She’s just not that into you

Holly Platt-Higgins 6 November 2017

Yes, ok, I find you sexually attractive. But no, this doesn’t mean I have feelings for you, want to meet your mother or be your girlfriend. In fact, I find it insulting that you’d assume I would. Welcome to the twenty-first century boys.

The ‘sexual revolution’ came in the 60’s; just after Elvis appeared shaking his pelvis on the Sullivan show. Free Love, The Pill, The Beatles – without the threat of a nuclear family and house with a picture window in the ‘burbs, the girls went wild. Now, for the most part, people are willing to pretend that they think women are entitled to casual sex; because they’re liberals and we live in progressive times. But let’s face it, freedom of female sexuality is hardly prevalent in modern day society.

I’m not talking about slut-shaming; it’s not just an attack on multiplicity anymore. The attack exists in the assumption, the assumption that, unlike men, I do not have the capacity to separate sex from emotion.

There is a strange process of Q&A that people often have to go through once they’ve slept with someone: ‘Do you like them then?’ – ‘Are you going to see them again?’ – ‘So, is there something going on with you guys?’ While the questions don’t have a gender-bias, the answer list does.

It is perfectly comprehensible that a man would have sex with someone purely because they wanted to. Men are entitled to the answer, no. Do you like them? No. Are you going to see them again? No. So, is there something going on with you guys? No.

And yes, fine, I can answer no to those questions just as easily as any man can. I can also genuinely mean no as an answer to those questions, just as much as any man can. But it comes down to the fact that people habitually don’t believe the answer ‘no’, if it comes from a woman. There is a still a disbelief that I, as a woman, would have had sex with someone without the intention of further future commitment. ‘I just wanted to’ – ‘I felt like it’ – ‘They were really fit.’ Phrases you’d never hear a man saying after having slept with someone, but phrases women are forced into using as ‘justifications’ for actions to which we should be entitled. So why is this the case? What is it that means when women say one thing, we are assumed to mean another?

If we look at the power dynamic suggested by Berger – ‘Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at’ – we begin to understand the limitations for women. To be observed is to become the object and the object does not have the ability to define itself. It’s not only frustrating, it’s insulting that women aren’t allowed to define their own actions. No, I’m not talking to you because I fancy you, I’m just making conversation. No, I wasn’t checking you out, I just looked at you. Yes, we matched on Tinder but why does that mean that I’m ‘keen for you’?

While these examples are gender fluid and I’m not trying to suggest that no girl has ever made any of these claims – I think the difficulty for women exists in male disbelief. If I try and challenge your assertions, you don’t believe me: it’s ‘cute’ that I’m ‘playing hard to get’; you already ‘know the truth’ so why am I ‘trying to deny it?’; it’s obvious, I clearly ‘want’ you.

I’m not a man-hater. I haven’t got some Freudian penis-complex. In fact, when it comes to men, Depeche Mode speaks for me, ‘I just can’t get enough.’ But sometimes, I’m only interested in you for one thing and it’s rude of you not to believe me. Great sex comes from a basis of mutual respect and trust, so please don’t discredit my opinion just because we’re not in the bedroom. Boys, I’m not ashamed or afraid of my relationship with sex and you shouldn’t be either.