Feeling “used,” or like a “booty call,” is the #1 experience of women who engage in hookups

“Sexual liberation—the idea that women are entitled to the same sexual agency and opportunities as men—is at the heart of feminism. It’s great in theory. But for young women, it can be a disaster.”

So begins Margaret Wente’s 2016 essay at The Globe and Mail. Wente goes on to highlight another 2016 essay at Quartz by recent college grad Leah Fessler, who explains how her generation is taught to think about sex: “Per unspoken social code, neither party is permitted emotional involvement, commitment, or vulnerability.”

As the mother of a brand new college student who regularly (when I pry) apprises me of the dating scene on campus (such as it is), I can vouch for this new culture we’ve created—and in fact wrote about it last April.

Dating is officially dead, and in its place is The Hookup, or the forced removal of any feeling or emotion when getting naked with the opposite sex.

How that ever sounded like a great idea is beyond me.

And I’m not that old. I was born in 1968 and came of age when premarital sex, if not the norm, was far from shocking. Nevertheless, the “unspoken social code” at that time was that anyone who was having sex was having it (for the most part) within the context of an exclusive, loving relationship. Yes, there were people who engaged in one-night stands; but it was far from standard, everyday behavior. And it certainly wasn’t thought of as empowering.

It has always been understood that women and men are different—in more ways than one, but especially sexually. Men can separate sex and emotion much more easily than women can. This was never up for debate. Countless films and books have been written that highlight this very theme.

The equality meme of the past 50 years eradicated this understanding, causing women to believe they could, in fact, “have sex like a man.”

They were wrong.

As just one example, in her memoir Loose Girl author Kerry Cohen examines her promiscuous past, which included sleeping with almost forty boys and men. Loose Girl analyzes in great detail all of the emotions that accompanied Cohen’s sexual experiences. She reviewed the reasons why she had sex, why she chose the boys and men she did, how she felt leading up to each encounter, how she felt afterwards, and what she expected to happen compared to what actually did happen. At the end of the day, what Cohen wanted was for guys to like her. “I let these men inside me, wanting to make me matter to them.”

“For a man,” she adds, “this might be a peasant trip down memory lane, counting up one’s conquests. But for a girl, it’s a whole other story.”

A whole other story indeed.

And it isn’t just limited to college women. In one of the sexual assault claims against disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, lawyers unearthed emails between Weinstein and his accuser that confirmed the relationship was consensual. The most significant exchange was this one:

“I love you, always do,” the woman wrote after the alleged attack. “But I hate feeling like a booty call.” Her message was followed up with a smiling-face emoji.

The takeaway is clear:

When it comes to uncommitted sex, women are playing a game they can’t win. Feeling “used,” or like a “booty call,” is the most common experience of women who engage in casual sex, or ‘hookups,’ whether they’re teenagers or grown women. That just isn’t the case for most men.

The female body is steeped in oxytocin and estrogen, two chemicals that together produce an environment ripe for attachment. Oxytocin, known primarily as the female reproductive hormone, is particularly relevant. 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.

“Feminist theory denies these differences exist, except as artifacts of the patriarchy,” writes Wente. “And so our smart young daughters grow up ignorant of the emotional facts of life—as ignorant in their way as their great-great-grandmothers were on their wedding nights.”

Even the most sexually liberal woman is surprised to learn that she cannot detach the way men can. When a woman has sex with a man, there are feelings of being more vulnerable than men after intercourse; and she’s typically more interested in the long-term possibilities of a relationship.

Our mothers and grandmothers, as well as every other generation that came before us knew this to be true.

It’s time modern women got the memo.

Suzanne Venker

Suzanne Venker is an author, speaker and cultural critic known as “The Feminist Fixer.” She has authored several books to help women win with men in life and in love. Her most recent, The Alpha Female’s Guide to Men & Marriage, was published in February 2017.

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Comments

  1. Whoever convinced women to let go of their most valuable bargaining chip in relationships and having men commit was a brilliant anti-woman.

    Just like free-the-nipple campaign few years ago.

    Yes women, go ahead, give away the goodies and hope that somebody likes you enough without any motivation to commit their life and resources to you.

    What we now have is the ultimate situation again marriage and procreation. No motivation for men to commit and have children in the sanctity of a marriage. They can have as much unattached sex as they want. And to top it off, let’s make the rules so onerous for men in courts to scare them from ever wanting to commit.

    And when men and women stop marrying and having kids, then we’ll have to import more people to keep up the country.

    Brilliant strategy if you want to replace the western society with something else.

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