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Open Mike

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Open Mike is a forum for readers on a specific topic that will change every one or two months. The forum includes Your Turn, an opportunity for readers to share anecdotes and opinions related to the chosen topic. Conversely editors and writers select the most interesting entries and post them the following month In This Corner!

For our readers who don't have time to write but want to share their opinions, Open Mike also features a Three-Minute Survey - not the typical, simplistic Internet poll, but a set of five questions related to the monthly topic. When the survey is completed, we will publish Survey Says: a brief article analyzing the results.
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In This Corner!

Sex and Double Standards

In our February - March Open Mike forum, we asked readers their opinions on double standards in one-off sexual relationships. Many guys (but not all, as one happy reader reports) apply double standards when it comes to judging the sexual behavior of the women they sleep with. They sleep with her on the first date and that somehow disqualifies her as a long-term interest. Women apply this double standard as well.

We learned two things from our readers: a) there are many different interpretations about what the term "double standard" means, and b) men - who posted no replies - would appear to "bow their heads", as if recognizing that applying double standards is true, common, and nothing to get fussed-up about. But even if women had much more to say about the issue, they don't speak with a single voice. For a sample of these alternate nuances and experiences, read on...

Chrissy:

I think all is fair in love and war. If you make the decision to sleep with someone you don't know, then you have to be willing to face the scrutiny. I have had one night stands, and although the sexual experience was gratifying, my partners were somehow degraded in my mind from 'cool guys' to the vessel used to reach that point of so-called ecstasy and nothing more. It works both ways, for men and women.

Jillian:

You mentioned a bar as the setting which is appropriate since one night stands tend to be alcohol-fuelled. The morning after can then turn out to be a bewildering time for both parties concerned. Questions such as: Where am I? Who is this person and what are they doing beside me? How loudly did I snore last night? Did I fart? and, What are those manacles doing there? hit you with the force of a jackhammer. No wonder you're not too keen to see him or her again - its too tarnishing for the self-image in the long run. Double standards definitely, but on both sides I reckon.

Giovanna:

Too many people judge others based on gender. This results in double standards because gender definitions, in turn, are based in fiction and myth.

I prefer to relate to people as individuals. It simplifies things. It's a cop-out, for both of us, if I say, "The Boy is A Boy and *that's* why he's behaving like that. Icky! Boys!" If I take 2 minutes, reflect on my personality and do a little math, I realize: "The Boy is the kind of person who thinks it's cute to call me 'lady' and furthermore, he seems to disapprove of my stubbly armpits. Hmmm. I don't like that."

I try to find these kinds of things out before I sleep with him, just so neither of us wastes our time, unless it promises to be conversation-free, spectacular sex. I agree that there is a faction of people who apply double standards. I do try to avoid those folk, though. They make me itch.

Deb:

When I was single I had a few one night stands. Mostly I'd describe them as "drunken accidents". Once I slept with someone I worked with because I thought he was sexy and I wanted to sleep with him. Once was enough to know I didn't want to see him again. Curiosity was satisfied (unlike myself). Another time I slept with someone on the first date and it was the best sex I've ever had. Mind blowing, swing from the chandelier type of sex. Turned into a relationship that lasted 7 years.

Each time was different, done for different reasons. Usually not to much thinking involved, mostly led by my emotions/genitals. There probably is a double standard, but my feeling is that if you're doing it, you open yourself up to that risk. C'est la vie, baby.

Olivia:

The term " double standard" sounds so ancient in this equal opportunity in the everyplace world. In today's world women are more financially secure, have the high power, packed pressure jobs ,major support lines and for all intensive purposes the only missing link here is the males lower quadrant and a pulse. Some women I might add with a little creativity can replace the pulse with carbide batteries.

Let's face facts, If an ugly horny woman and an ugly horny man both walked into a bar at the same time I'll bet you $100.00 the woman can get laid first, while the man winds up at seven eleven picking up the new issue of Hustler. It is not a double standard more than it is a contest within everyone to be the best. During most of our childhood's, we have heard our parent(s) say " go to work, earn the money, buy it yourself and you will respect it more and take care of it better". Isn't it the same with men? For men sex is sex and if it is handed to him , what is the incentive to nourish and flourish it anymore. Ah but the courtship, with every base conquered is a feeling of success, reassurance and " I stud hear me roar". Through this time of waiting leaves a little up to the imagination and provides a mystery that I believe everyone enjoys. You go out to dinner, watch each other bite, chew, sip and swallow, then go home and wonder how their lips feel on you. This adds excitement, bringing you back for yet another sneak peak at the romance that lies ahead. Sleeping with a woman immediately is like reading the end of a great book first; what is the incentive to back to chapter 1?

Promiscuity is another factor that I believe plays a great part in this double standard issue. Is the man thinking " How often has she done this before and if we were serious, would she wrap herself so quickly in someone else's' 150 thread count". Men and women want to feel special, chosen for their unique qualities that makes us close to each other. Men like visual stimulation and are willing to have sex even if the woman is an idiot as long as she has a tight butt and is willing to bump "uglies" into the night. Women generally do not care if you are Brad Pitt in a Speedo, if he is an asshole basically our libido shuts down. We are mentally turned on. Men realize there is a difference in our takes and standards on sex and usually believe women have higher standards and it is hypocritical for us to climb off our perch for a one night stand.

Karen:

Men have always acted in ways they don't want women to act. Guys are almost expected to sew their wild oats. It's almost 'acceptable' for a man to cheat on his wife. Men have always had their behavior excused as 'boys will be boys'...Ugh!! There has always been the double-standard, I believe it's wrong. There should only be one standard of what's right and what's wrong-regardless the gender. Men and women go looking for the same thing, we go about it in different ways though.

Debra:

Men and women have different standards because men and women have different goals when it comes to the opposite sex. According to the Discovery Channel program, The Human Sexes, men are simply following a genetically encoded urge to mate with as many women as they can as often as they can to insure the continuation of the species. Women, however, are looking for a protector for their young. Therefore they will look for a responsible, loyal, settled mate to provide for them and their young. Therein lies the conflict. Throw in societal and religious values of monogamy, respect of the character of the person rather than their usefulness and that all encompassing word, love, and you get some very confused people on what they want in a mate. What usually comes out in the end is men and women who decide to put off the responsibility of long term relationships in favor of a little fun now. Though I think both parties question the ability of a long term relationship with someone who will sleep with a stranger, either male or female. Most will look for those long term relationships in conventional places like work, church or health clubs. I don't believe the standards are different between men and women so much as the end goals, the timing and when the two meet.

Juli:

Oh if only it wasn't true! Men do have a double standard and I know very few if any women who have the same "judgmentalism" about the timing of sex. There are countless stories amongst several friends (including myself) where we all made the mistake of getting caught up in the moment or simply wanted to physically be with someone who we actually liked after only meeting or getting to know them for an evening. In almost all of those situations, there was never any follow up phone call even when there seemed to be more than a physical spark.

My friends and I all agree that sex too soon is a confusing way to start a relationship. But, many of us have, at one time or another, hope to hear from that one guy we really enjoyed being with for one evening.

The controversy with my gal pals rests in whether or not everything but the actual deed is perceived as negatively in the minds of men. Many of us think that is does. However, there hasn't necessarily been consistent behavior when a man has been pretty intimate without actually having intercourse with a women after only just meeting her.

Jacqui:

This is such a true double-standard. First of all, men want sex all the time and, let's be honest, they'll take it almost any way they can get it. But should a woman actually want sex, whether or not she wants to see the man again or not, she's some sort of slut. Well, I have news for you. Some guys are only good as a lay, and certainly not worth the effort for a relationship, and if men can't deal with women asserting themselves and taking what they want when they want it then they have some serious issues with their ego.

Mary Anne:

I totally disagree. People are different and react to situations differently. One time a guy invited me to his place on our first date. He asked me if I wanted to go to the bedroom. I said, "Only if you promise to call me tomorrow." He called the next day, nine times! We ended up living together and having a fantastic relationship. Sometimes you just have to go with the moment.

Guys who are into double standards are usually losers who don't have much luck with women anyway. Maybe his ex-wife dumped him and has custody over the kid, and now he's taking out his hatred on other women. Luckily I only met one guy like this and dumped his sad ass very quickly!!


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