How do women navigate sex and dating in the wake of #MeToo?

Article @ Independent, published 22 October 2017

“Looking for a regular sex partner with a hot, passionate woman. Tempted?” he wrote after we matched on an online dating app. And I, for the first time in a long time, felt the hairs in the back of my neck lift a little. Yes, I was up for casual sex with a regular partner, but after nearly two weeks of Harvey Weinstein front pages my libido had taken a dive.

“Interested…” was my reply where usually I would have been far more enthusiastic.

How do we women navigate straight sex, or even just plain dating, in the wake of #MeToo? How do we reassert ownership over our sex lives and our sexuality?

It’s a tough question because we are right to be scared. Sexual etiquette is predicated on a series of arbitrary variables, the greatest being that men know they have power over women and that they must be cautious not to abuse it.

This expresses itself in a number of ways, from gents respecting our wishes when we openly say “no”, to being aware of whether we are willingly engaging with their sexual advances.

The main thing for men to keep in mind is that sex is not just something you do to someone, but something you do withsomeone. Much like when you’re having a pint, you don’t simply throw your beer all over the person you want to have a drink with.

This isn’t about men learning how to read the secret signals women give off when they want sex, like how many times they blink or how they’ve twirled their hair. This is about a political understanding of power dynamics and how they reproduce themselves in our society and social behaviour.

With this as our starting point we can begin to have a conversation both as a society at large, and also as individuals on our Tinder dates, on how men can do better when it comes to using their d*ck without being one.

Following the Weinstein scandal, we women must have the confidence to say what we want, as well as what we don’t, when it comes to getting laid.

In a world that allows for men to subject us, part of the fight back comes from creating our own sexual objectivities. It comes from talking openly about what we want, when we want it and how we want it. It comes from banning anyone who tries to shame us when we talk about it too. Our sexualities are as varied as our culinary tastes, and it’s good that way. You would tell your partner how you like your eggs, so why not how you like your sex too?

The worst thing that could happen after the #MeToo movement is for women to retract their sexualities from the equation for fear that they might be exploited and abused by predatory men. In a way that is exactly what the patriarchy would rather have: quiet women, constantly on the defence.

So if you ever want a better moment to tell a man what brings you pleasure, it is now ladies. To teach the other half of humanity how to make us tremble with pleasure is part of the feminist fight too.

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