Throughout history women have been barred from sharing their true feelings regarding sex. The mere suggestion that you enjoyed sex, even within the restraints of marriage, made you a “harlot”, a “trollop” or a “whore”. The subject has been taboo as long as the act has been practiced, yet men have always been allowed to exaggerate exploits, philander and freely discuss sex; which has only fed the already imbalanced power dynamic that is inherent to sex.
Sexuality is more apparent and fluid in today’s society than it has ever been. It is broadcasted, televised, and announced. “Sex” is one of the foremost words to be googled, tweeted, blogged, pondered, and uttered. The newer attitude toward sex has helped to overturn the residual values garnered from centuries of traditions and the perpetuation of abstinence-only education. Sexually aware characters and personalities in the media has popularized the idea that sex can come with no strings attached, that friends can come with benefits, and that love and sex are not mutually exclusive. This attitude toward sex has helped to create a dichotomy, dividing women; stationing them under the labels: “promiscuous” or “prudish,” even though most women fall somewhere in the middle.
Women who don’t have sex are always expected to be saving their virginity/ sexuality for some remote reason, or they are expected to be pious or lesbians. For the woman who decides to be chaste, saving herself until the day that she is wed or being a virgin after the socially acceptable age of 18, she is considered a prude, a pristine oddball, or a person of unorthodox morals. The same can be said for men, but the double-edged sword that is innate to being a woman provides that to be sexually active or to be sexually abstinence can only mean one of two things, with very little gray area.
The sexually adventurous woman is considered to be morally indigent by traditional standards, but in television, she is a woman of unprecedented charm, esteem and brass. She is showcased as the woman who sees the act of sex as casual as conversation. In real life, a woman who is sexually prepared can be seen as promiscuous. Likewise, women who aren’t prepared, they become pregnant or acquire sexually transmitted diseases, which would also label them as promiscuous.
While attitudes towards sex have changed, and women have become slightly more open about their relations, the fundamental stance pertaining to the sexual activity of women is still evolving. Women are still confined to certain roles, identities and orientations. It’s impossible for women to be as unhampered as men because society would like everyone to think that an overly sexual woman is tarnished or “used up.” The truth is, no matter what category women fall under, they’re all sexual beings, functioning to suppress or express urges. Essentially, someone’s sexual practices shouldn’t be their trademark.