A new bill was passed in California meant to put a stop to sexual assaults on college campuses. It narrows the definition of consent in sexual relations and increases the opportunity for prosecution of assault.
Is the real problem a sexual revolution gone awry? We live in a culture where men are the winners and women the losers when it comes to sexual freedom and promiscuity. When did I as a woman consent to that?
Relationships for the majority of America’s young adults are reduced to sexual hookups. In an article based on a study done at the University of Pennsylvania one participant describes it this way:
“It’s kind of like a spiral,” she said. “The girls adapt a little bit, because they stop expecting that they’re going to get a boyfriend — because if that’s all you’re trying to do, you’re going to be miserable. But at the same time, they want to, like, have contact with guys.” So they hook up and “try not to get attached.”
And the article goes on to reveal the dark side of this “hook-up” culture that leads to assault:
Women said universally that hookups could not exist without alcohol, because they were for the most part too uncomfortable to pair off with men they did not know well without being drunk. One girl, explaining why her encounters freshman and sophomore year often ended with fellatio, said that usually by the time she got back to a guy’s room, she was starting to sober up and didn’t want to be there anymore, and giving the guy oral sex was an easy way to wrap things up and leave.
It is a catch-22. The women get drunk in order to consent to the “hook-up” culture and being drunk blurs the lines of consent and assault in these sexual encounters. More from the article:
In a 2007 survey funded by the Justice Department of 6,800 undergraduates at two big public universities, nearly 14 percent of women said they had been victims of at least one completed sexual assault at college; more than half of the victims said they were incapacitated from drugs or alcohol at the time.
Some may argue that sexuality is equally pleasurable for men and women so there is no reason to say that women are the losers in this hook-up culture. Biology says otherwise:
Men aren’t “exploring their sexuality” when they have sex without strings attached. They’re doing what for many of them comes naturally. Conversely, it isn’t natural for women to have sex without strings attached—and there’s an easy answer as to why: oxytocin. The female body is steeped in oxytocin and estrogen, two chemicals that together produce an environment ripe for attachment. Oxytocin causes a woman to bond with the person with whom she’s intimately engaged. It also acts as a gauge to help her determine whether or not she should trust the person she’s with.
Men have oxytocin, too, but a smaller amount. They’re more favored with testosterone—which controls lust, not attachment. That’s why women, not men, wait by the phone the next day after a one-night stand. That’s why the movie He’s Just Not That Into You wasn’t titled She’s Just Not That Into You. When a woman has sexual contact of any kind, it’s an emotional experience—whether she intends it to be or not. The moment touch occurs, oxytocin gets released and the attachment process begins. It just doesn’t happen the same way for men. Call it unfair, but there it is.
I believe it is time for women to take back their sexual power and no longer consent to a culture that leaves them unfulfilled and on the losing end of a proposition. Let’s start a love revolution and balance the Economy of Sex. Then maybe the ambiguity of assault will be a thing of the past because sexuality will be about love and commitment and not “hook-ups”.