Sex With 900 Men in Nine Years (or, Where Does She Find the TIME?)

SLUT

Posted by TERESA

So, I was listening to Elvis Duran and the Z Morning Zoo this morning, as I am wont to do most mornings, and they were talking about this story.  Apparently, a woman in England “confessed” to having slept with 900 men in nine years.

My first question?

Who the hell did she “confess” this to, and why did she want to make this news??

My second question?

Where did she find the time??

However, what bothered me most was the way it was being discussed on the radio, both by the DJs and the people calling in.  I’m sure you already know how it went.  Hell, you might even have chimed in the same way yourself!  There was a string of calls saying she was a slut, but more than that, that she was “disturbed” or had “psychological problems.”  My absolute favorite quote (and by favorite, I mean that I wanted to punch the guy in the face) was when this guy called in and said “It would even be a bit abnormal if a guy did that!”

Check that word choice, people:

It would even be a bit abnormal if a guy did that.

First, let me get this out of the way….900 men is A LOT.  A LOT.  Like, way more than your usual amount, and I’m including porn stars and gang bangers when I say that.  That many people definitely increases your risk for all sorts of STDs and pregnancy no matter how much protection you use, or what kind of pill you’re on.  I mean, that’s just a matter of numbers.

But what bothered me was the way people were talking about this woman.  First, there was the knee-jerk reaction in calling her a slut, to which I say….so?  OK, so she’s a slut.  Now what?  People think that pointing out the fact that a woman has slept with many men is the ultimate insult.  As if what she’s done is, of course, inherently morally wrong.  As if the discussion stops there.  My next question would be, “Why?”  And no, “It just IS” is not an answer.  (If you’d like to answer that question in the comments, feel free)  I, for one, don’t think it is.  No one who called in actually had a reason why what she did was wrong, and every assumption they made was proved wrong by the story:

– she was never abused as a child and was, in fact, raised in a Catholic home with Catholic values and sent to a Catholic school.

– she always used protection (and never got an STD or pregnant)

– the sex was always consentual and initiated by her

– there was nothing in the story pointing to the fact that she actually did have clinical psychological problems, nor do any of her quotes lead me to believe that.

John Bell, one of the DJs on Z100 who’s USUALLY the voice of reason, said “Someone who sleeps with that many people doesn’t do it for pleasure or because they like sex.  Clearly, there’s something wrong.”

Clearly?  Really?  Is this according to your years of psychological study?  Cause, I know lots of people – women, specifically – who just REALLY LIKE SEX THAT MUCH.  And *gasp* they prioritize sex over having a relationship.

EEK!  THE HORROR!

What bothered me about the whole thing was that every response people gave to this story was rooted in the idea that women shouldn’t have lots of sex.  That a “normal” woman doesn’t want it that much, and if she expresses wanting it that much, then “clearly” there’s something wrong with her.  Meanwhile, while this would “even” be a lot for a man, clearly it would be more permissible if it were.  Hell, if this had been a guy, it probably wouldn’t have been news! (Though someone might have taken out a congratulatory ad)

That’s the other thing – the idea that she shouldn’t have done that, because no guy will want her after that.  Because men don’t like it when women are “tainted goods” and would never want to be in a relationship with a woman who’s been with that many men.    So, we’re back to the old chestnut that women have to control and compose their behavior to suit what men want so that they can land one and be in a stable relationship.

News flash: not every woman wants or cares if she’s in a relationship.

News flash #2: not all guys care how many partners a woman’s had, and some actually see a very experienced woman as a plus, because it means his sex life with her will be hot

News flash #3: lots of women, I would say MOST women, enjoy sex.  Like, as much as men. (*again, gasp*)

News flash #4 – and this is important – TO HELL WITH MEN!  I know a lot of you reading this are thinking “Teresa, obviously there’s a double-standard, but that’s just how it is, and if a woman wants a man she can’t be advertising her numbers like that.”

The people who’ve said that to me DRIVE ME CRAZY!  First of all, just because that’s “how it is”, doesn’t mean it’s right.  It was once common for there to be separate “White” and “Colored” bathrooms, too.  It was wrong then, and it’s wrong now.  If you live your life according to the way it is without also pursuing life as you want it to be, nothing will ever change for the better.  Any positive (or negative) changes in the world happen because enough people believe they should.  That’s all it takes, but apparently, it’s the most difficult thing to have happen.

So, say it with me: women like sex, too.

Sometimes they like it more than having a boyfriend. This should not be news.  Sometimes they have a boyfriend and that boyfriend lets them sleep with other men (and the women let their boyfriends sleep with other people, too). This should not be news.  Sometimes women don’t have miserable first times. This should not be news.  Sometimes women pursue sex! THIS SHOULD NOT BE NEWS.

My only problem with this woman is that she allowed it to be a news story.  Who did she tell, and why did she feel the need to make it public?  The sluts I know (and I use the term with love, and they know that) are all also extremely classy and discreet.  They are ethical people who are  open about how they live, but they never shove it in people’s faces, never use it as party story fodder unless requested, and generally act (and dress) tastefully.  And they treat their sex partners, whether they are in a relationship with them, or it’s a one night stand, with respect.  Just because someone has a lot of sex doesn’t mean they have to make themselves a sideshow attraction.

So this woman is a slut, but I have more of a problem with her being a media whore.  I think that’s more indicative of the aforementioned “psychological problems” than the sex is in and of itself.

What do you all think? I’d love to hear from guys in particular.  If you found out that the girl you were dating successfully and exclusively had slept with 900 guys before you, how would you react, and why?

**ADDENDUM: I’m sure if any of you reading this actually sat down and counted everyone you’ve ever had sexual encounters with – be it boyfriends or one night stands, be they full-on intercourse, oral sex, or any variation thereof – I think you might surprise yourself with your own number.

Published in: on October 26, 2009 at 5:23 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Some Rise By Sin, and Some By Virtue Fall?

Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles as Patrick and Kat in "10 Things I Hate About You", with Allison Janney (center), whom I've also seen play Katherine in "The Taming of the Shrew" in Central Park, NYC

Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles as Patrick and Kat in "10 Things I Hate About You", with Allison Janney (center), whom I've also seen play Katherine in "The Taming of the Shrew" in Central Park, NYC

Posted by TERESA

So, remember that short story I’m working on that I’ve been all excited about?  Well, I still am – but some early feedback has forced me to do a lot of thinking about what it is I’m actually trying to accomplish.

First, some background.  One of my favorite Shakespeare plays is The Taming of the Shrew.  It’s the story of Katherine, a raving bitch who’s hateful to everyone.  Finding her a husband proves difficult – not that she would EVER admit to even wanting one – and her dad won’t let her younger sister marry until she does.  Along comes Petruchio who tries to “tame” her by being even more bitchy to her than she is to him.  In the end, they develop feelings for each other, and Kate agrees to slow her bitchy roll for him.  (You can also rent/download/whatever 10 Things I Hate About You for an awesome, modern retelling of the story)

shrew

Now, Katherine ends the play with a thought-provoking monologue.  Most modern productions of the play have Katherine deliver that monologue  ironically, as if she’s humoring Petruchio.  That bothers me.  Katherine is someone who spends her whole life pushing people away by being horrible.  It’s not as if she started out being this awesome person and was later stifled and made less.  It’s not as if she only bestowed her acid tongue on horrible men.  She treated EVERYONE like crap (and ties her sister to a chair, by the by).  Yet by the end of the play, she’s learned how to be humble and to give up the control she’s insisted on weilding her whole life.  This is not weakness.  Subservience and humility does not equal weakness when it is a choice.  I’ve always thought that giving that final speech an ironic reading undermines what once was a complex journey for a prominent female character.  Shakespeare starts the play with her, and ends it with her.  The play is, more than anything else, the story of Katherine’s journey.  If she doesn’t change by the end, and of her own acord, then the entire thing is pointless.  I also don’t understand why the only two ways in which to discuss the speech are  as either indicative of opression and powerlessness, or as ironic subversion.  To me, Katherine is a woman who has learned to pick her battles.  She knows, when she walks into the room at the end of the play, that this guy who’s her match and is now her husband needs to save face in front of his friends and she chooses to give him what he asks for by giving this speech.  She lays it on really thick, but it isn’t ironic.  Whether she means every word or not is irrelevant, because the mere act of giving the speech, and her willingness to do it, make it genuine.  It’s an act of love.  I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a production tackle it in this way.  I’ve certainly gotten into many debates about it with people.  🙂

measure for measure

Then there’s Measure For Measure, in which a fake duke imprisons a nobleman for premarital sex, falls for the nobleman’s nun-in-training sister, and tells her that he will release her brother if she sleeps with him.  When I studied this play in college, I was the only person in my class who could wrap her head around the idea that someone could love God more than their own family.  Everyone else spouted variations on Why doesn’t she just do it?  She’s being such a prude!  She’s being so selfish! Etc, etc.  And they all jumped down my throat when I said To her, God is more important even than her brother.  God is the most important thing in her life.  Expecting her to throw that over doesn’t make sense. I was much more devout then than I am now, and no one understood where I was coming from.  Meanwhile, I couldn’t understand how a room full of theater students who were used to sympathizing with all sorts of characters couldn’t understand soemone prioritizing God above all things.  Drug addicts?  Pedophiles?  Murderers?  No problem.  But someone who loves God?  THIS didn’t compute.

writersblock

Which brings me back to the short story I’ve been working on.  I can’t get into specifics, because only a few people have read it, and I don’t want to spoil it.  But I have my main character choose to do something at the end that I believe is a powerful choice, but that no one else seems to see that way.  The feedback I’ve gotten so far has been all about how tragic and/or weak the character is at the end.  I’ve gotten suggestions about how I could “fix”  the ending to “make the character stronger.”  Thing is, I don’t want to change the ending.  If I change the ending, this character wouldn’t grow and change the way she’s supposed to.  She’d be a different character in a different story than the one I’m writing.

I seem to have such a different outlook than any of my friends when it comes to certain things.  Sometimes it feels like I have a different outlook than my entire generation on certain things.  I wonder, then, if this will always be a problem for me.  If there are just certain things that, no matter how well I craft it, won’t resonate with most people who read my stories?  Part of me worries that certain things I write won’t be relevant to the time in which I’m writing them.  I mean, yay for me if I reflect the values of the past, or woo hoo if I’m “ahead of my time”, reflecting the values of the future, but that doesn’t do me or readers today any good.  Hmm.

Knowing that I have SO much to learn about writing, I’m currently trying to figure out if there are things I can do to improve the story in order to get my message across.  I would like readers to, at the very least, understand how what the main character does can be seen as a strong choice even if they wouldn’t do it themselves.  The way I see it, readers should either understand and believe the message I’m sending, or understand and disagree, which could lead to some fun debate, but they should at least get it to begin with.

I hope I can be the writer my story deserves.

Published in: on May 19, 2009 at 4:26 PM  Leave a Comment  
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