We waste too much time on sex. It would be one thing if we were spending all our time and energy on achieving increasingly higher levels of orgasmic ecstasy—I have absolutely no objection to that—but no, we're not wasting our time actually having sex, we're wasting our time thinking about sex. Not just sex, for that matter, but everything remotely connected to sex. We think, we analyze, we re-think, we re-analyze. The possibilities are endless: maybe she hasn't called because she hooked up with someone else, or maybe it's because you were so drunk last weekend that you did something you can't remember doing. Maybe he hasn't taken you out to dinner yet because he wants to take it slow, or maybe it's because you haven't given him head yet. Everywhere you go—212, Butler, the Heights—you hear the same conversations over and over again.
In the good old days, and by that I mean the prehistoric good old days, sex was simple. You had sex, you enjoyed it, and you didn't worry about what anyone else thought or what something someone said meant. Well, sucks for us, because since then that crazy phenomenon called society developed: in came social norms, out went simple sex.
Society dictates everything from what men and women should wear on a first date to what's appropriate to say in bed. The idea that men should always chase women is definitely the most complicated social standard, so therefore it's my least favorite. Many women argue that it's anti-feminist, assuming that any woman who abides by the standard is stuck in the 1800s, or even better, the South. But is it really empowering for a woman to ask a man out? Can a woman have any power in a sexual relationship if she isn't making the guy crawl to her? Do prescribed gender roles in a relationship necessarily make the relationship unequal? I'm the first to stand up for gender equality, but I've definitely seen enough situations in which an "overly aggressive" woman lost a man to make me think twice.
Then there's the whole he's-supposed-to-be-scared-of-intimacy-and-commitment-and-she's-supposed-to-want-it crap. Well, what about my friend who broke it off with every guy who ever so much as mentioned the word dinner to her? Or my buddy who scared his girlfriend off by making too many plans for their one-month anniversary? Guys are supposed to want to have sex right off the bat, but girls who feel the same way are branded sluts. I can think of at least three close guy friends who always wait to have sex with girls they like, and I can think of the same number of girl friends who are totally comfortable with sex on a first date.
With so many stereotypes swarming around, people are bound to have double standards. What about the raging feminist who demands equality between men and women but then holds men, but not women, accountable for their actions when they're drunk? You'll never hear a woman blame another woman for what she did while intoxicated, but how many times are men yelled at for taking advantage of women when they're drunk? Many men will say they're all about having lots of sex right off the bat and will criticize any guy who isn't as eager, but if a women feels the same way, they're bound to lose respect for her.
Of course we're addicted to thinking and analyzing all things sexual: how else would we deal with society's telling us one thing and someone's doing another? We don't know what to make of it when a guy still doesn't want to have sex after two months or when a girl takes the lead and asks a guy out to dinner. It's a fucking roller coaster ride with six different kind of loops that doesn't feel good because it bangs your head around too much.
Society and its norms are inescapable. As angry as they might make me, we can't deny their existence. What we can do is try to separate what society would have us believe from the actual events of everyday lives. Societal standards are merely generalizations—they can't apply to every single situation that confuses us. Half of the time our thinking and re-thinking, analyzing and re-analyzing is over something petty that means absolutely nothing.
It's a cliché to say that everybody's different, but that's what it comes down to, especially when it comes to sex. Every once in awhile a societal norm will prove itself to be true in your life, but that doesn't mean it's a rule to live by. Everyone should be allowed to act the way they want and feel the way they do without being criticized, ridiculed, or analyzed.
So find something else to talk to about. I'm tired of getting a headache every time I walk into 212.
Miriam Datskovsky is a Barnard College sophomore. Sexplorations runs on alternate Mondays.