The Real Reasons Why Women Are Still Oppressed As Sexual Beings
I did the unthinkable.
The thing no woman should ever do. The thing my mother warned me about. The thing that gets other girls talking. They would never do what I did — they would never be “that girl.” The thing that makes me a cheap, readily-available, yet undesirable good on the market.
I slept with a guy on the first date.
I never really promised myself that I wouldn’t sleep with a guy I just met, but it kind of went without saying. And, when I say “without saying,” I mean a lot of things were said, but none about me and my own actions.
Yeah, I never thought I’d be that girl: the sleeps-with-you-on-the-first-date girl. But, as ashamed as I am to admit it, I am definitely the talks-a-lot-of-sh*t-about-the-girls-who-have-sex-on-the-first-date girl. Yeah, I’m that girl. And now, I’m the girl whom those girls call that girl.
I did the unthinkable.
We met in Chelsea for a comedy show around 10 pm. He had prominent features; he was 6’4”, pulled off the baseball cap better than most and was a great conversationalist. He was the kind of guy who makes the awkward ice-breaker questions a lot more natural — enjoyable, even.
We watched a comedy show in which his friends performed from the back of a small, dimly-lit room. He playfully grabbed my ass during skits and then turned to kiss me when the room went completely black for the stage crew to change the set. It wasn’t the kind of thing I normally do, but I went with it.
Around 11 pm, we walked around by the Manhattan Mall, complaining about how New York really isn’t the “city that never sleeps” because most things we passed were already closed. After many, “what should we do" and “where should we go” moments, he turned to me and proposed, “How about we go somewhere where we can do more of this...?”
Then, he leaned in and kissed me. I replied post-kiss saying, “I suppose, but we’ll watch TV... and that’s all." Really, because I’m not that kind of girl.
So, we got on the train headed to his place in Astoria. I’m new to New York and live on the Upper West Side. I haven’t taken many train lines and have stayed within the realms of Manhattan. So, after taking the N train — one I hadn't yet rode — and making our way to his place in Astoria, I did something I had never done before.
I did the unthinkable: I had sex on the first date.
While I never lent my thoughts to the possibility of sleeping with someone on first encounter, I have, on multiple occasions, lent my thoughts to the harm that action would bring me. I would feel like a whore. I would feel used and embarrassed. He would never call me again, unless it was to have sex.
He certainly wouldn’t respect me. I could never take myself seriously. I wouldn’t be the kind of girl a guy wants to date, let alone marry. I would be easy and sleazy. I would lose my desirability. And most importantly, it would hurt, a lot, and I would regret it, a lot.
Well, I did the unthinkable. But, somehow, I didn’t feel any of the things I thought I would. Around 3 am, I walked back to the subway station by his place. I got back on the N, the beginning point of my so-called “walk of shame.”
My walk of shame included one transfer, many drunk bystanders and took more than 45 minutes. For 45 minutes, I sat on a cold train and reflected on what I had done. I didn’t feel sad. I didn’t feel bad. I was a little embarrassed, but mostly, I wanted to do it again.
I got home. Took a shower. Slipped into bed and right before I shut my eyes, I thought, “Well, it’s really going to hurt tomorrow. I am going to regret this tomorrow.”
Tomorrow came and I still didn't hurt.
I know it may not seem like it, but I take sex very seriously. While I now realize I had been overly judgmental toward others who engaged in casual sex without thinking twice, I do think sex is a big deal. It is a very intimate act. Yes, it is — dare I use the cliché— special. It is exposing.
And, it connects you with a person forever, albeit in your mind by mere memory. That being said, I now feel that the negative connotation attached to casual sex — especially one-night stands — focuses more on degrading women from the outside.
Sex is, by nature, an intimate act because it typically includes two people interacting with one another in a revealing way. Yes, sex usually occurs directly between two people; yet, many other people indirectly take part in the sex that happens between those two people.
We have fostered a culture where sex is no longer just about what you want and what your partner wants. Sex is about what your best friend will think of you, how your future partners will perceive you, where you fall in the dating world, your membership to the hook-up culture and, of course, your résumé of immoral behavior.
Sex, an experience that should bring pleasure to you, is, in many ways, an experience that brings pleasure to everyone but you. While unfortunate and difficult to admit, humans like tearing down other humans. Because pleasure is a desirable experience, we are inclined to do things that will make more pleasurable experiences occur.
We have perpetuated the notion that negative value is associated with women who sleep with someone on the first date, engage in casual sex often or have had many partners. Oftentimes, we do so, even when we will, in turn, be subject to such a cruel scale of judgment.
Many will argue that casual sex is no longer looked down upon; that women are empowered and the feminist movement has revolutionized society to view women as strong, sexual beings who deserve respect regardless of other factors.
I argue that sex is still, in many ways, looked down upon and that women who engage in casual sex are stigmatized as dirty or unworthy, even if no one is willing to admit it. I argue this because I feel it.
Regardless of the progress made regarding women’s role in society, I have held these negative judgments toward other women and have witnessed countless others who also do, even today — yes, even in the year 2014.
The only negative feeling I experienced as a result of my casual, first-date sex is that of embarrassment. Not embarrassment because of the sex itself, but embarrassment in the possibility of others knowing of the sex.
As I rode the train home, I knew I wasn’t going to text my best friend or tell my sister the next day. They would say, “Adalay, you aren’t that kind of girl!” The only kind of a girl I really am is the kind who has felt ashamed of her sexual nature and desires because she has heard endless variations of:
“Don’t call him right away, you have to wait a minimum of three days!”
“Don’t kiss him on the first date!”
“Don’t text him back for at least 10 minutes!”
“Don’t sleep with him until...”
“Don’t tell him about your...”
“Don’t ask him if he...”
“Don’t seem too eager.”
“Don’t talk too much.”
“Don’t...” “Don’t...” “Don’t...”
I am a girl who has often withheld from doing things I want to do because I have been warned not to do so.
Now, as I drink my coffee the morning after, reflecting on last night, I realize I am now a girl, who, despite all pre-conceived notions and warnings, had sex on a first date.
But now, I realize all that truly means is I am a girl who did something she wanted to do. And, well, that’s all it should ever mean to you or anyone else.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It