Casual Sex and The Sexual Double Standard

I read somewhere the term “virgin-whore dichotomy” and it stuck with me. What exactly does that mean? Well, it means that women are placed into two categories, either the “good girl” or the “bad girl”. There is no in between. Most men want to date and have sex with the “bad girl”, they desire her, lust after her and can’t get her out of their mind. When it comes to committing to someone, then that’s when the “good girl” comes in. They want the girl they can bring home to mamma. As a divorced Arab girl I fall into the “bad girl” category in my community. Apparently because I’m divorced, live alone, strong willed and financially independent, I must have an open door policy for men, or, in other words, an open leg policy. God forbid that I have something good and valuable to offer other than sex! I deal with this stigma more often than I would like to admit. (But I am writing a separate article about what it means to be a divorced Arab women, stay tuned for that!) Now back to the sexual double standard and the “virgin-whore dichotomy”. Why is it that women are slut shamed for having God given desires and needs? Why is it wrong for a woman to have sexual free will? Why is a woman judged by her sexual experience and past? That, my friends, is something I wonder about often.

The Sexual Double Standard: Some Studies

Sexual Double StandardSo I think we’re all in agreement that there is a sexual double standard. We’re also in agreement that this shouldn’t be the case. But, that’s just the way the world is. A sexually free woman is judged. You can say all you want that a guy who judges you for having sex isn’t worth the skin on his back, but, it’s just the reality of it. Women who engage in casual sex are seen in a negative light while men who do the same are patted on the back. Plain. Simple.

Now, could this be changing with the newer generations who are growing up in a seemingly more sexually liberated society. I recently read about some studies that have been done about this very topic. Apparently, views are changing. In one study, it was found that the number of partners someone had made more of a difference than if someone had casual sex. This was the same for men AND women. They weren’t judged differently, as the study concluded “people do not necessarily hold men and women to different sexual standards“. Interesting, but not surprising. Views are changing, but, not for people who grew up with different standards. Other studies have corroborated these findings, so it’s not about who’s having lots of sex, it’s that they are having lots of sex.

Another study that I found quite interesting was one that looked at the stigmas associated with when people, men and women, had sex and was done over the span of 20 years. They looked at everything from first date sex to casual relationships to committed relationships.  Not surprisingly, they found that premarital sex wasn’t an issue, especially within the context of a committed relationship. Things were different, however, for other “arrangements”. What was found was that “both men and women considered casual sex more acceptable for men than for women. This double standard was somewhat stronger in male than female participants, but present in both genders.” So what does this mean really?

Casual Sex and the Sexual Double Standard

casual-sexEssentially, although things have changed a little, they haven’t changed a lot. We’re moving towards a more open and tolerant generation but we’re not quite there yet. I think that we’ll get to a point where sex just isn’t a big deal anymore and seen as a natural part of life that can be enjoyed both casually and within a committed context. I know personally, I believe that anything done between consenting adults who are fully aware of what they are doing and why they are doing it is completely OK. I’ve written before about how casual sex might be bad for you if you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. It’s really up to you what you do, I just encourage you to be smart about it. Know what you’re getting yourself into and the possible consequences of your actions. If you can wait, I think you should wait. But, it’s really up to you what you choose to do. Whatever you decide, just make sure to have safe sex … and by safe I mean physically, mentally and emotionally. Date smart my friends!

Readers, do you think that the sexual double standard still exists or is it dissipating? I would love to hear your opinions in the comments below …

Your Sister in Dating Bliss,

Single Dating Diva

Copyright Single Dating Diva

10 comments

  1. The double standard exists all right, but not necessarily to the degree people would imagine. It’s also a function of which society is involved. Many European countries are famous for their liberal attitudes towards casual sex. I have no experience of the USA in this regard and can only comment on the UK. Over here that simplistic whore/angel mindset exists more in the younger generation who are finding their way in the world. Older people have made their fair share of mistakes, so people are less inclined to get judgmental. My experience of women is that the same woman can be an angel for most of the month, but then around a certain point in the menstrual cycle can be a horny ‘whore’. It’s all in keeping with what I call Nature’s Grand Conspiracy.

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    • Thanks for the comment. It’s true that different cultures and societies have different views towards sex and sexuality, but in general it’s hard not to see the double standard that does exist. What you’re suggesting is that in the UK it’s the reverse, younger people have more of a stigma than the older generations whereas in North America the younger are more open minded. Interesting.

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  2. Its there still, but I think there is a moving trend to be Sex Positive, where no matter what your sexual activity is you aren’t judged for it. What I’ve found is that there is still a lot of women who shame other women for their sexual choices, whether it be remaining a virgin until marriage or having casual sex. I have made it my goal to be sex positive, I don’t really care what other people do with their sex lives, do what makes you happy!

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  3. There is definitely a double standard.

    I think the best way to deal with the double standard that exists today in western countries is for women to hold out for the kind of arrangement that suits them best.

    If a woman is genuinely okay with the idea of having great sex with a guy and then never seeing him again, then she doesn’t have to worry.

    But if a woman is not okay with that idea, I think it makes sense to hold off on sex until an exclusive relationship is established. This is my position.

    Furthermore, if a woman is absolutely set on marriage and kids then she may want to set the boundary further back still. No sex prior to engagement?

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    • Thanks for the comment! It is about knowing what you want, and, frankly, what you can handle emotionally. Not everyone is capable of having casual sex and that’s OK. It’s about knowing your boundaries and sticking to them.

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  4. the double standard will always exist but it differs from country to country. it’s apparent that Europeans are more open to casual sex than the US or the Caribbean. it may go back to christian beliefs that our fathers and theirs before them had about women being temples etc but even though people are becoming more liberal, these old beliefs are still here amongst us

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  5. I was sure that in our post-Soviet countries we have distinct problem of double standards, but it seems to be an universal “issue”. I think this double standard is very close to sexism. It’s a plain example of prejudice based on a person’s sex or gender. Casual Friday dress code applies to both genders, why casual sex should be an exception?
    Blue for boys, pink for girls? Or green for both…

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