Diatribe - 18

Timaru gynacologist Dr Albert Makary recently claimed that New Zealand women treat sex like “paddock mating”. We’re too promiscuous and what’s more, we’re “glamourising” it (God forbid we would make something rather enjoyable look fun).

Instead, Makary thinks we should be stigmatizing sex, having a “nanny revolution” if you will. Presumably, “Sleeping with Strangers: It’s not my future” posters will pop up at bus stops, and “It’s not who we’re sexing, it’s how we’re sexing” ads will blare out of the television screen.
But before you write off Makary as a lone wolf, other people have come out in support of his views. Sex therapist Mary Hodson, thinks women are sexually promiscuous because they feel a need to “compete with the boys and be the same as boys”. Huh? Oh, and apparently, the root of all evil in this case is “sexual freedom”.
While Makary and Hodson might be concerned about women’s promiscuity, I’m more concerned about the double standard being applied (and published by none other than the ODT). When men have lots of sex, they’re players. When women have lots of sex, they’re compared to farm animals?
Both make reasonably poor attempts at covering their latent sexism with arguments about how women can get hurt emotionally. Emily McKenzie, who studies psychology, told the Herald; “what I’ve seen is young girls that are sleeping around to try and find love and boost their self-esteem. I’ve seen the effects of promiscuity on my peers, and I am a strong advocate against such actions”. This line of reasoning not only places all the blame for these harmful encounters on women (surely the men who are breaking women’s hearts are somewhat to blame as well?), but reinforces the idea that men are emotionless when it comes to sex, while women spend their time sobbing their heart out. In addition, it seems pretty hard to prove that women are more hurt by sexual encounters now than when they were sexually repressed.
It’s not that we should force women to be promiscuous to show how “free” they are, it’s that women should be able to have casual sex, or not as the case may be, and be free from judgment. According to a Herald article, Makary was also concerned that the focus of sex education implied that sleeping around was okay ‘as long as you're wearing the right gear’. And you know what, contrary to what Makary thinks, it IS alright as long as you’re wearing the right gear. The sexual revolution wasn’t just about getting lots of action outside the bonds of wedlock; it was about liberation and the ability to choose paths for oneself.
Because really, is promiscuity such a bad thing? While enforced promiscuity a la Logan Edgar is unappealing, enforced conservative viewpoints on sex are also pretty unattractive. We shouldn’t be making sweeping judgments that condemn people’s lifestyle choices. We shouldn’t be teaching a watered-down version of Christian philosophy, with moral imperatives that teach abstinence and suppression. We should be able to sleep with whom we choose and enjoy sex, without being compared to filthy farm animals.
Posted 4:12am Thursday 4th August 2011 by Carrie Bradshaw.