Exposing the sexual double standard
Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.
Email This Story
Despite progress towards gender equality, there are still many areas where men and women are held to different standards.
One such place, even on our own campus, is the bedroom.
2013 studies by Susan Sprecher of Illinois State University have shown that “both men and women considered casual sex more acceptable for men than women,” as published in Psychology Today.
Sophomore Christopher Bratkovics recalled a time in which he had experienced this double standard after having a one-night stand.
The next day Bratkovics’ friends congratulated him “but the girl’s friends were all disgusted with her,” he said.
Today’s music also influences the double standard in society.
A line in Omarion’s song “Know You Better” states “Would you date me for a minute, girl before you let me hit it?”
Let’s get one thing straight: sex is a consensual act between two people, not something a woman “lets” a man do to her.
This line also implies that women should make a man wait, but the man is allowed to want sex right away.
One woman that Buzzfeed interviewed about sex on the first date said, “After we had sex, we were cuddling, and he literally says to me, ‘You know, if you’re looking to date seriously, maybe you shouldn’t have sex with them so fast.’ Even though he also engaged in the sex act, but managed to remain a really respectable person.”
Sex should happen when the people involved feel ready. Men shouldn’t be pressured into the expectation of having sex right away. Similarly, women shouldn’t be expected to wait in order to be considered respectable.
Scientific evidence reveals why it’s important to have sexual equality by showing strong biological similarities between genders’ sexualities.
Overall, “women and men experience sexual desire and arousal in much the same way and to the same degree,” according to a study from New York University.
If we have such strong sexual similarities, why does a sexual double standard prevail in our society?
Professor Michael Marks of New Mexico State University conducted a study evaluating the differences in judgment between sexually active women and men.
“When people evaluated the target in isolation, no evidence of a double standard emerged. While in the presence of others, however, people evaluated sexually active women more negatively than men,” Marks said.
This evidence reveals that our social culture has a strong influence on the double standard.
Marks said the double standard has negative impacts on men and women in that it “undermines women’s sexual identities” and may cause men to “feel like sex is something they are owed or have a right to, possibly leading them to a higher incidence of sexual coercion.”
Our society must overcome the sexual expectations of each gender and start spreading equality to the bedroom. We must stop condemning women for their sexual behavior while validating men for theirs.
“Mutual consent should form the basis of sexual relationships and not our preconceived expectations of gender roles,” said Maria Powlowska, a healthcare analyst from the Good Men Project.
Combating the sexual double standard on our campus begins with recognizing its existence and being more aware of the ways it prevails in our society.
Marks says that spreading this awareness is most effective, since “ways that people exhibit the double standard are not obvious to them, and while making their biases known won’t change their implicit attitudes, they can at least change their explicit attitudes.”
After all, sex is an intimate act between two people, not a social activity for others to judge.