Sex for fun, do you play that—or not?
By susan mernit on April 10, 2008
BlogHer Original Post
During my last gig, at the online dating service, I used to joke about how differently men and women seemed to approach online dating. In interviews and click stream behavior, women indicated, again and again, that they wished the dating service would pick out a small selection of absolutely perfect matches for them; guys, on the other hand, seem to want ways to get the broadest possible number of women to read their email, find them fascinating and write back. The women wanted quality, the men, options.
It strikes me that this same kind of dichotomy between what men and women want and their attitudes toward it also exists when it comes to sex. I’ve heard more than one man say things like “You know, I love (name of partner), but I also like variety,” while the women I know seem more focused on how to improve the core relationship they’re having than on describing how or why they like to fool around.
My older (like late 30s and above) women friends mostly describe sex as a form of connection, anything from a manifestation of deep intimacy, passion and love to a bonding between friends. The younger friends—35 and below—talk about true love and real romance, but also cop to the occasional (or the regular) booty call.
So ladies, I put it too you—is okay to have sex with someone just because it’s fun? And—in the spirit of eating your own dog food (ouch)—do you? Have sex sometimes just because it’s fun? (And if you’re one of those married, monogamous ladies out there in BlogHer land reading this, just shut your ears, please, while we talk trash a bit.)
At my advanced age, and as someone still thinking through the next steps after a long marriage (and divorce), I’m still debating whether I’d give a true or a false to the following statements:
- An adult can decide to have sex with whomever she wants to without being a slut
- Sex can be a pleasure people share without the expectation of other commitments
- If it feels good and it doesn’t hurt anyone, why not just do it?
- It’s okay to have sex because it’s fun
However, in looking through the blogosphere to see what others said, I didn’t find much. There were pretty much no bloggers I ran across who proclaimed that for them; recreational, feel-good sex was the appetizer, the dessert and the main course. As much as some folks define themselves as feminist and sex-positive, or bad girl and slutty, there weren’t too many women out there visibly celebrating the job of getting it on just because it felt good, they were in the mood, or someone they liked was willing, available and right there.
Does lack of these types of posts relate to the Madonna/whore dichotomy, or the fact that celebrating women’s sexual appetites is threatening to the established order? Or is it that too many of us, especially those on the farther side of 35, have been trained to not think about pleasure as something that can be separate from relationships (Is another way to say this that sharing pleasure can be a form of a relationship?)
Or is it that, for all the talk about being sex positive, ethical sluts, and sisters doin’ it for themselves, most women don’t think of sex as something that can just be fun?
I’d welcome readers comments about sex and fun; both fun as a part of sex within an ongoing relationship and/or deep commitment, and fun as something on a more casual basis. Post here please, and state your piece.
Related blog posts to note:
Ever so slightly obsessed: Sex is fun; play with it
"While I'm not hugely kinky myself, I was immediately attracted to the language used in these writings. They talked about doing 'scenes', about trying out 'roles', and the most common term they used for what they did (which is after all not exactly 'sex' as that word is traditionally used, as it doesn't necessarily involve the genitals), was 'playing'.
Even at that tender age I thought this was a pretty neat way of thinking about it. There seemed to be a sense of fun and theatrics built in to the language itself, which had a great appeal to me. I loved the idea that you could just try things, that you could (in a safe environment) play with ideas and sensations and power, explore what pushes your buttons and delight in it, and then go back to normal."
Reassigned time: I’m being reluctant to call myself a sex positive feminist
"The fact of the matter is, I'm only regarded in relation to my attitudes to sex or sexual representation because I'm a woman. And that's fucked up. And so no. I don't want to be seen or judged because of my interest in sex or because of how I evaluate its representation. And I don't want my feminism to depend on how I evaluate sex either. For me, feminism allows me to think about what I want to think about. And I shouldn't have to choose a label within that - "sex-positive" or "anti-porn." The fact of the matter is that I'm more complicated than that. All women are. All people are."
The pervocracy: What feminism really means to me
"Along with releasing women from the necessity of acting ladylike (while preserving the option!) comes releasing men from having to be manly. For every woman who hides her sexuality so as not to be a dirty slut, there's a man who actually doesn't lust for everything with legs and a low BMI but would be a total pansy to admit it. Feminism is about freeing people from the restrictions of gender."
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