I enjoy sex. Even writing that makes me wonder why I need to justify it. After reading countless posts about women not engaging in sex or simply not enjoying it; it makes me wonder whether women have just accepted the social norm – men love it and women have to put up with it.
I don’t want to be one of those women. I don’t want to have to “put up” with sex.
I’m used to the promiscuous tag as I identify myself as bisexual. I have had relationships and had sex with both men and women.
I have personally used prostitutes (escorts, strippers – whatever you want to call them) both male and female and while I’m sure this isn’t the norm for most women – that’s me. I don’t apologise for that. The reason I’m putting my name to such personal information (let’s face it I could remain anonymous) is that I’m trying to encourage women to own their sexuality and de-stigmatise them. I’m growing tired of the shackles.
If I’m not enjoying the sex I’m having I speak up or I just go without. Perhaps this isn’t the case for everyone but (in most cases) I can separate sex and love. Does this make me a sex addict? There’s no denying that sex is better when you’re in love with the person but that’s not for everyone. Of course I’m not naive enough to believe I won’t grow out of this and I don’t go around shagging every person I’m attracted to, I just usually know from the get-go if it’s sex or love. If I think I may have feelings for the person I’m usually a little less forthcoming; shy even.
It is widely known that men visit prostitutes. Some would even say it’s not particularly eyebrow raising nor would they blink an eye if a man admitted to paying for sex. “Sex addiction has been a media constant for several years now, thanks to serial philanderers such as Tiger Woods and Charlie Sheen,” says Rachel Hills in her article The Naked Truth on the sex addiction myth. I guess we’re used to men behaving this way. Women? Not so much.
‘Remember that as recently as the early 1970s, the American Psychiatric Association still classified homosexuality as a mental illness. Similarly, deciding who and what qualifies as a “seriously ill” sex addict and what is simply a “healthy expression of human sexuality” means drawing boundaries with highly moralistic implications. How much masturbation is too much? How many partners is too many? Is there a difference between using sex as a panacea for your frustrations and being chemically dependent on it?’
This stuff fascinates me. I’ve had passionate sex; angry sex; soulful sex and sex with people I’d rather never see again. It’s safe to say most of us have. I’ve had conversations with many girlfriends who confess that they feel their sex drive is quite high in relation to most men they’ve dated. I nod my head in agreement because it’s still fairly taboo to be a woman and take pleasure in casual encounters, much less even consider being addicted to sex. We’re either labelled ‘sluts’ or ‘promiscuous’. For men it’s just another notch on the bedpost.
Maybe this has more to do with being in tune with my sexuality than anything particularly abnormal about my behaviour. I’m sure there’s other women out there who don’t equate sex with love.
Gemma-Rose Turnbull wrote a piece on street sex workers which in part read:
“The message is that men are allowed to need sex and women are vessels for that need.”
Women are looked down upon for having those same needs and being active in the pursuit for sex. By men and other women. I don’t want to pretend that I know everything about the sex industry because I don’t. I don’t know what it’s like to hustle; to score; to be so desperate for the money you’ll pretty much say yes to anything. But I do know that there is a vocal minority of women who speak up every time an article about men and their unequivocal sex drive suddenly dominates conversation.
It would be absurd for me to speak on behalf of all women but I can and will speak openly about my own experiences. ANU sociologist Dr Helen Keane argues “if you look at how sex addiction is defined, there is a focus on activities that take away from the couple: affairs, promiscuity, masturbation, pornography.” I have engaged in all four of those so-called warning signs. Is every person who uses sex to feel better about themselves in some way an addict? Why are we being made to feel guilty about our sexual urges?
I have seen many women who own their sexuality. They have casual encounters with men they’ve just met or pick-up men only to dispose of them hours later. Some may say this is “women having sex like men” but I disagree. I think women have always had the ability to have sex however and with whomever they want – it’s just other individuals, particularly other women, who are our harshest critics.
If I can admit to the world that I enjoy sex with men and women; watch porn; masturbate and engage in promiscuous behaviour you have nothing to be ashamed of. This is just part of the puzzle of who I am. I love deeply; I spend many Friday and Saturday nights alone; I take long baths; I love to paint my nails in bright colours – all these other admissions somehow pale into comparison to our sex lives. Perhaps it’s about time we stopped putting so much focus on what is “normal” with us - sex wise – and just started enjoying it.
Rose Russo is a freelance writer, blogger and self confessed chocoholic. You can follow her blog here
How do you feel about sex? Is it covered in mystery or something that you openly discuss and embrace?