#Sexuality

Only “Bad” Women Have Sexual Desires. When Will This Stereotype Go Away?

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Despite our diverse social and cultural beliefs, one thing that binds us women around the world is the repression of our sexual desires. The moral policing of women’s sexuality starts from our own homes, schools, religious communities, peer groups, and ends behind the closed doors of our bedrooms. The double standard that society holds when it comes to sex means that certain sexual behaviours are considered inappropriate for women, while a convenient blind eye is turned to towards the same in case of men.

The custodian of social norms in our society is patriarchy which openly favours men. The moral code of conduct is thus designed in a way that it benefits its preferred gender in all aspects while keeping control over the behaviour of the so-called weaker sex.

By suppressing female sexual desires, patriarchy can keep women from wanting to have sex and focus solely on the procreation aspect of the act. Perhaps the patriarchs do not want women to be autonomous creatures who can make their own decisions and seek their own fulfilment. In her book The Creation of Patriarchy Gerda Lerner writes, “An important step in cultural evolution was the commodification of women, according to which “women themselves became a resource” whose sexual desires could be regulated, exchanged, and otherwise used for male benefit.” Her words were written 36 years ago, but the truth that they showcase is much older. 

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Why do we see sexual desires of men and women differently?

One of the reasons why patriarchy wants to control women’s sexual desires is to keep them from seeing the incompetency of their male partner and thus have the agency to choose another one if they feel unfulfilled. In a society that still advocates arranged marriages, the consequences of allowing sexual liberty to women are not something that patriarchy is prepared to deal with.

Women possess the body, but men own it. But Why?

For instance, an inexperienced woman would be less likely to tell a man’s inability in the bed, however, a sexually experienced woman would be quick to figure out his inadequacy and ineptness. It won’t be far-fetched to say that women possess the body, but men own it. The absence of sex education in schools and dull representation of sexual desires in films etc., cause enough harm to budding youth. Female sexual desires are almost seen in a negative light, with the meager hint that sexually liberated women are a bad influence and detrimental to society. 


Suggested Reading: Stop Slut-Shaming Women Who Own Their Sexuality


Now, how to tackle the double standards that reject and validate sexual desires on basis of gender? How do we step towards a sex-positive society for everyone? How can we encourage the acceptance for expression of female sexual desires?

As a society we have to stop the objectification of women to its very root. Sexual desires come naturally to women and thus expression of the same is not a folly, but a necessity. They aren’t mere objects of pleasure for the patriarchs of society and thus teaching that their sexual desires are something to be policed needs to stop. Further, owning one’s sexual drive and sexuality is one of the most empowering things because it not only just it creates a sense of expression but promotes self-love. So women need to wear their sexuality on their sleeves or atleast refrain from shame women who do so. 

Views expressed are the author’s own.