Casual sex. Just about everyone who is single is doing it. And for teenage girls and 20-something women, it appears to be the new normal. Tinder hook-ups and one-night-stands are part of everyday vocabulary.
So why has the debate about casual sex and whether it’s good for women suddenly been re-opened today?
It began with a bold article from sometimes Mamamia writer Wendy Squires that was published on The Age website this weekend. The piece, titled ‘ Teenage hook-up sex leaves feminism behind,‘ argued that the casual sex pendulum, once thought to have freed young women to explore and embrace their own sexuality, has swung too far.
Squires says teenage girls have been so empowered by the feminist movement that they’re now settling for less in relationships. And, that they’re having sex without respect or trust necessarily being part of the equation.
Some commentators today have claimed that Squires is a feminist who isn’t supporting other women (because heaven forbid feminists might disagree on something). Some have claimed Wendy was “slut shaming”, a term usually reserved for those who teach adolescent girls they should be ashamed of their sexuality and worry about ‘what the boys might think’.
But is the criticism of Wendy Squires fair? Or have we all got our outrage pants on before properly taking the time to understand her argument.
Yes, feminism has fought for the right of women to do what they want with their bodies with who they choose. So technically, women having lots of casual sex should be a feminist win. Men have always enjoyed multiple sexual partners free of judgement and consequence. Why shouldn’t women have the same right?