I’m not sure if its because I have a general issue with being told what I should and shouldn’t do, or if its my feminist streak emerging, but I get really annoyed when I see articles like this one that pop up from time to time about when is the “right” time to have sex with a new partner.
Various theories on why aside, the truth is that sex socially (and emotionally) has many more strings attached to it for most women than it seems to for men. I don’t remember ever hearing men wondering if they slept with a woman too soon, but there seems to be a barrage of literature and concerned professionals of one sort another ready to warn woman away from sleeping with men “Too soon”.
Too soon for what exactly?
The idea that every single woman is angling for a relationship and needs to use tactics to ensure that she snares a man is frankly offensive to me, and helps to perpetuate the idea that a woman’s value is tied up in what she has to offer (or withhold) from a man. Should it not be acceptable for a woman to want to sleep with a man on the first date, or on no date, if she so chooses, without there needing to be a funded study on it? Isn’t it sad that the connotation is that if you DO sleep with a man on the first date that somehow you have less value and are unlikely to end up in a relationship because of it? I certainly think it is, and I believe it contributes to the number of women who are not confident and open sexually because of the fear that if they are, then nobody will want to date them. Not to mention the nonsense that you need to play games and use tactics to establish a genuine and fulfilling relationship.
The other implied issue is of course that women are incapable of having sex without forming an intense emotional attachment, and that having sex too soon will somehow be harmful to their emotional state. While I am no expert on the subject, I can say through my own experience and countless conversations with many other women that it has nothing to do with an attachment to a man. Once again (as it does so often) it comes back to where a person places their sense of worth. If your self esteem is derived from the fact that a man finds you desirable, things are going to turn ugly when he doesn’t call you back. The physical attraction and desire for someone does not automatically translate into the desire for attachment or commitment, for either party. If you decide the next morning that nobody loves you because your blissful evening did not turn into something more long lasting, then you need to ask yourself why you feel that way, or more to the point, why you are allowing yourself to feel that way. Are you basing your self worth on someone wanting you? And sadly, the question that many women do need to ask themselves is “Did I sleep with that man simply to validate myself?”
I’m not saying that it doesn’t have an emotional aspect. Far from it. Sex without some kind of connection or affection, I personally think is not worth it. You might as well DIY. But one of the things that few people grasp is that not all affection is THE affection. Not all love is the soul mate/destiny variety. And that’s okay. A woman can still love the man she is with, without wanting to love him as a partner or husband, and she should be able to do that without guilt or anxiety.
The life of the Venetian Courtesan and poet, Veronica Franco, illustrates this beautifully for me. An educated and emotionally grounded woman who understood the difference between love and pleasure and was unashamed about her affection for the men she slept with. She defended her convictions even in the face of the Churches Inquisition (who branded her a witch and a heretic for bewitching the men of Venice) that sex is a divine connection that should be enjoyed, not used as the measure of a woman’s worth or lack there of.
Its simple really, respect yourself enough to not have sex when you know its for the wrong reasons and If it makes you feel good without creating anxiety or guilt, then go right ahead! On the first date, the 50th date, or no date at all. No one can tell you when it’s the right time.
For if man could love to his heart’s content,
without confronting contrary desires,
the pleasure of love would have no equal.
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