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Sexual double standard is natural

By Daily Bruin Staff

April 16, 2002 9:00 p.m.

  Andrew Jones Didn’t expect a column like
this, did you? Send mail to [email protected].
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It’s the eternal question: why are promiscuous women
viewed as sluts, when man-whores are seen as studs? The Femi-Nazis
in women’s studies will tell you it’s the product of a
worldwide conspiracy perpetrated by the White Male Patriarchy. The
truth is a little less dramatic.

Sexual Darwinism has been the main factor in the creation of a
slut-stud double-standard. In nature, the female practices
selectivity, while the male attempts to impregnate as many females
as possible. As much as we wish it weren’t so, humans cannot
shake their biological heritage.

Human evolution has encouraged the development of social values
which reward the biological goals of men and women. A man who mates
with many women is achieving his biological goal, and is
accordingly rewarded. Bragging about sexual exploits reflects the
difficulty of meeting the high standards of a selective female.
Deriding promiscuous women is a condemnation of their failure to
practice biological selectivity.

The double standard also evolved out of a difference in sexual
pleasure for the genders. Biology has rewarded (some might say
cursed) the male with rapid orgasm, while females take longer to
reach full sexual release. In the wild, and throughout history, the
man rarely shared in the female’s orgasm. This developed a
male disregard for female sexual pleasure that was reflected in
casting strong female sexual appetites as “slutty.”
There may be some anomalies within the conception, as men and women
all have varying sex drives ““ but it remains a generally
accurate composite of libidinous males and reluctant females. The
“slut” with a strong sexual appetite is more likely to
become pregnant. A devaluation of female promiscuity produces a
social good of fewer single mothers. Now, as always, the human
child has been best raised by the man and the woman who created it
and live together to raise it.

Nobody wins when an impregnated woman is abandoned by an
uncommitted partner. The “slut system” decreases this
outcome, encouraging women to wait for a committed relationship,
usually marriage. A man who marries has usually left the
competitive sexual circuit characteristic of the late teens-to-20s
group, and is less likely to abandon his wife in pregnancy. On the
whole, decreased promiscuity and single motherhood rates achieved
under the harsh double-standard are a positive result that should
not be lightly dismissed.

If the slut/stud system is embraced by both genders, it is a
self-correcting cycle. When women resist the sexual pressures of
men, they avoid the possibility of single motherhood, a negative
result for all concerned. Men can try to become studs, but if
females practice selectivity, then there will be few sluts around
to make them studs.

The traditional structure has played out thusly: single women
refuse single men the sex they desire. Marriage seals the deal
between an involved couple: in exchange for sexual conquest
resulting in pregnancy, the woman receives the help she needs in
properly raising the resulting child, who, in time, will repeat the
cycle. Brutal, perhaps even overly simplistic? Yes, but the
slut/stud system’s very simplicity has served to improve
human society for thousands of years.

A secondary factor in the development of the sluts-and-studs
conundrum has come from the physical imagery of the act. The man
uses the sword ““ his penis ““ to “stab” the
woman. If a sexual act were an armed confrontation, the man would
have slain the defenseless woman. The exertion of sexual
intercourse is also reminiscent of the physical struggle of
“violent” activities like wrestling. Most sexual
positions reinforce this aggressive-passive relationship between
the genders. In the traditional missionary position, the woman is
on bottom, receiving the thrusts of the man. Being on top in a
physical “struggle” is, like the “sword
battle,” a victory for the man and a defeat for the woman.
Since many sexual positions involve the woman in a subservient
position, the man retains the role of dominance.

Until recently, men have played a dominant role in the
establishment of social values. Social values reflect this idea of
sex as degradation of women. A woman who is frequently degraded is
then viewed negatively, in this case, as a slut. Unfair as it may
be, the slow evolution of social values has not yet erased the view
of sex as degrading for women.

The changes of our recent period – contraception and the ability
to destroy a pregnancy through abortion ““ have done few
favors to women. Women were supposed to be empowered by an ability
to regulate pregnancy. Yet our “brave new world” has
not revolutionized gender relations. Sexual freedom ignores the
weaker sex drive of female biology. Sure, women enjoy having more
sex than was formerly possible when pregnancy was a never-ending
threat ““ but they don’t want sex as frequently as a man
who no longer has to worry about his partner’s pregnancy.
Self-restraint is no longer necessary, and with men’s libidos
given free reign, women suffer. It is women who complain about
their partners: “He wants to have sex at least twice a
day.” The biological reality is reflected in one survey which
found that 56 percent of men wanted more sex, while only 25 percent
of women felt this way.

Now that pregnancy can be controlled, women have no rationale
for refusing sex. “I don’t feel like it” is far
less compelling than “If we have sex, I might get
pregnant.” The general increase in sexual activity is doing
nobody any favors from a standpoint of sexually transmitted
diseases.

You might ask what responsibility men must bear in sexual
relationships. Essentially none. Some might view the constant
responsibility of women to be choosy about sex a burden. But
responsibility is also power. The ability to say yes or no to a
man’s constant entreaties for sex is a true, concrete version
of female power.

The gradual minimization of the slut/stud system in recent years
has brought as much misery as “freedom” resulting from
a vacuum of sexual rules. Women are not better off now that they
can have sex with biological impunity. Worse yet is that we cannot
go back to the old system. Rather than seeking to eliminate the
double standard, women should have embraced it as a time-tested
system that encouraged stable gender relations and a strong,
self-perpetuating society. We all bear the burden of its
destruction.

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