Have you heard the news? Apparently we, and by we I mean that group known as ‘the ladies’, actually LIKE sex. As in, we enjoy it. Shagging. And furthermore, we actually like sex as much as men do. Perhaps even MORE. As Stylist magazine put it this week: ‘Some women like sex. Get over it.’
This crazy ‘revelation’ has come about because of a new book, entitled ‘What Women Want’, and written by a man (just sayin’) called Daniel Bergner. In an extract from his book in the Guardian, Daniel explains that some experiments were done, and in those experiments, women showed higher levels of arousal when looking at various combinations of humans and primates fucking (OK that came out wrong – it was mostly humans who fucked each other in various gender combos, and then there were some Bonobo monkeys fucking too, though I should add that at no point did a person fuck a monkey). While men were left nonplussed by the shagging apes, the women actually quite dug it (as a side note- imagine having to admit during a game of ‘Never have I ever’ that you took part in a psychosexual experiment that resulted in your getting wet by the sight of Bonobo sex. Awkward), which scientists have taken to mean that we have higher sex drives, yadda yadda…
While Stylist are treating this as a big revelation (though the article is good, I should add), excuse me for not being all that surprised. I have, after all, pretty much always liked sex, as have my friends, so while I see that this is a big hoo-ha for society at large, where a double standard definitely persists, I just don’t see what relevance this has as far as my own, self-obsessed, existence is concerned, not to mention that of my more adventurous mates, who do all kinds of stuff that I can’t reveal here, even anonymously.
Perhaps the reason I am unsurprised by this sexual newsflash is because I am a slut who rolls around with a massive group of sluts. Guilt and sex are never something that have gone together for us. Judging by the number of flings and one night stands we have between us, my friends and I have been pretty much busting the stereotype that sex and emotion go hand in hand ever since we became sexually active. One of my friends makes a regular habit of doing one as soon as the guy is asleep, slipping out never to be seen again. Many of them find monogamy boring, especially in their twenties, and a few of them are even serial cheaters (I am not condoning this, btw). As far as kinky behaviour goes, it varies from having sex in an art gallery to group sex with two male models to doing a guy with a strap on, and not once have I ever heard any of my friends say: ‘I feel like a slag for doing that’. Not once.
The point is, that while society is still implementing a vicious sexual double standard as far as ‘promiscuity’ is concerned, many young women are simply getting on with it without giving a toss. As someone who very much owns her number (or owns it enough to tell you it isn’t as high as my age but is definitely edging towards it – a woman has to retain some mystery, non?) I would not take back any of those shags. Not even the one that lasted thirty seconds (number seven), or the one with the hair who turned out to be gay (number ten). Not even the one who was a Tory (number nine), or the one who was much, much older (number eighteen) and had a secret baby. I don’t regret number five, who kissed me in the snow, and was the most beautiful, even in his superman underpants, but then I don’t regret number one, either, though I kept him secret for years, not from shame, but from fear of hurting someone I loved.
I don’t even the one who gave me HPV (no idea which of the fuckers that was). I don’t regret a single ‘walk of shame’ (which I always more regarded as a stride of pride anyway), or any of the six (ish?) morning after pills I have taken.
I am the Edith Piaf of sex. I regret nothing.
That’s not to say that you should immediately go out and have a zipless fuck, because you definitely, definitely won’t regret it. Perhaps I’m just sexually amoral, and you might. Every woman is different. But what I am saying is that the current coverage seems to imply that the sexual liberation of young women is destroying us by dragging us into some kind of slutty black hole of misery and self-loathing, when actually it er…isn’t. Take the book ‘The End of Sex: How Hookup Culture is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused About Intimacy.’ It was covered enthusiastically pretty much everywhere, probably because it essentially confirms our ingrained stereotypes, namely: women are in it for love, and one night stands and flings make us feel cheapened, and whorish, and sad.
Excuse me while I piss on your chips, garden variety misogynists and trolls of the internet, but I haven’t once felt cheapened by sex. Sad, perhaps, but then that’s par for the course when you’re trying to mount a lapsed Catholic who masturbated for so much of his childhood that he can’t get hard anymore. Whorish? Oh yes, definitely, but only in a sexy way. With stockings.
Furthermore, I haven’t once felt as though men ran the show. The young women of my acquaintance have sex when they want, with whom they want, and they don’t care what anyone thinks about it. In other words, they do what guys do, except, unlike certain guys who I could name and shame, they have not once farted while their partner has been going down on them. They’re considerate like that.
Not only is sex fun, and healthy, and hilarious, but it also keeps you warm at night. It gets you through the winter, but it also gets you through some really, really boring parties. It allows you both to leave early, on a joint mission in search of fags and johnnies, before a frisson-filled wait on the night bus. It allows you to turn up late, flushed and apologetic and full of excuses about the Northern line, and still tingling. You carry it as a secret throughout the day, like the girl in that advert for lube, sitting at the bus stop with her small, saucy smile of remembrance.
Sex can be disgusting and serendipitous and convenient (one of my besties once got in a taxi to find it was already occupied. By a man. ‘I’ll just come with you’, she said, decisively- if this were a Sex & the City script, I’d have added ‘and boy, did she come’) It can be gross and soul-destroying too, but those ones just make even better stories, and lots of us do it for the stories. Sex is sex is sex: it doesn’t matter how tall or short you are (everyone is the same height lying down) or how big your belly is, because you’re both in happy naked pose and neither of you give a shit. The sex being talked about in the media doesn’t just fail to reflect this, but it projects a whole load of emotions onto a generation which I imagine, for many, are completely confected. And yet, here we are, just getting on with it, doing our thing.
Perhaps it’s time that one of us wrote a book. At the very least, guys, you could just ask. We’d tell it to you straight.