Sexuality Paper

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Sexuality Project
Taylor Tarpey
Sociology 345
30 July 2012

In today’s society, we as men and women are burdened with a double standard of how one’s sex life is supposed to go. We hear from our friends and family, from churches and neighbors, that sex is something you do with the person you love and trust, someone who you are going to share the rest of your life with. Sex comes with marriage, and with marriage comes a promise that you will remain with this one person “’til death do us part.”

But this is no longer the case, as people all over the world are having sex way before marriage. We develop attractions to the people we see in school or in the workplace, and we date each other, and in other cases, we “hook up.” This is where sex comes in. It seems as though we may have lost that meaning of sex and intimacy and promise, and now we have developed a game. A race even- who can have sex with more people? Who is the most experienced? Who is the best? And as we all want to try and win this race, backlash is inevitable. As men increase in numbers, they increase in “manliness” and power among each other. As women increase in numbers, they decrease to “sluts and “whores” or to “easy” individuals. Where in the world did this come from?

Of course, the power of man did not originate in the 21st Century. Man has been the number one sex as early as the 1600s, when scientists, doctors and religion claimed that the bodies of men and women were one. A body in this time period was “fluid,” and ever changing, and men and women were represented in a hierarchy. A male body was a perfect body to compare all others to; it was strong, full of heat and truth. A female body was one that lacked vital heat and perfection, making these bodies the inverse of a male body. Women retained, inside, the reproductive structures that are visible on the male body. Women were weaker, softer and colder and always looked down upon. They were also considered more out of control and their morals could not be trusted. A less perfect body meant a less perfect character, citizen and being.

But when the 19th Century was upon us, the idea of one body changed into two bodies. However, with this change, the idea of women as a lesser sex was still in motion as scientists tried to figure out the purpose of women, along with the role they should play in society. Physical and “natural” differences in the bodies of men and women justified the roles that men and women should play. This ultimately led to the view of separate spheres, of men as superior and “normal” and women as strictly here to reproduce and provide nourishment to their children and families.

With these separate roles of men and women in society came gender roles, of men being “manly” and providing for the family, staying strong and representing his family in a positive manner, while women held down the fort at home, cooking for her husband after a long day at work and caring for the children she brought into this world, raising them to be respectable people just as she and her husband were. Women were to be feminine and dainty and beautiful, polite and have self-control. Men and women were to be opposites of each other, especially in the high class, white world.

With these images, the role of sex in each of the lives of men and women became very different. For men to want desire and sex, they did as they please, since they were in charge and held the power. Men did not need to limit having sex to just the woman they were married too. But for women to think this way was considered out of control and even named Nymphomania at the time. Women resorted to ways of rebellion and sexual pleasure on their own such as solitary sex and relationships with other women. And as women pursued their sexual desires and needs, they began to pursue their needs in other ways too.

Women have led a long fight in society in the workplace and the political world, constantly fighting for a piece of the power...
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