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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

The O-Face: Addressing the double standard of sexuality

Michael Karp
Michael Karp

One of the most controversial aspects of relationships and sexuality between men and women is the existence of the double standard.

The double standard arises from the centuries-old stigma about men and women and the fact that women tend to take on a lot more risk than men do when having sex.

In our current culture, it is socially acceptable, if not encouraged, for men to sleep with as many women as possible. However, it is not socially acceptable, if not discouraged, for women to sleep with as many men as possible.

Single men and women, that is.

This is a huge double standard in my mind, but it is unavoidable in our current culture.

It’s apparent simply in the connotations of the words we use to describe certain men and women, such as slut, player, whore, boss, ratchet, “mac daddy” or ladies man.

Although I acknowledge the double standard and the fact that it is unavoidable in our culture, and that there are similar words with negative connotations to describe promiscuous men, I truly feel sorry for women.

I especially feel for those women attempting to express their sexual desire freely without constant social pressure from both genders.

Some of these women are very successful at getting around it. Most are not.

This double standard is inevitable due to the traits exhibited by each type of individual.

It is often seen as a challenge for guys to sleep with girls. Therefore, a woman who “lets” a lot of guys sleep with her is not making it a challenge and is seen as easy and of lower value. Conversely, a guy who is “able” to sleep with a lot of women is somehow more skillful than other guys at conquering girls’ challenges and is of higher value.

A guy who sleeps with a lot of women tends to be confident in himself and who he is. He is often fun to be around and knows how to have a good time. He is generally good looking and he knows what he wants and how to get it.

He doesn’t seek approval from other people and he isn’t needy. He’s socially adept and sparks curiosity in the women around him. He has a high level of self-respect and self-esteem and is likely good in bed — all very attractive traits.

However, a woman doesn’t necessarily need to display any of these traits to sleep with a lot of men.

A sad reality.

It sucks for women, I know. And I empathize with them.

Here’s my advice for dealing with this, if it is a conscious issue within you:

Maintain your standards and don’t be ashamed, no matter how you choose to fulfill your desires. Your perception of who you are and the choices you make should be higher than the perception of the people around you.

If you are a more promiscuous woman, you’ll gain more respect by owning up to it. Make your sexual desire a part of who you are and don’t worry about what people think of you — because what you think of yourself is more important.

Basically, if you’ve just met an awesome guy, you like him, are attracted to him, the two of you are having a great time together, and you want to have sex with him that night, turn off the voice in the back of your head that’s trying to avoid the judgment of the double standard.

Simply let your feelings, emotions, and desires guide you without inhibition. In this way, you’ll help nudge society towards a more balanced view of sexual expression between the genders.

Some women consciously seek boyfriends, as opposed to other types of sexual relationships, in order to fulfill their sexual desires without having to face the judgment of the double standard.

Don’t do this.

Seek boyfriends for the love, the connection and the memories.

Standing up to the double standard through your actions and values is how society will balance out. I believe that society is already in the process. However, I believe the process has only barely begun in our current era of human sexuality.

Michael Karp can be reached at [email protected] or @_MichaelKarp on Twitter.

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