Generalizations give me a monstrous pain in the ass. In general, I find them pulsating examples of sloppy thinking. A few in specific especially bother me. For example, I hate it when people look at something bad that has happened, shake their heads, and say, “Well, it happened for a reason.” I have to wonder why no one ever hears about something good that has occurred and has the same response. Does nothing good happen for a reason? Is every serendipitous event entirely illogical? And how does that thinking serve us?
It doesn’t, as far as I can see.
Not unsurprisingly, it really twitches my skirt when people apply generalizations to sex and relationships. It causes me physical pain when I consider the paucity of logic behind many accepted sex truisms. Why do we continue to believe that having sex on a first date is the relationship equivalent of walking under a ladder while crossing the path of a black cat? Why in the face of mounting scientific evidence to the contrary do we continue to accept that men’s sex drives are higher than women’s? Or that men can more easily have sex without emotions? Or that some sex acts are inherently degrading to women? Or that women, especially “good” ones, don’t like porn, or if they do, it’s only the kind steeped like tea in rose-colored emotion?
The perpetuation of these truisms says an awful lot about us as a culture. We are really, seriously invested in gendered ideas of sexuality wherein real men are randy, real women are reticent, and only real romantic love triumphs over beasty biology. We really, really crave rules, however craven, and however progressive we want to believe ourselves to be. Why else would people who consider themselves to be feminists worry about categorizing some sex acts, giving some the big stamp of approval, while others get marked with a big red X?
(I have to wonder, what sex acts would a devoutly hard-line feminist heterosexual couple—those who feel, for example, that fellatio is inherently anti-feminist—enjoy? Cunnilingus, certainly. I suppose they could fuck woman-on-top, and maybe, just maybe flanquette, because it suggests parity. Can a real feminist do it doggystyle? What about take it up the ass? Can a feminist ever be a buttfuckee? One would expect that the people who bother to quibble about the intrinsic political value of cocksucking would have no issue with a chick strapping it on and being the buttfuckee, though perhaps I’m wrong.)
The generalization that really bothers me today, and mostly because it arose as the basis for a comment to a recent post of mine wherein I lamented my recent lack of sexual activity, is this: that women can always get laid, whereas it’s ever a challenge to men.
Pondering this truism, I find it harder to discern whether at its core the idea is more misogynist or misandrist. It is an idea that glows forth ultra-violet in its disregard for women as much as it does in its disregard for men, and that makes it rare indeed.
On the one hand, it suggests that to a frisky woman all men are created equal, which while it may be a political ideal of grandeur and stalwart beauty, it just isn’t true in the sack. When it comes to sex, all men are not created equal. Some are highly desirable. Many are acceptable. But most are unfuckable. And love it or hate it, that’s just the way it is. To nearly every woman, most men on the planet are going to fall into the last category, that of reject.
Which is totally fair when you consider that the opposite is just as true for men. For just about every heterosexual man on the planet, some women are highly desirable. Many are acceptable. And most are not. We are no more created equal in your eyes as you are in ours, and that, my friends, is true equality. We, all of us, are complex beings with strange and unutterable standards of attraction that are just about as incomprehensible and arbitrary as our tastes in food, or music, or clothing.
For the sake of argument, let me grant for one moment the idea that it is true, that it is indeed always easier for women to get fucked than it is for men. Let’s take the missionary position, however momentarily, that for all women everywhere the world is a hot-and-cold running all-you-can-eat penis buffet. Let’s take as true that women never really have to suffer a fuck drought unless they choose to. Let’s just ponder that idea.
Most men argue that women can get laid when they want because all we have to do is go to a bar, any bar, and if we want to, we can find someone to fuck us. What keeps the opposite from being true for men? What keeps them from starting at the top of the hierarchy of attraction and moving down their own particular gradation from highly desirable to acceptable to unfuckable and finding a woman, some woman, to fuck them?
Why isn’t the self-same logic men apply to women applicable to them? Nothing, really. Sure, more women choose not to indulge in anonymous fucking. It is, after all, far more dangerous for us females to fuck strangers than it is for you males. We are, in general, physically weaker. We fear rape. We also fear pregnancy and disease, problems that our biology present in more startling colors than yours. There are many very practical reasons why many of us don’t choose to be picked up in bars. But there are plenty of us who do.
Do I smell the evanescent waft of the premise that men, the key-holders of fucking, really believe in discretion? Is that possible?
Intrinsic to the truism that women can always get fucked is the premise that we can toss discretion to the wind, whereas you men can’t. Which does, you have to admit, run counter to conventional gender wisdom. In dominant culture, it is we who supposedly live the life of the close-kneed discreet; it is you who run rampant, ever-ready to spill your seed like beer bongs at a frat party. And yet you men like to believe that we, always, forever, have it easier than you.
I have spent months of my life at a time not being fucked. Long, agonizing months. Months upon months, too, when I was hott, hotter than tarmac in August, hotter than centerfolds in December. Months when I had a six-pack and 12% body fat. Sure, I could have picked up any guy, but I didn’t want to pick up any guy. I wanted someone to ask me out, someone to take an interest in me, someone who wanted to fuck me enough to try. And no one did. It wasn’t easy for me to get laid, and maybe it was because I had standards, but really, who doesn’t?
Here’s the thing: our culture is pretty ready to get angry at women for not having standards. Fuck a few men in a short span of time, and we get called “slut” faster than you can slide on a condom. But we also get derided when we do act on our standards. In fact, we get derided when we have the exact same standards men do. It’s more double standard crap, and it’s time to dismantle it, accepted idea by accepted idea, brick by brick, until it all comes happily tumbling down like the Berlin Wall of sex, and we can sing a song of real liberation.
See, the thing is that there’s a lot for everyone to complain about when it comes to sex. It’s hard, this fucking thing. And it’s particularly frustrating because we are sold a story that it’s not, or it shouldn’t be, that birds do it and bees do it and let’s do it, let’s get it on. Those brief shiny moments when it planets align and bodies do too and it’s easy and joyous pass ephemerally. For most of us, sex comes with heaping side dishes of steaming emo pudding. We don’t have to make it any harder by passing on thinking that just isn’t true.
We can, when it comes to uttering truisms, just say no. Abstinence can work, at least when it comes to perpetuating truly stupid thoughts.