Conversation, acceptance crucial to healthy atmosphere
By Joey Versen
The idea that the respective sexual standards for men and women are vastly different is one that is exaggerated and outdated within the context of American society. Ever since the sexual revolution of the Western world began in the 1960s, casual sex has become more commonplace and accepted than at any other time in history for men and women alike. In college today, the fact is that most students will have already had sex before arriving on campus, and students accept it.
Categorizing women that indulge in a lot of sexual activity as “sluts” or calling men who do the same “cool” or “manly” is simply something that most people don’t do. Many of our peers have sex. Some do so more often than others and some may not at all, but rarely do students berate their peers in either circumstance.
To judge someone based on their past is closed-minded, rash and unfair, and a mature college population tends to refrain from doing so.
As Americans, we are fortunate to live in a society where casual sex has become widely accepted as the norm. Consider living in certain civilizations that haven’t experienced sexual progression like the United States and other Western countries: A woman in Saudi Arabia was killed by her father for Facebook-chatting with a man. Three women in Pakistan were buried alive for refusing to comply with arranged marriages. In northern India, a woman was beheaded by her father for continuing to date men after he instructed her not to do so.
Examples like these illustrate an extreme double standard: a few idiot kids on a college campus calling girls names do not in reality pose much of a threat to women’s freedom to interact with men.
In the United States, there are indeed plenty of derogatory terms used for promiscuous women. Yet there are, in fact, plenty of derogatory terms for promiscuous men as well. Men and women are both creative enough to insult the opposite sex if they feel it to be necessary. The problem does not lie in our language but in our attitudes about sex and our attitudes toward one another.
An excess of sexual activity is unhealthy for anyone. Women aren’t the only ones who can be subject to a situation of unwanted pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease. In addition, besides these obvious practical complications, further emotional and psychological confusion and disorders arise that can affect either gender.
For the Greek philosopher Aristotle, any kind of virtue is achieved by reaching a mean in between excess and deficiency. For us to live virtuously as sexual beings, it is important to find a balance. While too much sex is harmful, so, too, is abandoning sexuality altogether.
In addition to managing our own sex lives, it is also our responsibility to treat our peers with respect and compassion in regard to their own personal sexual endeavors. We have nothing to gain from gossip or slander, as petty discussion about the lives of others signifies a shallow mind and misplaced priorities.
When with friends, we should talk about politics, music, school, philosophy, religion or sports, but leave the sex lives of others out of the conversation.
The cultivation of a healthy atmosphere of sexuality starts within us. We must each make an effort on a personal level to find a healthy and virtuous level of sexuality that makes sense to us in our current situation, regardless of perceived social pressures and norms.
Doing so will allow us to appreciate the benefits that sex has to offer while still allowing it to retain genuine meaning. Furthermore, we must also work toward an environment where individuals won’t need to consider the positive or negative impact on their reputation each time they have sex. Respecting the privacy of others will allow for a much more open-minded and understanding sexual culture.
The battle over a double standard concerning male and female sexuality is one that has been over in America for quite some time.
We are now faced with the task of individually maintaining a healthy sexuality within an accepting social environment, one which we must help to create. So abandon the antiquated male versus female mindset and join the rest of your peers in the unified journey towards sexual openness, empathy and virtue.