Better a Witty Fool than a Foolish Wit

Inner Workings of My Twisted Mind.

Let’s Talk About Sex (and the City) Baby!

So last week, after my John Hughes email, I was talking to a friend who will remain nameless and she had an interesting take on what I was saying about the Virgin/Slut dichotomy that Molly Ringwald dissects in The Breakfast Club.  My friend posed a very interesting question:  As women are ‘allowed’ to have sex without being called a slut, what happens to the Virgins?  Interesting. 

We, as women, are so quick to be excited that we’re not considered slutty for having sex or wanting to have sex, we forget that now choosing not to have sex is looked down upon.  And I will be the first to admit that when my friend brought this up I hadn’t thought about that scenario.  As a woman of the 21st century, I always took pride in the fact that I am able to have sex and enjoy sex without being looked down upon. 

This started being true in the ’80’s.  Sure, the sixties and seventies were all about free love, but there was still a stigma attached to women who had sex with multiple partners.  But the eighties changed many things.  The late seventies and early eighties saw the teen sex comedy come to the big screen, where men set out to loose their virginities, but with movies like Little Darlings (starring Oscar Winner Tatem O’Neal and teen favorite Kristy MacNichol), women were cast in roles that had them searching to Lose it.  Of course, as a woman these movies always had dire consequences.  Rape, pregnancy, the ‘I should have waited’ excuse.  Sex was rarely good for women UNTIL…drum roll please, SEX AND THE CITY.  Sure, there were instances beforehand where unmarried women had sex and the world didn’t end, but those instances were few and far between before Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda graced the small screen and changed womanhood.

Now, there is another person in my life that will also remain nameless who loves to argue with me about sex and the city.  Now, in all fairness, this person is married and has not had to date for multiple decades, so I believe that he/she  doesn’t really have the authority to comment, but that doesn’t stop him/her.  This person claims that Sex and the City is a depressing, and unrealistic version of single life.  But I see it differently.  Sex and the City makes it okay to be single…a revolutionary notion in this day and age.  I mean all four of these ladies are single for some prolonged period of time, none of them stay with a man who treats them like shit (I mean Carrie breaks up with Big because of this more than once), and when they are single there is not pressure between them to be in relationships.  There are multiple episodes of Sex and the City where Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda are the only single people at a party and they support each other, when their snooty married friends are looking down on them.

Not only did sex and the city change how single women felt about themselves…it changed how we viewed ourselves.  For the four ladies (even in the end) it is always about them first.  It’s about their friendship, not their relationships with men.  Though their relationships with men are important (and some are much better than others), their friendships with each other is what gets them through life. 

But Julia, you started this email talking about sex…where’s the sex?  Well, young ones, Sex and the City is (in more than just my mind) responsible for a HUGE change in women and their relationship to sex.  Okay…I’m going to warn you now, put the young ones to bed…and if you don’t want to hear your neice, daughter, granddaughter, friend, talk frankly about sex then stop reading right now because here it goes…and I’m not censoring it.

Sex and the City made it okay to have sex with lots and lots and lots of people (both men and women) and not be ‘slutty.’  Enter a woman named Samantha Jones.  Samantha has tons of sex, and she has it in such a way that one could consider slutty, but in the show she is never seriously judged by any of her friends.  Carrie, Charlotte, and Miranda are definitely not doing it as much or with as many people as Samantha, but they never seriously call her a slut, and they never put Samantha down for having tons of sex.  I’m going to make a claim that you all are free to argue: Samantha is the first woman on television who has lots of sex and isn’t made to feel bad about it.  Samantha loves orgasms (who doesn’t?), she loves dicks, she loves her vibrator, she is open, she is experimental, she is probably one of the best role models women have ever had…and not just in regards to sex (the fact that she runs her own P.R. firm is pretty awesome as well).

And now we women refer to are more sexually active friends as ‘the samantha of the group’ instead of ‘the slutty one.’  But Samantha isn’t the only lady who gets her groove on on a regular basis.  In fact, all the women of Sex and the City are pretty active, and that’s what is so great.  As long as there have been groups of female friends (after the 1950’s) there have been, as Margaret Cho puts it, The Sweet One, The Smart One, And Then There’s The Ho.  But really, in Sex in the City those labels dissappate.  Sure, Samantha has more one night stands, but all four of the women participate in many of these themselves.  Sex and the City not only does not judge the one ‘slutty’ friend, but it shows that even the non-‘slutty’ friends can be pretty ‘slutty.’  And ladies I have to say…ain’t that the truth.  We all have give and take with our friends on which one’s the Sweet one (okay so this isn’t always negotiable), which one’s the smart one, and which one’s the ho.  

But, our new outlook to sex isn’t the only thing that rocked about Sex and the City.  Sex and the City (and I fully intend to hear back from my little friend who likes to argue about this show with me) showed dating as it really is.  It didn’t show some sweet, romantic, candlelight, 90210, Dawson’s Creek dating, no, no.   It showed the horrid,  we have nothing to talk about, he wants me to pee on him, you want to stick that where? kind of dating that anyone who has been single in the last 10 years or so has probably experienced.  It showed dating how it really is…a battlefield.  There are landmines, and undetected attacks, and more landmines.  People now date for so long that they have emotional baggage that would easily sink the Titanic yet again, and, they try to hide it.  But really, you can’t hide that much crap and sooner or later it all comes to the surface and you find out how fucking freakish everyone is.  Before sex and the city, that was never really spoken about.  Sure we told our girlfriends about the first time we touched it, the first time we licked it, the first time.  We talked about how bad certain things taste, we talked about how weird certain experiences were, and we definitely talked about how bad certain experiences were, but before sex and the city we didn’t have the assurance that every other woman was dealing with the same shit we were.  Until the funky spunk episode, how were we supposed to know that sometimes that shit just doesn’t taste right?  And that it’s okay to say, this tastes like ass and I’m not gonna take it anymore.

I warned you folks…it’s getting raunchy in here.  And you know what, you all have Sex and the City to thank for that.  For me personally, before I watched that show, I was never as up front and frank about sex as I am now.  Now, I have no problem talking about fellatio and cunnilingus (in much cruder words) and I have no qualms about having these conversations over lunch.  Thank you ladies  of the city for letting us live our lives and for letting us talk about our sexual proclivities, sometimes even in public. 

So, Julia, what of the virgins and the women who choose not to participate in copious amounts of copulation who you started off this increasingly loquacious email talking about?  Well, Sex and the City actually addresses that in an episode that takes place in the Hamptons.  Carrie looks on in a bit of Horror as her 25 year old shadow confesses that she is, in fact, a virgin…and is saving herself for marriage.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe in saving yourself for marriage.  I don’t care who you are…that is a terrible plan.  You have to test drive the car before you buy it.  In any case, Carrie, though shocked, handles herself quite well before deciding that  ‘And then I realized, twenty something girls are just fabulous until you see one with the a man who broke your heart.’ 

I guess I’m not doing a very good job of standing up for the not so sexually active, but let me take another route.  I agree with my friend, now the women and men not getting busy are stigmatized, and yes, to a certain extent they shouldn’t be stigmatized for waiting…as long as they’re waiting for the right reasons.  Yes, I am making huge moral judgements right now, but from my experiences those who decide to wait until marriage to get busy, usually get married much too young and they are almost always divorced shortly after (hello, Jessica Simpson anyone?)  Sex is not a good reason to get married, though, it seems like in certain red areas of the country this is the norm.  No wonder the divorce rate is so high, no wonder people are fucking miserable.  Still, I don’t think that choosing not to sleep with a large variety of people is something to be stigmatized or something to be looked down upon…as long as people choose to wait for the right reasons. 

We’ve come a long way from having sex meaning you get pregnant, killed, or take some sort of dramatic fall, but let’s not lean too far in the opposite direction either. 

Peace, Love, and Safe Sex,

Julia

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June 14, 2007 - Posted by | High School, Hollywood, Sex, Sex and the City, Television

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