Gender Differences In The Treatment Of Sexual Behavior
There are clear physiological differences between men and women. Few people would try to argue differently. It can even be said that women and men think differently although the extent to which this is true has often been exaggerated to further one cause or another. Despite these two things, the question may still arise: why does society react so differently to male interest in sex as opposed to female?
The answer to this question can be found in ancient Western societies. Religious traditions evolved to protect the father’s paternity. If women were encouraged to have many sexual partners, men could not be sure that the children they were raising as their own were actually biologically theirs. It made sense then to put a high premium on female virginity.
On the other hand, male virginity was seen as a liability or proof that a man lacked the virility to engage in sexual encounters. Women who showed too much or any interest in sex were considered unladylike at the very least and they were not to be thought of as potential marriage partners by upstanding men.
This led to a sort of hierarchy among women. There were ladies who could be married and expected to produce as legitimate heirs and there were women of ill repute who could for the most expect to become the mistress of a wealthy man and live out their days in luxury once his needs were met.
Modern society is much more relaxed when it comes to female sexuality but the traces of these prejudices still affect us. Virginity may not still be a prerequisite for most women to be married but men are certainly less likely to be shamed for the number of sexual partners that they have had. Women's sexual history may be called into question based on the type of music they sing, the clothes they wear or the places they frequent. There has even been a sort of twisted backlash where some women and young girls actively try to engage in the behavior they know they can be shamed for because they think their worth is tied up in their sexuality.
Both men and women will need to one day come to an understanding of the true nature of sex. It is as much a part of nature as death and birth and by harboring unhealthy attitudes about it, we block ourselves from our existence.