“It’s hard to find a virgin these days,” says one man with hundreds of notches on his bedpost to another. Casual sex is still seen as a taboo. It’s still seen as shameful and disgusting. But for men and women, casual sex has a different meaning.
On Wednesday, Fleabag’s Andrew Scott took to Elizabeth Day’s podcast to help change the taboo on casual sex. He asked for the judgement of the term to stop. Instead he wants people to use one night stands as a way to “understand your sexuality.”
That’s great. It’s what we need to do. It’s what the majority of us have been saying the whole time. But a man celebrating casual sex is nothing new…
Think, Casanova, The Wolf of Wall Street, even James Bond is bloody praised for banging a hefty number of women. Yet, when Sex and The City debuted in the 90s with a bunch of women fucking around New York. It received a handful of mixed reviews.
“The frankness of the topics and conversations that take place during the episodes caught me off guard … those not easily offended should give it a spin,” read one review. Another critic was against the elements of New York mixed with the theme of sex. Whilst Jordan Belfort gets patted on the back for snorting endless lines of coke off several women’s tits. Meanwhile, his pregnant wife waits at home.
And it’s not just in TV and films. Remember when Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan split and carried on with their lives. The headlines didn’t slam Channing Tatum for ruining his marriage when he dated Jessie J. Nor did people call out Steve Kazee for knocking up Jenna after such a short time since her marriage ended. No, people slut shamed the women in these real life scenarios.
So, though Andrew Scott has good intentions. And even aims to help women by referring to Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s casual flings in his BBC One series. Why does it take a man to point out the normality and the positivity casual sex brings?
One night stands and regular hook ups are a positive thing. They help couples who are early into their relationships work out if they’re a good fit without wasting months. Or it can encourage people to learn about their likes by experimenting with someone they will never see again.
Yet, Hollywood films and outdated traditional values that still linger today put a stigma on women in the real world. Maybe it’s the classic tale that a woman can never have sex “without catching feelings”. Perhaps it’s a “cover up” for a woman that longs to be loved? Either way, the rule is always the same. A woman can’t have crazy, no strings attached sex, whilst a man can shag just about anything with a pulse.
The thing is, everyone is going to have an opinion. Some people enjoy casual sex. Whilst others are looking for that “over the fence, out of the park” kind of love. But until we rid media of these mundane stereotypes, there’s not much hope for any of us.