. Picture this: you are in a bar. It’s getting late. There’s a group of women, maybe a ladies’ night out or bachelorette party. Most times there’s alcohol involved. Inevitably, one of the women in the group is getting a little tipsy… she puts her arm(s) in the air, tips her head back, eyes closed and lets out a “WOOOOOO!!!” That’s the Drunk American Girl Mating Call.
Men zero in on that woman as if she is the weak one in the herd (see clip here). It’s a deliberate announcement that one is ready to party, but it can be interpreted many ways. Most clearly, it sends out a message that this woman is a little drunk and more receptive to being hit on as opposed to another woman who is sitting in the corner sipping a sparkling water. This was not a behavior observed while living in Europe. Presumably this is because of a more accepting European view of human sexuality.
This happens in my opinion because it’s not acceptable for women to be sexual beings. If a woman does engage in sexual behavior while drunk she has a built in excuse for it: “OMG, I was so drunk last night.” This insulates her image and most importantly her reputation. She’s still a “good girl”. Again, my issue is this: It’s not OK for women to act sexually aware. It’s not OK for women to dress overtly sexy. It’s not OK for women to talk in a sexually suggestive way. Given all of this, what are the alternatives for women who are interested in engaging in potentially non-family-forming behavior?
I’d like to see changes in what’s acceptable in terms of gender roles for a number of dating behaviors. Now keep in mind, I am not calling for women to do these things every time all the time. I want it to be acceptable for women to do these things. Here’s my ideal: it’s ok for a woman to initiate conversation with a person they find attractive, but a man can too. It’s ok for a woman to ask another person out or ask for his/her contact information, but a man can too. It’s ok for a woman to plan a date, but a man can too. And by extension it’s ok for a woman to initiate sexual contact if they so desire, but a man can too. Ideally there would be give and take; both partners equally interested and involved in moving things forward… maybe even to the point of a relationship. But it would also be ok if a person doesn’t want a relationship. I’d like to see more consent and respect on behalf of both parties as well.
It should be acceptable for women to be sexual beings; to feel sexual, to want sexual satisfaction, to speak up for what they want. Men will require a little reeducation, but it’s for their benefit and they will soon realize this does not take away from their machismo. Control over our sexuality is not going to be handed over willingly; we must speak up for what is best for all women.