Okay friends, I want to talk about something serious today. I know this blog is supposed to be about online dating, but something’s got me all hot and bothered (emphasis on the bothered) and since it has to do with dating (and with being a woman), here we go.
Earlier this week, my mother and I had a conversation that went a little something like this—
Mom: I was just watching The Steve Harvey Show, and he has a special on that I’m recording for you, it’s called the 90 Day Oath, and what you do is you don’t give your cookie away for 90 days.
Me: Your cookie?
Mom: Yeah, you know, like having sex. It’s really interesting.
Me: That’s not interesting, it’s disgusting and misogynistic, at best.
So I did some googling, and here’s what I found on The Steve Harvey Show’s website:
“I vow to keep my cookie in the jar for 90 days. During that time, my man needs to be committed and not open anyone else’s cookie jar I’ll require that he treats me like the one-of-a-kind woman, I am.”
So, let’s start with the obvious. This is insulting to men in every way possible, men are not beasts, so ravenous for sex that, if denied by the woman they consider their partner will run dick-first into the first warm place they can find to stick it. Let’s give the men of the world a little more credit, shall we? And further, if you’re in a relationship with a man who you don’t trust, it’s time to reconsider things, right? I mean, that’s just dating 101.
Now onto the next offense, the “cookie in the jar”. Frankly, nothing about this “oath” disgusts me more. It’s called having sex, not “giving away your cookie”, and it’s called a vagina, not a “cookie jar”. If someone is going to tell me not to do something, they damn well better use the proper vocabulary. Now, vaginas are miraculous, they are capable of producing quite a few things, including but not limited to entire human beings, but you know what they’re not capable of producing? Baked goods. Alas, there is not a loaf of zucchini bread up there just waiting for some lucky, devoted man. Sorry, fellas.
But more than this, calling a woman’s vagina her “cookie” makes it into a possession; it quite literally objectifies our sexuality, and separates it from us as a whole. This is so dangerous, in so many ways, and this is something that society consistently does to women. It is wholly unacceptable. A woman’s sexuality is not something that can be taken, or something that can be given away, it is a part of her, her whole, entire, glorious, powerful being. It is indivisible from her self, and until we start teaching our girls (and boys) this fact, we’re never going to get anywhere productive. Maybe sugar-coating (baking pun totally intended) the language we use to discuss these things makes it friendlier, but if that’s necessary, then shouldn’t we be having a discussion about what makes the word “vagina” so terrifying and uncomfortable that we’re forced to come up with euphemism after euphemism to describe it?
Now, on the show there was a panel of women, and the one that stuck out to me was the woman who explained that she had been sleeping with men on first dates in order to keep them interested. After I got done slamming my head against a wall and crying (simultaneously, very messy), what she said really got me thinking. Yes, this mindset should be discussed, and I’m so grateful that The Steve Harvey show brought this into the spotlight. This is a pervasive, and damaging way to think, and so many women out there have fallen into it without realizing.
Humans are sexual animals. Sex is natural, and beautiful, and it feels great. That’s the truth. And more than this, sexuality is a wonderful thing; no matter how your sexuality manifests itself, if it makes you feel good and it’s consensual, there’s nothing wrong with it. I repeat (in caps) — THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOUR SEXUALITY. It’s the way we treat people’s sexuality that’s flawed—across the board, with men and women and trans people—the only thing wrong with sexuality is the way it’s treated and discussed in our society.
No, my lovely friends, sleeping with a man will not make him love you, and it will not make him stick around. But not sleeping him won’t either. I’ve slept with men on the first date before and never heard from them again, and also slept with men on the first date and then never returned their calls. I’ve slept with men on the first date and had more dates after that. I’ve refused to sleep with men on the first date and never heard from them again too, and I’ve waited until the fourth or fifth date, formed a relationship, and then had my heart broken. Hell, in my first serious relationship we waited three months, formed a loving relationship, and then both of us got our hearts shattered. Nothing in life is guaranteed, and feelings are the best example of that. Nothing is going to ensure that you get a happy ever after, including getting married, so why would sleeping with a guy on a first date mean he would stay?
Here’s the point I’m trying to make—your sexuality is yours, and only you know what feels right for you. Maybe the first date feels right for you, maybe the third does, maybe you want to wait until marriage. What’s important here is figuring out you—not for some oath, not for society, not religion, not for some TV show, but for yourself. Telling a woman to slap on a chastity belt for an arbitrary 90 days isn’t going to help her learn how to listen to her herself. Telling a woman to deny her desires and her needs isn’t going to help her self-respect. Teaching women, no, teaching ALL PEOPLE that our desires are natural and should be nurtured, teaching people that they know what’s best for their bodies, teaching people to listen to themselves, and to cherish themselves, regardless of anyone’s else’s feelings or expectations or personal morals—that is what we need to do. Denying women their desires and assuming that men are sex-crazed beasts is exactly the problem. We need open, honest dialogue, not some bullshit oath.