It’s not enough to say, “no thank you, not yet.” Rather, there is an overwhelming pressure to say, “no, because…” Sometimes, it feels easier to just lie back and think of England (or Benedict Cumberbatch).
When women talk to each other about dating, it often feels as though there’s an elephant in the room.
You skirt around it, you glance shyly at it, you might even squeeze past it to get to the snack table – but you’re never, ever, ever supposed to talk about it.
Such sexual ’norms’ have slipped insidiously into our dating culture, perhaps without us even consciously realising it. Rachel Hills, a researcher, speaker and writer whose forthcoming book The Sex Myth explores ideas around these supposed regular sexual behaviours, says, “There are a lot of people for whom three dates is much too soon to initiate sexual contact with a new person.
“But there is an expectation that you need to be sexually active very early on in a relationship – that can be intimidating for those who want to take their time.” Let me be clear: this absolutely isn’t about slut shaming or having rules about what “nice young ladies” should or shouldn’t do.
Otherwise, it's just another set of rules to control us.
Rachel Hills' book, The Sex Myth, will be out in August 2015, published by Simon & Schuster in the US, and Penguin in Australia The Big Short, the film adaptation of Michael Lewis' book of the same name about the causes of the financial crisis, opens in UK cinemas this weekend.“I knew he wanted to, so I just did it.” “I felt like I’d want to at some point…so I thought I might as well do it now.” “I didn’t want him to lose interest.” “I didn’t want him to think I was a tease/frigid.” These are just some of the reasons single women I know have given for having sex before they really wanted to.It is a fantastic thing that we have sexual freedoms – if a woman desires sex on a first, second, third or thirtieth date; I wholeheartedly believe there’s no reason to feel bad about that.What I’m talking about is those women who aren’t comfortable with going there so quickly, but feel forced to conform – we’ve reached a point where sexual freedom only goes one way.That’s why the issue remains this big, hulking, stifling sexual elephant.