Saturday, January 2, 2010

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me

A couple of days, a lot of SATC episodes, a vexing question--does sex devalue a woman? I answered no. I'm sure SATC would say no too, but my friend Annie pointed out that I may think this way, but the rest of the world may not. Don't I think it's true that it's better to hold off on sleeping with someone? I try to deconstruct this question. There has to be a systematic way. Let's start with the premise. Men may not want women who are “easy” or sexually available. We have to assume that men divide women into two categories: the hook up and the relationship. Does having sex with someone right away immediately propel you into the former category? Is it an irreversible trajectory?

Think of all the relationships you see around you. How many of them started because the two parties hooked up one night? How many times have you hooked up with someone to have it turn into something substantial? Personally, I know of quite a few instances where two people hook up and then eventually start dating. Why then do we keep repeating to ourselves that hooking up will destroy any chance of a meaningful relationship?

There’s virtue in recognizing that relationships work best when both people genuinely enjoy being with each other, when our judgment isn’t clouded by the surging hormones and post-coital bliss. We want to be sure that he likes us for us and that we like him for him---not because of some oxytocin-induced attachment. But there will never be a prophylactic for heartbreak. I say this to my friends again and again. What Samantha (from SATC) said was true, “A guy can easily dump you if you have sex with him on the first date as he could if you had sex with him on the tenth date.” If you are who you are, (smart, funny, genuine, beautiful) why would you all of a sudden turn into a swamp creature as soon as you have sex?

Whether you decide to hold off or do it right away, each decision is personal and dictated by the circumstances. If you're holding off because you're afraid that the guy won't respect you, you need to ask yourself why your "purity" is the only thing worth respecting about you. Who says that particular attribute is so desirable? Do you have a career that you’re proud of? Are you sure of yourself and what you want out of life? Believe it or not, people respect that and if any man believes that you have to be “pure” or sexually unavailable in order for him to respect you, he is the wrong kind of man---one that I certainly don’t respect.