In certain quarters of society, the idea that women have become “too easy” is a common complaint. This is generally a conservative position which has the “good old days” as its point of comparison, where women were expected to be modest and chaste until marriage.
This traditional model had its most recent heyday in the 1950s, where traditional family values that centered the importance of marriage and “saving yourself for one person” were at their apex.
After the sexual revolution of the 1960s, which came about due to changing social attitudes and technological advances like the invention of the oral contraceptive pill, attitudes towards pre-marital sex became looser. The rise of various feminist movements also encouraged women to break free of old social norms throughout the 1970s, 80s and 90s — right up until today.
So what’s the upshot of these decades of social change? Basically, women these days are, generally speaking, more likely to openly engage in casual sex than they used to be. But the idea that this makes them “easy” — let alone “too easy” — deserves closer examination.
Here are 8 reasons the idea that women have become too easy is wrongheaded, and some discussion of why the rise of more relaxed attitudes about casual sex is actually a good thing for both men and women:
1. It Doesn’t Make Sense If You’re A Man Who Wants To Have Casual Sex
One key reason to ditch the traditional, puritanical attitude towards sexually liberated women is that sex is — not to put too fine a point on it — really damn fun. Sex is an activity that’s widely enjoyed by many people, male and female alike, so what’s the sense in leveraging our social attitudes in order to limit how much of it people are willing to engage in? And, more to the point, why shame one particular gender out of having as much sex as the other?
The idea that women are “too easy” (read: have too much casual sex) seems to be a peculiarly self-defeating attitude for straight men to hold. On the one hand, men are famously interested in having as much sex with women as possible — there’s a multi-million dollar industry peddling men endless self-help books and YouTube tutorial videos dedicated to helping them get more sex, not to mention the sheer scale of the porn industry — yet on the other hand we’re accusing women of being too easy and, by proxy, discouraging them from sleeping with men.
Well, which way is it going to be? Either you want to have sex with women or you don’t. If you do, it makes no sense whatsoever to discourage potential sexual partners from being willing to have sex without signing a marriage certificate first by slapping them with derogatory labels like “easy”. Come on, this is basic math.
2. There’s No Benefit To Discouraging Sex
Consensual sex between adults is largely a victim-free, harmless activity that causes no wider social harms. It’s true that sex does come with some (manageable) risks such as STIs and pregnancy, but overall it’s no more dangerous an activity that rock climbing or jogging, and it doesn’t negatively impact the lives of outsiders (unlike, say, those noisy, pesky jet skiers!)
If everyone is freely participating and being as safe as possible, sex is, in fact, healthy and should be encouraged among people who are interested in it. Sexual activity is a form of physical exercise (something most of us need more of) that increases intimacy and relaxation, and even boosts immunity.
3. Religion Doesn’t Dominate Our Lives The Way It Used To
One of the core reasons that “saving yourself” until marriage became such a strong social impetus was because of religion, and religion is still the root cause of most of our judgmental attitudes towards casual sex. Various religions dictate that remaining chaste and modest is a moral impetus ordained by God (in whichever form), and for a long time the idea of displeasing a supreme deity was enough to prevent most of us from doing anything He prohibited (at least, out in the open).
However, these days most of us live in increasingly secular societies and families and don’t let religious dogma determine how we spend our waking hours. By and large, we’re no longer spending our Sundays in church and rushing off to confession after every one-night stand. Religion doesn’t hold the same sway over our behavior that it used to, and that’s partly why questions about whether women are becoming “too easy” look increasingly out-of-place in modern societies.
4. Casual Sex Is Useful & Important
Casual sex allows all of us to explore our sexual desires before we commit to one person for the remainder of our lives (if that’s your thing). Let’s face it: most people consider sex to be an important component in a romantic relationship and finding out that you have zero sexual chemistry with your new wife when you finally consummate your marriage is a recipe for divorce.
Fortunately, these days you can avoid that embarrassment by gaining a clear idea of your sexual desires well in advance of your wedding night. Casual sex allows you to experiment in the bedroom without the weight of commitment, and for that reason, it’s a useful activity that shouldn’t be discouraged in women.
5. Sex Isn’t Inherently Dirty Or Degrading
There’s nothing inherently degrading about having sex with someone you aren’t in a committed relationship with or soon after meeting someone new. As we’ve discussed, it doesn’t hurt bystanders or causes widespread social disarray, so why would we shame the individuals involved? (Or, ahem, just the female ones?)
The idea that casual sex is degrading is a social construct, and social constructs only gain life when we repeat them over and over. We don’t think other normal, natural activities like eating or breathing are degrading, so why the specific hang up around sex? Collectively we could stop viewing sex as something that debases us and instead come to see it as something that’s healthy, normal, and fun when consenting adults take part, and doing so would cause us all to be way less stressed and uptight about a normal part of life.
6. The Question Contains A Double Standard
It’s interesting to note that the question isn’t “Have people become too easy?” but rather “Have women become too easy?” Why isn’t anyone asking whether men have become too easy? Casual sex is now more readily available for people of any gender than it was in the past, with fewer risks, so why is it that we’re only worried about women doing “too much” of it?
The answer is simple if a little depressing: sexist double standards. We tend to punish women for displaying the same sexual attitudes that are encouraged in men, and although we like for women to look sexually available and hot at all times, we shame those of them who actually follow through with it by having casual sex. This is pretty self-evidently unfair, and that’s as good a reason as any to pause before asking if women have become too easy.
7. Slut-Shaming Hurts Women
If you’re not convinced that sexual double standards are bad enough, consider that shaming women for having casual sex causes real, tangible harm to thousands of women every day.
Slut-shaming is a serious form of bullying and one that’s disproportionately targeted at women. Netflix’s documentary Audrie & Daisy details the tragic impact of slut-shaming — which can result in isolation, low self-esteem, self-harm and suicide — with heartbreaking clarity, and is a worthwhile watch for anyone who’s still not convinced that slut-shaming is “a thing” (a very, very terrible thing).
No one should be shamed for doing something with their own bodies that causes no harm to others, and labeling women with epithets like “easy” or “slutty” plays into this idea that it’s okay to torment someone because of their sexual choices. It’s not, and that’s another reason we’re side-eyeing the idea that women are “too easy”.
8. Sex Isn’t The End Of The Chase
Sometimes the question “Have women become too easy?” is a way of reframing a sense of exasperation that there’s no thrill of the chase anymore. If women will have sex whenever they feel like it, what happens to all the wooing and courting and flirting? Isn’t that half the fun?
Worry not. For a start, it’s not like women don’t require wooing and courting to have sex anymore — it’s just that these days the whole process can take part over the course of a single evening rather than spanning months or years, and who is seriously arguing that that’s less fun?
Moreover, the idea that sex itself is the ultimate end game is a little boring and limiting. There’s still plenty more to “chase” left once you’ve convinced a woman to go to bed with you: for a start, you can get to know her better, or you pursue better, more fulfilling sex for both of you (let’s face it, the first night of sex often isn’t the greatest). There’s no reason that casual sex has to spell the end of courtship, so there’s no need to fear women being “easy”.
Whatever way you cut it, the idea that women have become too easy is wrong-headed. If you’re looking at it from a female point of view, the question is harmful and creates a double standard that punishes women for engaging in activities men can do freely, and that sucks. Similarly, if you look at it from a male perspective, shaming women out of wanting to have casual sex with you is counter-productive and treats sex as inherently shameful and degrading, and that sucks, too!
The idea that women are too easy is a lose-lose regardless of what gender you are, so the next time you hear someone asking if women have become too easy these days, feel free to school them on the dodgy assumptions underlying that question.
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