Is Sex Fair?

The first time I pondered this question was with my group of 6th grade girl classmates who had just been shown ‘the period movie’ without the boys.

“Boys don’t have periods!  It’s so UNFAIR!” we moaned.  What we didn’t know was that boys jizz in their PJs and then have to try to hide them from mom on laundry day; now doesn’t that seem a bit unfair?  And I can’t help but wonder:  While we were seeing ‘the period movie,’ did they get ‘the jizz movie’?  If not, that’s more than a bit unfair!

The next time it came up was when we learned more about the real deal of childbirth.  “Men don’t have to go through that!  It’s so UNFAIR!” we cried.  Only later would we learn that men don’t have a say in whether we keep a pregnancy – not a legal say, anyway, though they do have louder and sometimes more dominating opinions.  Nor do they have a say in whether they have to pay child support – again, not a legal say, but plenty vote with their feet.  On the other hand, women can actually DIE during pregnancy and childbirth, so why shouldn’t we have the say and men have to pay?  Not to mention how our backs go all wonky (forever) and our straight hair frizzes or our curly hair goes limp (forever), plus he didn’t want to use a condom in the first place.  Where is the fairness in all that?

The boy who most wanted my virginity told me that he was getting some from an older woman, and he was so sorry, but he couldn’t really give that up – well, unless…  Today I might think I was being played, but she actually drove up and whisked him off while he was talking to me, a resolute look on her pretty but mature face.  I remember thinking that even though she knew sex tricks I didn’t, I could learn sex tricks (couldn’t I?)  Whereas she was old and would continue to get older while I was still young.  Now why that soothed my hurt feelings I’m not sure – because I would get older too (wouldn’t I?)  And right then he was driving off with her while I stood alone on a street corner with my ‘precious gift.’  Who got the fair end of that?

The age thing came up again when I was an attractive young woman driving a series of somewhat rundown heaps.  I saw the women of a certain age and status in their sports and luxury cars.  I thought, why can’t I have one of those; doesn’t it make more sense for a hot girl to be driving a hot car?  (Yes, at times I could really be that shallow.)  Now I’m the mature woman, and I just went back to driving a sexy black Mustang GT.  Ultimately I think it’s fair that I do, considering that I also have the battle scars of my age, plus I’ve put in the time on my career to afford the car I want.  Nature sure has a way of evening things out.

Now some of my mature women friends talk about how some men of a certain age don’t seem to want sex as much anymore.  Whereas we want it more than ever!  “Where is their testosterone?  It’s so UNFAIR!” we sigh.  Well, back when we were the pretty young things driving the dumpy worn-out cars, young men were being driven nearly mad with that testosterone.  And hand in hand with their high desire was a low sophistication about how to actually get a woman into bed.  Furthermore, many of the young women they desired were more interested in the flowery compliments, the roses, the steak dinner, the jewelry, than in the hungry mouth that would jam its tongue down their throats or the hard erection that would chafe and leave that aforementioned jizz in their vaginas.  But later, many of those boyz-2-men pay it back, whether they mean to or not.  Their waning testosterone can mean they’re more interested in the beer and ball games or the easy porn on the internet than in richer but more complicated sex with their mates.  Poor us!

What can we do about these discrepancies?  Is the ‘war’ between the sexes unwinnable?

Maybe when one of us wins, none of us wins.  Maybe winning just doesn’t promote the equity and empathy that are so crucial to a happy mentality and a healthy relationship.  What serves us better, if I can steal a couple cliches, is to understand that when the grass seems greener on the other side, it’s often just that we can’t see the forest for the trees.  It’s not easy to be alive, whether female or male.  It’s not easy to be young, it’s not easy to be old, and it’s not easy in between.  But I’ll still take that over the alternative.  Won’t you?

Young man and woman b&w In my book Licking the Spoon, I discuss the differences between the sexes that can threaten relationships, and some strategies for dealing with them.

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141 thoughts on “Is Sex Fair?

  1. This was a great read! Allowed me to view the males perspective better. We should never fully judge someone because we think that our life is better or worse and automatically assume that the other person is in a sense inferior.

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  2. I never thought about what guys have to go through. It’s “unfair” for both of us. Just in different ways. Even with having to deal with periods and whatnot, I love being a woman!

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  3. I loved reading this post because it gives an opportunity for your readers to view both sides of the spectrum. As a woman, I often disregard how a man may feel about women having a period or giving birth. Women do have a lot to handle but so do men and I think that this topic needs to be addressed more than it is. Thank you for sharing your story!

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  4. Wow.. never really thought about guy’s perspective! Every girl has complained at least once about how unfair it is to have to go through period, mood swings, cramps, child birth, etc. Though we never gave a thought about what’s unfair for guys. Great post!

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  5. Wow. I never really saw it fully from both ways. I’ve always thought women had it way harder than men, but you are definitely right when we have our own difficulties.

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  6. i really think women have it way harder we are even judged when we women want to have sex more often then men i say men dont fully understand what women need to get off it is way more complicated and it only gets harder when men make us feel like we have the issue of taking too long getting an orgasm

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    • I agree some men are like that, and it’s probably because they watch porn where the woman has multiple orgasms after 2 minutes of stimulation. Faking, of course! But a real genuinely concerned partner usually wants to learn. We need to learn ourselves first and then teach them! But orgasm is only one aspect of sex, and I think there are some areas that are more difficult for men.

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  7. Wow, I never thought about the males perspective. It is so true to see what they go through as well. Personally, I totally agree that us females still have the harder part in life as to what we go through including, giving birth, periods, and intercourse. But yes both sexes have difficulties and its all just a matter of how to handle these certain situations.! thank you, such a great blog once again!!! 🙂

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  8. I never really thought about the male perspective until reading this. We are too busy worrying about our selves and complaining about the things we go through that we forget that there is another side to all of this.

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  9. Just learned about this in my human sexuality class and its really unfortunate that my future holds of low testosterone levels. ahaha. As far as ‘winning’ between sexes like you said, its the balance of nature and I also agree with you that if one sex wins none wins.

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  10. This was a great read. I never really thought about how our age can change our desire for sex. This was very insightful and an eye opener.

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  11. As a gay man, I personally have seen how men are portrayed through the media at times to be superior when it comes to women. I dislike the notion, the social norm, and personally believe that it is unfair on how women aren’t seen as fully equal to that of Man. However, as time passes and progresses, more and more equality is being shown between both sexes which is a step in the right direction. Reading this post also gave me an insight on the perspectives of both men and women, so thank you for this.

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  12. I really like the part where it’s said that we, girls, tend to say that it’s unfair we have to go through periods, childbirth and such, since I can relate to saying that when I was younger. However, now that I’m older and also by taking a human sexuality class, it’s not only us that have to go through things but also men and by reading this article it helps give a little more insight in that one sex doesn’t have to go through things more than the other. It’s more of that we both in different ways experience changes.

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  13. This was an insightful read, as I had always just focused on the unfairness women have to go through, unlike men. Men still have some privilege over women, but that goes without saying that they also have to deal with some unfair things such as maybe not having a say in a pregnancy and having to pay unwanted child support. This also made me think and realize that in reality, there is no real winning. Especially between both genders.

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  14. I loved reading this! Sexual development is a never ending roller coaster for both sexes and there is a balance to everything in my opinion. Something I shared in common with a lot of my high school girl friends, was a strategic, sneaky trip to Planned Parenthood when we didn’t want our parents to know we were sexually active. Waiting for two hours in a small waiting room with crying children just to find out if you we were pregnant or had an STD. Despite the stress behind it, Planned Parenthood saved our little teenage lives when we felt scared to get help from our parents. With the new leadership pushing to get rid of Planned Parenthood, it worries me that too few men know the level importance it has to young girls, and that the lack of this outlet could be the difference between life and death for a young woman. In this way I think it is so important for each sex to put effort in to understanding and supporting the others’ sexual difficulties.

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  15. I always grew up thinking that it was unfair that I would have to go through periods, pregnancy, and labor. After reading this, I realize that men do have some issues to manage with their own sexual delevopment. I am beginning to see that the “unfairness” is actually just our differences that make us each gender. Although men don’t have to suffer the embarrassing ordeals concerning periods, or the pain experienced during labor, I am happy to go through these experiences as it is an integral part of who I am, a woman.

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  16. It’s hard to be a woman, but it’s also hard to be a man. We must understand that both sexes have their own unique problems to deal with. Women have to deal with the pain and forever life-changing realities that childbirth brings, and men have to pay for this dependent child for many years to come. Is sex really fair? I guess since both sexes have their drawbacks, it evens out! Thank you for the wonderful read!

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  17. This post was very insightful. I remember being in middle school and thinking: why do only women have periods and have to go through the negative side effects such as moodiness, cramps, pimples, tiredness, etc and men don’t? Why can’t they go through something similar so it can be “fair”? At the time I didn’t know what wet dreams were, but now I can understand that it can be something embarrassing that these boys don’t want to speak about, just as us girls when we have our period. Another point was pregnancy- “why do us girls have to go through nine months of torture creating a human inside of us?” while men don’t have a legal say in whether the pregnancy should go through and if they should pay child support. Depending on the situation, it could be that the woman wants to go through the pregnancy and the man is not ready, or the man wants the woman to go through the pregnancy and supports her while the woman is not ready to become a mother. In those cases, it is hard for either to “win”. I do not believe that the sexes are necessarily fair, but I do believe that each of the sexes go through their own sets of problems which makes us unique from one another and shapes us into who we are down the line. Great post.

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  18. I think at a young age, we get too focus on our own gender and not thinking is maybe the opposite gender has difficulties too. I would say a lot of girls my age would claim we have it worse and in some aspects I agree, but now to think about it, boys also go through hard times just like us. I loved this reading! Thank you!

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