Sexy Time: The Burden of Sexiness
One of my friends is in an LDR with her boyfriend while he’s studying abroad. Naturally, they’ve had to turn to technology to keep their connection strong. Last week, he asked her why she hadn’t sent him any scandalous photos yet. When she told me about this, I asked if he had sent her any yet, and she said no. I couldn’t have been less surprised.
Our society places the burden of “performing” sexiness on women. There are endless products designed to enhance our aesthetic and make us more alluring – from cosmetics to fashion to the most popular ladies magazines, we are constantly bombarded with messages and images that emphasize the significance of being sexy. This, of course, influences our intimate relationships (in a heterosexual context), because men are also exposed to the idea that women should make being attractive to men a top priority. I think, either consciously or subconsciously, they expect us to always put in effort to be sexy, that we should be the ones to be super flirty, dress in ways that are pleasing to the male gaze and be the ones who spice up the relationship. I know that men are also under pressure to conform to society’s ideas of masculinity, that they are under pressure to achieve certain body types, exhibit certain personality traits and generally be considered sexually attractive. But, the pressure seems to be a lot less and men definitely have more freedom to be unconventional.
I’ve also noticed that the task of “spicing up” equates to more experimentation and the need to be a vibrant sex goddess for our lovers. I know that in my own experience, I find myself constantly thinking of ways to improve my sex life. Even though I’m content, and I know my boyfriend is content, I am always looking for ways to surprise him (ie: what new and exciting place can I give him a BJ?). I choreograph strip teases, write him erotic stories, strategically pick out sexy underwear, surprise sext him, work on my flexibility, and also engage in a few sexy acts that I derive absolutely no enjoyment from (tit-f*cking is the worst, oh god). I know that he also does things to be sexy for me too, but I have definitely internalized a lot of unnecessary baggage.
Returning to my lead anecdote, I actually ended up asking my friend’s boyfriend about his views on female sexuality, and he had a really laid-back perspective and didn’t at all seem to place any unreasonable expectations on his girlfriend. When I asked why he hasn’t sent her scandalous photos yet. His response? “Guys can’t do it like girls can.” So there is also this idea out there that guys can’t even truly be visually sexy. I know a lot of girls who think shirtless guys are cheeseball, laugh at penis pics and generally don’t take the idea of guys trying to be sexy seriously. Which reinforces how deeply the sexualization of women’s bodies are, and how not sexualized men’s bodies are. It’s not like I have a solution for this, since I happen to love shirtless men and beautiful cocks.
What I do know is that, for the most part, I am pretty good about drawing my own boundaries. I generally don’t compromise myself or my values for the sake of being sexy. I know that I’m not going to look like a Maxim cover girl all the time (or ever). I am not always going to want to have sex, or give blowjobs, or do anything other than sit on my couch, eat Cheetos, and watch Gilmore Girls. And that I don’t have to do anything truly out of my comfort zone to please my boyfriend, and you shouldn’t feel compelled to either.