One woman's essay about rejecting sexual excess strikes a chord
You know a writer has hit a chord when several women across the political spectrum send you the same essay, all of them commenting that it is a great essay and that young women in America should read it. The writer is Bridget Phetasy, a writer and stand-up comedian, and the essay is Phetasy's rejection of the hook-up culture that leftists foist on young American women.
Phetasy puts the core issue right there in her essay's title: "I Regret Being a Slut." What triggered her writing the essay was a new book by Louise Perry entitled The Case against the Sexual Revolution: A new guide to sex in the 21st century. According to the description on Amazon, Perry
argues that the amoral libertinism and callous disenchantment of liberal feminism and our contemporary hypersexualised culture represent more loss than gain. The main winners from a world of rough sex, hook-up culture and ubiquitous porn — where anything goes and only consent matters — are a tiny minority of high-status men, not the women forced to accommodate the excesses of male lust.
For Phetasy, born in 1978, making her a member of Gen X, the book struck a deep chord. For the past four years, Phetasy, who is now happily married and has a child, has been having a reckoning with her own sexual past. Despite writing a sex-positive column for Playboy, her big regret isn't simply sleeping with so many men without loving any of them. Instead, it's the lies she told herself to support that sexual lifestyle: "The lie I told myself for decades was: I'm not in pain — I'm empowered."
Some of Phetasy's lies were from her own life. She grew up in a Catholic home and associated sex with guilt and sin. She was also the victim of a roofie rape, which makes for traumatic reading, so it's hard to imagine how it could have affected an 18-year-old. But in significant part, Phetasy was a victim of the lies the left tells young women:
My mantras were rigid.
- You can either have a career or a relationship — but you can't have both.
- Intimacy is creepy.
- Motherhood and children are a trap.
- Sex is only about power.
These are the lies so many young women hear. It doesn't help that, because so many women meet their partners through their careers, their relationships are damaged by career competition. It's hard to maintain intimacy with someone when you're also trying to prove that, at least professionally, you're superior to that person. Sex becomes part of the power play in such a relationship or in the series of sexual hook-ups so many young women today have within their professional lives.
What young women need to hear is that they are precious individuals. Young men want sex — it's a biological imperative — but that doesn't mean young women must give it to them. After all, we can't always get what we want. It's important to know that, for women, intimacy isn't creepy, but it does make you vulnerable. And if you're going to be vulnerable, do that with someone who cherishes you and is committed to you for the long term. Don't throw yourself away on someone who doesn't care.
That was the message for the young women in the community in which I raised my children, and it seemed to succeed very well. The young women in the neighborhood, across the board, showed discretion and respect for themselves when it came to their relationships. None felt that she had to be just like the boys when it came to sex. All of them knew they were worthy, and they waited for the person who knew that, too.
As I said, I heard from a lot of women, including fellow mothers, women who lived through the Sexual Revolution, women who bought into the "you can be just like a guy" mantra, and women who didn't. For all of them, Phetasy's essay was deeply moving, whether because it helped them understand their past or be grateful that they don't have one.