Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Roundheels or Prudes?

I have a lovely single friend who graciously allows me to enjoy vicariously her romantic exploits (and gave permission for me to discuss this topic here). She’s a hottie who is not afraid to (very safely) explore her wild side, and she’s ticked off a number of conquests that are on my fantasy list (e.g., bike messenger, guitarist in a rock and roll band, various other sullen slacker stereotypes). The other day she was recounting to me a romp with someone new, and remarked that this fellow was unusual in that he’d asked specific permission to proceed at every step along the primrose path. Although she certainly appreciated his courteousness, this had the effect of interrupting the momentum somewhat. It wasn’t as if he was asking to do anything freaky, she pointed out. It was more that he seemed to be expecting her to call a halt to the proceedings at any moment, and was surprised (though grateful) that she did not. And come to think of it, many of the men she’d enjoyed had displayed a similar “Wow! What a wonderful surprise!” reaction to her favors. Which made her start to wonder if she is unusual. Do most people call a halt before going All the Way? And if so, when? And for crying out loud, why?

I was of no help here, because I’ve encountered a similar “surprised but happy conquest” situation a number of times (including with TrophyHusband). I have never started making out with a guy without following the experience through to what I believe to be its natural conclusion. This is because I would never swap spit with someone I was not willing to swap other bodily fluids with (or pretend to—condoms always, everybody!). So we got to wondering, are we easy? Or are we overly picky? Do lots of people make out with someone they aren’t that into, or do lots of people hold back even when they’re hot for someone?

We went to the closest authority for more information: TrophyHusband. As a man who is very experienced in the ways of the swinging single world, we figured he’d have a reasonable sample size to be able to give an opinion. The question we posed to him was: “Did most of the women you made out with ask you to stop at some point?” (His sample being limited to women.)

His answer was a rueful “Oh yeah.” He was unable to put a number on it (years have past since those times, after all), but estimated that it was certainly the majority of the time. He said that where things were halted varied widely, though there was perhaps an above-the-waist/ below-the-waist trend. He had no answer to the why question; he said no one ever explained, they just said, “Okay, that’s enough!”

So, are my friend and I roundheels, or prudes? For those of you who don’t finish what you start, why? And what makes you decide when to stop?


EJW said...

I recently read an article about a rape trial where the timing of consent was the crux of the case. The woman had agreed to have sex, but then changed her mind after penetration had occurred.

Maybe some men are so crossing some line that they get verbal consent at every step?

It's definitely not been my (limited) experience. But then I've been off the market for 8 years, so maybe the kids are doing it differently now?

thumbscre.ws said...

ejw: wow, I don't even know what to make of that. Consent is definitely a shades-of-gray issue... on one hand, a man who doesn't respect "Get off of me RIGHT NOW, damn it" is an utter bastard, but a rapist? That's trickier.

Stopping at a (seemingly) arbitrary point also seems to be more popular among those with limited experience... going from one partner to two is DOUBLING your number (eeek! egads!); tacking an extra conquest onto... um... a SOMEWHAT HIGHER figure doesn't seem quite as monumental.

Religious upbringing also seems to play a role in these things. I wouldn't know, having been raised in a delightfully heathenish fashion. But I've met a number of religious types with fairly odd self-imposed boundaries vis a vis sex. I fooled around with a guy who would do "everything but"; my friend J. dated a girl who was convinved that an@l sex wasn't "really" sex. Which amused me to no end... just imagining Judeo-Christian God sitting up there on his cloud, booming, "THOU SHALL NOT FORNICATE PRIOR TO MARRIAGE! BUT TAKING IT UP THE @SS? THAT IS A-OKAY!"

Anonymous said...

I never actually made out with a person thinking that they thought it would go all the way. I always thought that what we were doing was exactly what we intended to do. I guess that is terribly naïve of me.

Because I don’t personally feel that kissing is more intimate than sex I probably (maybe) would be more willing to kiss early on and would have already decided in my mind what lines I was/wasn’t willing to cross. Once the imaginary fences had been breeched I would call a halt to the proceedings…and very quickly…less I let the infiltrators in too far to do anything about it.

Anonymous said...

I didn't really mean to be anonymous up there...I just don't have a blogger account...I post here: http://members.diaryland.com/edit/view.phtml?user=elle-78

CecilyK said...

Oh, hell, I don't know. As an alcoholic slut, I never went half-way either. But I'm not sure I'm a good case in point. Add to that the fact that it's been almost 15 years since I've been in the market, well... what the heck do I know?

Anonymous said...

Back when I was in college, there was a weird sexual consent "contract" thing going around--it started in one of the Ivies, iirc--that required both parties to agree to what was about to occur before it happened. It was meant to cut down on the incidence of date rape (failed miserably, mocked widely). Maybe your friend's, um, conquest came of sexual age then, is only just now getting back on the market, and thinks it's still 1985. Just a guess.

KC said...

This post tickles me. Um...when the alcohol wears off, sometimes a yes becomes a no.

I think it boils down to differing standards with whom you start things at all with. As a former-friend-turned-psychopath once said, "there's few that are worthy of penetrating me!"

Anonymous said...

As someone who grew up very religious, and is still very religious (by urban American standards), and as someone who doesn't intend to engage in any kind of sex (oral, anal, vaginal, mutual masturbation, whatever) before marriage, I have definitely "made out" with guys without, at all, intending to go all the way. Most of these guys are similarly religious, though, and this whole thing being sort of forbidden territory, tend to ask if things are okay, which I appreciate. One guy put his arm around me and then asked if that was okay, which I thought was sweet. I'm in my mid-20s, if that makes a difference, and I do fully realize that my experiences aren't the norm in general American culture.

Just thought you might want to hear from someone different!

(Can I just add something: I was once at a dermatologist's office, thinking of taking accutane, and 100% sure I wasn't pregnant. The pregnancy test was inconclusive because I didn't manage to pee directly on it or something. I assured the nurses that I was 100% sure I wasn't pregnant because I'd never had sex--and they laughed at me! If you come across an fairly attractive 25-year-old woman who's never had sex, please don't laugh. It isn't nice. Thanks.)

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm just a girl who could say no.

-religion but I think most religious things are actually a good idea in the long run

-I wanted to make sure people liked me for me

-the idea of only sleeping with someone that you cared enough to have as a husband and/or have a baby with appealed to me

-I don't like to feel like someones conquest

-I was able to. Some people like the guy too much and fear they will lose him. Some people have to give in pretty young to stay in their peer group. I never minded being on th eouts as long as I could be my own person.

Mignon said...

Hmm... harkening back... I didn't have many sex partners before marriage, but only because I met my husband in college. I remember a couple times cutting off a guy because, like Jul said, I was all about the numbers.

I agree about the swapping spit/semen principle. Plus, the fantasy of chance encounters with hot guys is the primary lubrication for my married sex-life. So I'm saying I'd do it (but probably get very emotionally attached and needy) whenever wherever.

If you can believe it, my WV is qwki.

Anonymous said...

I am seriously utterly amazed that the number of men you (or anyone else) has had sex with is equal to the number of men you have made out with. I know the answer is no, but the kind of question that what comes to mind is, "Didn't you ever kiss a guy at a party? Like, in the kitchen, and he was hot but you lived on different continents and then you never saw him again?" I honestly do not know how many men I have made out with (80?) I'm off the market now, but I liked kissing! It's fun and it's low-risk. As for the men I DID have sex with, about 90% of them had to wait awhile. So, did you have sex with each of your partners the first night you kissed them? I liked to be wined and dined and such and make sure they really are worthy of the whole shebang, etc., and that I wouldn't get (too) hurt, etc.

My thought on the "are we sluts or prudes" question is is that whether you stopped sometimes or not is not really the determining factor. I think it's more if you slept with a large number of men, and how involved you were with each one, isn't it? Under that definition, I am on the slutty side...

PS I've never heard that term, "roundheel." Is it regional or something? I'm 32.

Anonymous said...

"Roundheel." Heh. Not a regionalism but a quaint old-fashioned term for a loose lady (roundheels = falls over easily. Like a Weeble.).

Like the latest Anonymous, I have kissed many, many more guys than I have slept with. Not because I am a prude, or because anyone who does differently is a slut, but just because that's what I felt like doing. Kissing seemed like a good way to find out if there was any chemistry without committing to anything more serious.

I would like to banish the term "slut," anyway, because the only definition that seems to fit is "someone who's had more sex than I have."

Anonymous as well, although I usually comment here as Denise, because my dad knows my blog URL and I don't want him to Google me.

Grace said...

I think this is my first comment here, so, hi!

Got here from the divine Bitch PhD, of course.

Anyway, I assume this:

Back when I was in college, there was a weird sexual consent "contract" thing going around--it started in one of the Ivies, iirc--that required both parties to agree to what was about to occur before it happened. It was meant to cut down on the incidence of date rape (failed miserably, mocked widely). Maybe your friend's, um, conquest came of sexual age then, is only just now getting back on the market, and thinks it's still 1985. Just a guess.

refers to the widely-derided "Antioch Rules," named for Antioch College in Ohio.

I was a virgin until marriage (I'm religious, but I also vote for Green Party candidates whenever I get the chance, so I don't really fit in either box) and my husband and I stopped well short of anything that could be described as "sex" - we slept together in the literal sense, but kept all our clothes on even when making out fairly heavily, and stayed above the waist. We didn't really define these boundaries beforehand, that's just what I (as the one who cared about being abstinent until marriage) was comfortable with.

Anonymous said...

Going anonymous for this one...

I have kissed more men than I've had sex with, but in my dating career it was very, very unusual if a guy didn't try to sleep with me on the first date. On the few occasions I stopped someone, it was usually for one of two reasons: a) I bought into society's idea that there was something inherently bad about sleeping with someone on the first date, even though it didn't bother me all that much personally; or b) I hadn't shaved my legs or worn nice enough underwear.

I went on to date almost all the guys I had sex with, so I don't have very many regrets in that regard. I just don't see anything wrong with having multiple sex partners or having sex early in the relationship if that's what both of you want.

Anonymous said...

Ok, reading the comments, now I just feel like a really big tease.

But mostly, I always had the notion that kissing and such was kind of a test drive to see if someone was going to be any good. No chemistry? I didn't ever feel any obligation to proceed.

And back in 1705 when I was on the market, there wasn't any big scandal over kissing a guy or letting him grab the mumbly jumblies. There was however, a big scarlet A or something if you balled any divisible fraction of a given sports team.

Anyway, will be interested in reading the rest of the comments to see the consensus.

Meredith said...

I’ve probably kissed twice as many men as I’ve slept with (which is quite a lot anyway – so I guess that makes me a roundheel!?), and I don’t see that as a problem – preferable, in fact! What about spontaneity? A hot kiss and then pulling back because you both realise it’s not a good idea to take it to its logical conclusion, much as you both want to? (For whatever reason – one that comes to mind is an encounter I had on a work team retreat – we both realised getting off with someone at work perhaps wasn’t the wisest course of action.) Or a teenage groping on a dancefloor? There’s nothing better than a sweet, sweet kiss, and it’s sometimes even more memorable if it doesn’t go further than that.

But as for someone stopping every two seconds to ask if they can take it to the next level – no, that’s weird! Less talking, more action please.

From the lion's mouth said...

I say, if you're hot for someone, why on earth would you suddenly want to tell them to stop, right when it was getting interesting??

That said, sometimes you kiss someone and then realise you're not nearly as hot for them as you thought.

Anonymous said...

This is kind of surprising. I can imagine many reasons for wanting to just kiss someone. I have always been vaguely aware somewhere that some men have the expectation that if you kiss them you are implicitly promising sex with them. I thought those were the jerky guys since it seems quite normal to have a variety of desires and expectations that involve bodily contact, affection, swapping spit, etc. The expectation to have sex after making out was sort of a hassle and probably deprived me of some great make-out sessions.

E.g. (1) I'm trying you out. Nope, no thanks! (2) I'm trying you out for now. A taste. Then I'll go home and think about it. (3) Anticipation is sexy. Let's draw it all out. (4) I'm too tired/drunk/busy to have sex. Sorry! Big test in the morning! Thanks for the fun, gotta run.

Multiply the above by 100,000. I should mention that 1-4 are as like (or almost as likely) to occur to men, too. I've met lots of men that like to make out, draw out the moment, try the samples and come back later.

Prudishness doesn't seem to come into it. I have to admit there was something kind of sexy about a man not assuming you would sleep with him--rather than assuming that there was some kind of contract--instead realizing that there's complexity to those moments and trying to respond to what you might be feeling in the moment. Checking in, as it were. That seems almost like a requisite thing for the first time. Am I just weird?

Meg said...

There are a lot of boys in my past who got a goodnight kiss who didn't get goodnight laid!

gabbiana said...

Well then. Given that I'm the single lady ("slut")through whom my friends live vicariously (and dully, but no matter)...

I *have* kissed more guys than I've slept with. Mostly because some of those guys were bad kissers, and why would you even *try* with a bad kisser?

Otherwise, um, yeah. I'm not religious, my parents didn't raise me to have a guilt complex about the premarital s-e-x (NO BABIES and NO DISEASES are still pretty firm rules, though), and I... well, I've had enough hookups by now that one more won't matter so much for my number.

(Aside: And I always found that "everything but" rule really stupid. God doesn't want you to have penetrative intercourse, but he's cool with your mouth on someone else's genitalia? WHERE IN THE BIBLE IS THAT?)

HOWEVER. Here's the thing: I don't feel guilty about sex, don't feel guilty about enjoying it, but I feel like there's an... expectation that I make the guy *wait* if I want a real Relationship. Because, y'know, girls aren't supposed to want it.

'course, the way this works out is, I'm more likely to hook up (as in, on the first date) with someone I'm not interested in than with someone I am. Because, y'know, who the hell cares what a one-night stand thinks of me?

(The other way it works out is I *say* I'm going to make a guy wait and then never do. Because... well, sex is fun. QED.)

Anyway. Now that I've made no point at all... I love the word "roundheel."

Anonymous said...

I've kissed more guys than I had sex with. Often, though, there really wasn't an implicit agreement for or against. The ones who I kissed that I didn't eventually have sex with were usually when I was very young... or just decided it would be a bad idea.

And I also like the term "roundheel."

DrSpouse said...

I've certainly kissed and/or allowed some degree of under-clothes activity to more people than I've allowed penetration. I've also had occasions when I've not wanted to go further than fondling with Mr. Spouse.

I'm not sure anyone's ever asked my permission (perhaps, as some have said, that's a modern thing) but I would feel pretty insulted if a boyfriend had assumed a kiss=sex available immediately afterwards. I think sometimes there's been a "shall we take this upstairs" on his part with a "no thanks" on my part or an "I don't feel like that [right now/with you]" on my part.

Everyday Superhero said...

Seeing as I married the only man I have ever had sex with when I was 20... I can't say that any experience in this arena. But I do know that I dated (and made out with) a handful of boys before I met my husband. That could be chalked up to youth and inexperience as much as anything else. I like to think that post-virginity-loss, if I hadn't married the guy, I would have slept with other men if it felt right. To be honest, I'm pretty much a go-with-my-hormones kind of girl, so I can imagine that the majority of the time making out would lead to sex. I know it does with the hubby!

Anonymous said...

I haven't had a huge number of sexual partners, but once I "went all the way" the first time, I pretty much "went all the way" with anyone I made out with. Pretty much the first time we kissed. I had one serious boyfriend who I didn't have sex with the very first time we made out. But I wanted to. He thought we should wait. We both worked together in the same firm, and I guess we weren't exactly sure we were going to end up together, so it was probably a wise decision, but I would not have said no. I probably would have said "oh, we shouldn't" and then done it anyway. By the way, we did it on our second date. Some of my guy friends used to call me "first date [insert my last name that starts with f here].

Anonymous said...

I made out with a few more boys than I slept with (before making out with/sleeping with/marrying my husband) but only just a few more. Put me down as a roundheel, I guess, although stopped from too terribly high numbers by getting all monogamous and committal at the tender age of 22. In my day, though, I was generally the kind of girl who rode the whole way once the train left the station. On the occasions when I didn't, it was usually the result of a poor choice of undergarments or incomplete/non-existent grooming. One of these I still regret, because I know he would have been awesome. Byron, was his name. Tall, blond, buff Byron. The one who got away (or, rather, was sent away and then never came back).

B.E.C.K. said...

"For those of you who don’t finish what you start, why?"

What if all one means to start is a kiss? And why must all kissing lead to sex? Doesn't anyone just kiss for the sake of kissing? I don't get it.

Anonymous said...

..since you are asking for perspectives...As a female, it's my belief that ,for many women , sex is difficult to partake in without stirring up emotion. I have seen many a friend who, prior to doing the deed, were rational, happy go lucky participants in a budding relationship. After sex, they often felt they were " falling in love " or " wanted to be with ONLY that guy " , in addition to exhibiting clingy behaviors: not because the guy had proven himself worthy of their efforts, but seemingly for the fact that intercourse had transpired..

Point is: I think sex is underrated in terms of the physical , emotional implications it entails, much less the fact that it's inherent ( not sanctioned/approved mind you, hah ! ) purpose is to bring forth new life. Deep stuff.

I think it is essential that you have a good feel for a person with whom you plan to have sex with, as if they turn out to not be Mr. Wonderful( or Ms. Wonderful ) as they OFTEN do, it seems wasteful to have shared a meaningful part of your being with someone you won't see again in life....sorry for the ramble...

Anonymous said...

Having read through all these I now feel like an utter knob. Also a complete prude.

I kissed a lot more guys that I slept with. Mostly I was afraid of sex for many, many years. And some of them were guys I just wanted to kiss: for the tingle, and that's all. Or: I liked them well enough to kiss, but not to sleep with.

I was getting to the point of sleeping with the guys I kissed- I was up to 2, and at once!- when I met (and seduced) my husband. And... that was the end of that. Pity, in part because I've always rather wanted to kiss a woman and never got to it.

Anonymous said...

It's been about 12-years since I've been single but back in the day I was a bit of a make-out Queen. I love both kissing and sex but to me kissing is a way to determine whether or not you've got that connection with a person. Do you feel the zing? If so, I would likely continue on.

That said, I had many drunken nights where I started to sober up mid-way through make-out/clothing removal to realize that a)my partner was a bad, bad man; b) my partner was a gross, gross man; c) my partner was a dirty, dirty man; d) my partner was the ex of a friend or e) the partner was my one of my previously discarded exes.

Sometimes sex just isn't logistically a possibility. Location, timing, etc. I've made out with guys in places where getting a hold of protection was simply not an option - therefore, no sex. I've had passionate make-out sessions with guys when my parents/friends/colleagues have been a stones through a way but having sex (enjoyable sex) would have been significantly trickier.

I definitely wouldn't consider myself a prude but I've probably only slept with about 5% of guys I've made out with.

Anonymous said...

Huh, is *that* what it's like to have a sex "drive", that the sex sort of automatically happens once you get close enough to someone unless you deliberately stop it? Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyable-for-both-of-us sex with my partner-who-is-not-my-first-partner (and a regular self-action habit) but the idea of not having sex as "holding back" is foreign to me. Sometimes I want to go through the various deliberate actions of sex and sometimes I'm happy to kiss and grope and grind and be aroused and not do any of the sex moves, and the same has been true with past partners - that doesn't seem any more (to me) like "not finishing what I start" than not eating a second slice of cake after a first yummy slice. I don't deny myself cake I want... I don't force-feed myself cake I don't want... sometimes I'm just more or less hungry for cake.

Anonymous said...

This is the same anonymous again... the cake is actually a bad example because I will usually eat a whole piece of cake if there's one sitting in front of me, because mmm, delicious cake, keep putting cake in cake-hole. Sex is more like... keeping on going and getting another book by the same author out of the library if I liked the last one I read. Yes, in some cases this is the thing I want to do, because mmm, delicious author, but it's hardly a "finishing what you start" thing, and even when I really want the next book I have to keep reminding myself to go to the library.

Orange said...

I was a drunken making-out slut (clothed variety) in college during my virginal years, but was never tempted to go all the way until the summer before senior year, when I fell in love and dispensed with my virginity (zero religious overtones to the virginity thing for me). Six months later, he dumped me. The next guy, I also ended up falling in love with. So I slept with him, too, and have been monogamous for the last 19 years. No idea if I would have become one who finishes what she starts or not.

Anonymous said...

interesting questions. lots of interesting posts.

i've had sex with a very great many men. why? curiosity. i wasn't interested in longterm love or whatnot. i was just curious about sex. now i'm almost 50 and i'm not curious anymore. i'm concentrating on other subjects these days. i'm not interested in romantic love. i've never actually loved a man. i didn't understand what that was all about when i was younger, i pretended i did when i was older and i've stopped pretending now that i'm middle aged. i'm just not that into men. (or women either.) i'm just being true to myself these days. i'm not a cold-hearted person whatsoever. just that i'm totally not interested in exclusive male/female love relations.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't going to comment, but I finally figured I'd throw my 'stats' in there ;-) I am 26 and got married when I was 20 (TWENTY!). I started kissing on my 18th birthday. I have kissed four guys and slept with one (my current husband). Before marriage, we kept everything above the neck. You may have guessed that this is religiously motivated. I am LDS (Mormon). We french-kissed a few times, and I felt guilty enough about that, that I made us go talk to our religious leader. He mostly laughed at us (they have much 'worse' to deal with).

Any touching of genitals, clothed or not, is NOT OK in my church. But many of the youth don't get it and think that oral is OK; that it "doesn't count". I'm not sure how they came to this conclusion, but it was always very clear to me :-)

E. said...

I would make out with many people who I may or may not want to actually have sex with. Making out is just pure recreational fun, and I don't associate it with deep intimacy and emotional attachment the way I do with sex.

Sometimes I have figured out in the earlier stages of making out and groping that I probably wouldn't want to have sex with a guy. If the chemistry of the kissing/groping isn't amazing, there's no way I'd want to take it to the ultimate act(s).

I'd also make out with someone I liked and felt attracted to, but didn't necessarily respect or love. I've only had sex with someone I didn't love and wasn't 100% sure I respected once, and I regretted it a bit. Plus the sex wasn't great (which is has been with every other person I've gone that far with.)

I don't think of this as a prude/player thing, though. I think it's just a matter of knowing yourself and what you need and want. (Plus I just really enjoy making out as an end in itself. It's the only thing that's hard for me about monogamy - I don't miss having sex with other people, but once in awhile I wish I could just have a nice make out session with someone new...)

Anonymous said...

Wow- this is a really interesting discussion. For me, this is really simple; it just takes me a bit of time to become comfortable with a new partner, even if I really like him. So, there isn't a specific point that I plan to stop at in advance, but I will inevitably want to stop.

Anonymous said...

I was in high school in the 1960s and engaged in some very heavy making out, including genital touching (but, oddly enough, not to orgasm for either of us)with several guys. Then, before I entered into my current longtime monogomous relationship, I had actual intercourse with probably a half-dozen men.

In retrospect, I would have to say that the hottest sex I've ever had was during some of those make-out sessions, rather than otherwise. I think maybe the aspect of forbidden fruit made it more exciting --- or maybe I should have had intercourse with the guys I was making out with and forgotten about the others!

Artemisia said...

To me, there are enormous differences between recreational kissing and recreational sex. I have probably kissed ten guys for every one I slept with. Sex is *never* just a physical thing for me and I need a bit of time to know the guy and test the chemistry before I'm sure I want to go there. Some women make snap decisions and, hey, more power to them.

I do NOT get people who think they are being all chaste having oral and anal sex but not vaginal sex. The level of delusion there amazes me!

From the lion's mouth said...

Okay, I know where you're coming from with this:

"I feel like there's an... expectation that I make the guy *wait* if I want a real Relationship. Because, y'know, girls aren't supposed to want it.

'course, the way this works out is, I'm more likely to hook up (as in, on the first date) with someone I'm not interested in than with someone I am. Because, y'know, who the hell cares what a one-night stand thinks of me?"

But really, I'd rather find out if a guy has those sort of "girls shouldn't *want* it" double-standards straight off and not waste any more of my time on him!

Rob said...

From a guy's POV, which you all already knew anyway:
Algo es algo, dijo un calvo.
(ie, anything's better than nothing)

Anonymous said...

Hi Everybody,

This conversation is fun! As a hopeful future doctor mamma (currently an unmarried, no kids having second year med student) I enjoy this blog a lot.

Anyway, regarding making out and sex, once you've gone all the way, some times it is hard to just kiss when you're with a new guy (as my friend Bridget says "once you pop, you can't stop!"

When it comes to making out, maybe I'm a "slut" because I'll do that with just about anyone (like that hot Mexican soldger I met in Puerto Rico that time) but sex is reserved for guys I really like and trust.

It's funny because I consider myself feminist, yet what I'm about to write might not sit well with others. I believe that for a lot of women sex and emotions are highly tied together, and can't be taken apart. For many this is not the case. But if we push down our emotional needs for the sake of sexual independence and empowerment, are we really empowered or are we just imitating men? On the other hand, if a woman knows she wants to have sex with a man early or casually, she should NOT have to be concerned about him labeling her. It takes two to do the deed. I guess I'm just saying women can be empowered not by doing it with lots of casual partners, nor by abstinence. Empowerment comes through doing exactly what you feel comfortable with and not being judged one way or the other.

Okay, off my soap box, back to the books.

Anonymous said...

There are lots and lots of very good reasons to limit a lot of partner to above-the-waist activities. I shall imitate your list making style as follows:

1. Intercourse includes risk of pregnancy & STDs. That risk makes it a bigger deal for some women, a little more nervewracking. It requires more trust than a mere snog.

2. If someone isn't a good kisser they probably aren't that good in the sack, so it may make sense to nip the relationship in the bud rather than find yourself sexually entangled with an unsatisfying lover.

3. Unless you believe you have a great body, taking off your clothes with a man can be scary, nerve-wracking etc. See #1.

4. Unless you are adequately aroused, intercourse can be painful. So if things haven't gone well at the snogging stage, it might not make sense to proceed further. See #2.

5. Something -- I don't know what it is, maybe some hormone or chemical or something -- but something seems to change after intercourse (but not after kissing). The likelihood of attachment seems to increase dramatically, at least for me and some other women I know. If the partner is someone you find attractive but to whom you know you should not become attached (he can't commit, he's a philanderer, he's a Republican, he has a gambling problem, he doesn't share your religious beliefs, he lives too far away, etc.) it may make sense to avoid your brain's release of that attachment-chemical and bypass certain future frustration/fights/heartache.

Anonymous said...

Anon for this, but want to give my perspective and experience anyway.

I don't think every little stage needs to be asked and allowed, but I do think things should stop before sex commences, as Ozma said, just to check in. In modern life, taking out a condom often serves as this check-in point.

I have kissed MANY more men (and women) than I've had sex with, and I've had one horrible
"misunderstanding" that left me wondering both "Was that rape?" and "Will I get pregnant or end up with herpes, etc." The stopping-to-take-out-a-condom step would have quashed both of those worries in a way that just plowing full-speed-ahead did not.

That's just my take on it -- and I'd say I'm somewhere between prude and roundheel. Which, agreed, is a great word.

Anonymous said...

This is the list-maker back with an afterthought: when I first slept with my husband, I asked him if what we were doing was ok at every step of the way because he was so manifestly unsure. "Can I take my shirt off?" "Would you be willing to take your shirt off?" etc. It didn't seem odd to me at all: he was clearly nervous and I wanted to stop if he wanted to.

DoctorMama said...

I am learning a lot here. Thanks for all your frank responses.

Anonymous said...

Yup, Antioch. I went to a small university nearby and students on my camous certainly mocked that rule. Or maybe the mockign was done only by other fun-loving girls like me. Girls who saw no reason in going out to find a good time if you were stop him (and yourself) halfway. Really, anyone who can't read a few cues or follow the initial instructions and needs to ask at every goddamn step doesn't deserve to advance to the next level. I had/have better things/people to do.