Dr. Helen

"It turns out that women enjoy a greater degree of sexual freedom than men do."

I read an interesting article by Grant Stoddard at Men’s Health titled “The New Rules of Sex and Attraction” that discusses how women are becoming the dominant ones when it comes to sex:

I thought I’d been imagining it. Turns out, my guy friends thought they were imagining it, too. Then, over beers, we agreed: The women we knew—who had been obsessing over whether to add J.D.’s to their M.B.A.’s—now seemed more interested in adding sexual novelty to animal gratification. But was it really a trend, or were we just on a hot streak?

So I checked with the sex docs, and they added affirmatives: In the past couple of years, a whole demented sex colloquium of scientific papers has confirmed that women are turning freakier in the bedroom. And on the kitchen floor. And on the park bench, if there aren’t too many people around. Or, what the hell, even if there are. Recent research is shedding new light on the age-old rules of attraction, fornication, and satisfaction.

Okay, good enough so far: women are more into (or more open about) sex, which sounds like a good thing for both sexes until you read this:

There’s no denying it: Men and women are held to different standards when it comes to sexual behavior. For instance, men laud one another for the volume of their sexual conquests, while for women, promiscuity carries with it an enduring social stigma.

But a 2008 study from the University of Saskatchewan brings an intriguing new double standard to light: Women are now “bringing it” in the bedroom while men may be subject to greater limitations. In the study, 104 men and women were given a list of 33 sexual behaviors. Half the study participants were asked to rate how normal it was for men to engage in the behaviors, while the other half rated the same practices for women.

It turns out that women enjoy a greater degree of sexual freedom than men do. For instance, survey takers thought it was okay for a woman to choose either a dominant or a submissive role in sex, but considered it abnormal for men to experiment that way. And so on down the line through a variety of sexual opportunities, including using sex toys, playing with food during sex, and having sex with more than one partner at the same time.

Men are often restricted in their social roles these days, now they are restricted in the bedroom. Maybe they always have been. The difference is that women are told that anything goes sexually these days for them. Men, on the other hand, are told that they better not cheat, that they better satisfy a woman and that anything she wants sexually is okay as long as she desires it and wants it, not him. Often, a sexually satisfied man is held in contempt by feminists, other women and the media.

It is a confusing message for men, leading many to be leery of women or to just opt out of dealing with them altogether. Add in a fear of being charged with sexual harassment or rape at any time without due process and sexual encounters for men are getting to be too dangerous. Turning to porn or video entertainment is often a safer option.