Somehow I killed an hour tonight looking at celebrity instagrams. The journey ended not because I decided I ought to do something more productive with my evening, but because I found inspiration. You need not look too far for the right kind of inspiration if you write a blog like mine. There’s examples of gender inequality, human sexuality, psychology, and relationships all over the place.
The photo was a photo-of-a-photo and the caption was this: since sex has become easier to get, love has become harder to find.
I couldn’t figure out exactly what it was that rubbed me the wrong way about this, and then I realized that it echoed sentiments from the virgin/whore dichotomy. Upfront, I agree. If you’ve ever tried dating, the pool can be hard to pick from. A lot of people, particularly in their early to mid-20s, are looking for more casual relationships. They want to enjoy themselves, have new experiences, figure out what kind of person they want to be with. They’re figure out what kind of person they want to be. Trial and error and enjoying yourself in the process isn’t such a bad way to go about it. It can be frustrating for people who want to have more traditional relationships or at least enter into the dating pool with more traditional expectations. (A date or two, some getting to know one another over conversation, a bit of restraint.)
The virgin/whore dichotomy is, very simply, the idea that a woman can either be good (a virgin) or bad (a whore). The problem is that many men (and women) expect certain behaviors or traits that are typical of a whore, while still wanting a good girl, someone who is presentable, intelligent, smart. A lady on the street but a freak in the bed. Once you are labeled as one or the other, stepping outside of either set of lines is met with resistance. Typically: slut shaming.
That line reflects the virgin/whore dichotomy because it presumes that women who want sex or women who are willing to have sex early in a relationship (or even prior to a relationship) are not acceptable life partners or are not capable of loving relationships. The sex has reduced their usefulness as “good” women and made them disposable.
Of course, many men and women who are looking for casual relationships do find love along the way. That one-night-stand might be someone you could spend your life with, if you gave them a chance. (Though this is a dangerous sentiment, as I think it’s perfectly acceptable to continue onwards with casual sex, and your one-night-stand might not appreciate being wooed post hookup.)
Ultimately I would say that there are plenty of people who are out there looking for love, even the ones who like to have sex. If you find that it’s too easy to find sexual partners and that it’s distracting you from finding love, it might be helpful to stop having casual sex and focus on finding partners who have a similar mentality as you do. Strictly: that you’d prefer waiting to enter into a sexual relationship until you’ve developed a more hands-off emotional relationship. No right or wrong way to do it, right? What’s right for you might not be right for me.
Sex is a lot easier to find than love because sex has the ability to be casual, whereas love in definition is not casual. It requires a whole variety of things including but not limited to: trust, communication, time, timing, weaknesses, commonality, chemistry, and attraction.
There are subtle examples of the virgin/whore dichotomy in every day life. I would expect that many women experience it growing up, and that it shapes how they feel about themselves, the relationships they have, and how sex-positive they are or aren’t.
Can you think of any examples from your life?