A Response to a Respone – 8 Things that actually Gross Guys out in bed
By Brianna Nathan
The great thing about the women of GOTG is that we’ve got opinions, we’re not afraid to share them, and we’re all unique… which is why I can take an article preaching a supposedly empowering, quasi-feminist point of view and tell you exactly why I hate it.
For those who aren’t familiar, this started with a Shape.com post a few months ago titled “8 Things That Actually Gross Guys Out in Bed.” (Mom, stop reading now.) The Huffington Post recently ran a response to that, and that’s where things get interesting. Its author points out that we have a problem with the media, men, women, and even ourselves perpetuating low levels of self-esteem in women – and goes on to say that a seemingly innocuous list of 8 turnoffs shames women.
Let me be clear: I do understand that sexism is prevalent, that girls with low self-esteem tend to grow into women with the same, and that society needs to work hard to atone for decades of unfair treatment. However, I take issue with the premise that a harmless list of turnoffs “shames” anyone. There are so many other things in the world that are a problem for women – female circumcision, unequal pay practices, and fitting into last year’s clothes, just to name a few. I have a hard time believing that, upon reading a list like this one, women don’t have the strength to agree or disagree with it as they see fit. Are we suddenly incapable of thinking for ourselves, of forming our own opinions about things we read? It sure feels like that HuffPost writer thinks we’ll just absorb whatever is preached to us.
Secondly, look at the list. I have no qualms in saying that I agree with it, and do you want to know why? Because I would expect exactly the same from my partner. Let’s break it down:
- Hitting the sack post-workout: It’s great when the person you’re sleeping with goes to the gym, and I’m certainly appreciative of the hard work. Does that mean I want to jump you when you’re sweaty and smelly? Probably not, and if you have any self-confidence you’ll know that isn’t an insult to your manliness. If my man doesn’t want to have sex when I’m gross from the gym, no problem – let’s hit the shower.
- Your breath could clear a room: Expecting basic hygiene from your mate is, in my book, a no-brainer. End of story.
- You lack confidence in bed: The HuffPost response is “You want the woman you’re with to be more confident? Give her a reason to be.” PUH-lease. All this talk of empowering women, and now we’re reliant on men to boost our confidence? No way. Of course I like being told I look good, but I certainly don’t need your validation to be confident in myself. Why should my sense of self-worth depend on someone else’s judgment of me?
- You’re on your period, but don’t give him proper warning: Totally fair. Sure, things happen, and some of us don’t have the benefit of knowing exactly when we’ll start, but in general – let your partner know if that’s the situation. It’s common courtesy. Surprises in bed are rarely welcome.
- You talk really dirty: My takeaway from this was not, as my dear friend at HuffPost said, that we’re “censoring women’s speech in bed.” Let’s look at this in a different context – you’ve interviewed for a job, you got the job, it’s your first day there, and things are going pretty darn well. You’re thinking it’s a great fit. Are you going to start spouting off everything that pops into your head, curses and all? Probably not – because sometimes people should have the good sense not to voice their every thought (just ask any man who’s ever been asked “Does this make me look fat?”). There is nothing wrong with not wanting dirty talk, and there’s nothing wrong with loving it. Just have the courtesy to find out what your partner likes before jumping into the deep end.
- There’s something funky down there: Again, nothing wrong with hygiene. There’s a difference between a normal odor and one that could signal infection, and it’s perfectly acceptable for a man to want a woman who takes care of herself.
- You pee with the door open: I have no idea why this is up for debate. I’m hardly a prude, and I understand how bodies function, but that doesn’t mean I need to see it. Shut the door – both sexes.
- You kiss him right after going down on him: Here’s the only part where I agree with the HuffPost writer. If it’s good enough to go in my mouth, buddy, it’s good enough to go in yours.
Sex, as the author says, is “sweaty and wet and hot and wild and unrefined and messy and loud” – sometimes. Other times it’s about giving yourself to your partner, not taking what you want from them. It’s about showing someone you care for them, and that means respecting their needs as well as your own. So talk about it, and if your man or woman doesn’t have a problem with your dirty talk or your bad breath, have at it… but at least have the courtesy to ask.
At the end of the day, we’re all different and will each have a different perspective on these issues. What I cannot stand is the thought that if you fall on one side of the fence, you’re empowered; if you’re on the other, you’re repressed. The concept that all women should think the same is wrong, no matter who is saying it. I’m empowered, I’m confident, and I will always shut the bathroom door. That certainly doesn’t make me any less of a woman.