Feature photo by ko_an

Nothing holds women back from enjoying whole and fulfilling sex lives more than wondering what “They” will think of you when it’s all over. The person you’re fondling. Your friends. The person you’re going to awkwardly run into when you finish screwing and walk out of this public restroom. The Virgin/Whore complex has ruined many an orgasm by taking the attention off you and making it about some unknown Them.

Well, screw Them. Mostly figuratively.
Let’s psychoanalyze the hell out of the Virgin/Whore Complex and see if we can’t write a new philosophy of pleasure for ourselves.

Sex as a Commodity

The origins of the Virgin/Whore dichotomy reside in the history of using women’s sexuality as a commodity. If you’re a woman, you’ve probably been subjected to the rhetoric of your value as a future bride residing in the condition of your hymen. Especially if you’re a Latina. The force of “el que diran” (the what-will-they-say) acts as an unspoken chastity belt that follows us through generations. This is because for the longest time, our financial security lay in our power to deny sex long enough to secure a marriage. And for others, financial security lay in having sex with as many powerful men as possible. This model for women’s sexuality has bled down to our present times in the form of whether or not to sleep with someone and how soon. It’s not as simple as bad girls do and good girls don’t when it comes to sex anymore. Now it comes down to bad girls do too soon and that’s how they get their hearts broken.

Get Over It

Often we are translating the Virgin/Whore model into new ways of turning sex into a commodity that assures we don’t get hurt in our quest for love. Those of us who tilt our way over to the virgin spectrum, over idealize love, assuring ourselves— and everyone who will listen- that withholding sex is the only way to land that special man or woman. That’s the only way they’ll take you seriously. On the other end of the spectrum, there are those of us who don’t take anything seriously out of fear of rejection. We’ll have sex readily and view it as a form of empowerment, convinced that sex is a conquest and we are collecting scalps— the poor bastards.

I’m not judging either end of the spectrum other than to say they’re both annoying and suck on a girl’s night out. Other than that, neither are particularly bad options, as long as you are doing exactly what you want to do. That being said, I’ve been on both ends myself and believe me, neither guarantees that you won’t get hurt. But as the professional domms I know like to say, “Pain isn’t always a bad thing.” Heartbreak is a part of life and it can be beautiful. Put on some sad rancheras, and cry it out like Lola Beltran. Or be Toni Braxton. Get it all out.

Some Stupid Ass Advice

So before we start feeling all “I am woman, hear me roar” because we’re discussing the end of the Virgin/Whore complex, let’s take the time to realize that while some guys out there are idiots and will think you’re a puta if you wear a mini skirt, we ladies do plenty to fuck each other up. How do we do this, you may ask? It’s all about the stupid ass advice.

Ever hear the one about how you shouldn’t kiss on a first date? How if you really like someone, you shouldn’t sleep with them too soon so they don’t think you’re easy? Or the one about how if you’re going through a break up, you should find someone you don’t like that much to be your transition person?

Essentially, what we tell each other- in person and in magazines- is that we shouldn’t sleep with people we like, but instead sleep with people we don’t like. What the hell is wrong with all of us?

We should be having sex with people we like when we want to have sex with them. And if they don’t call back or if it doesn’t work out, yeah, our feelings will be hurt but at least we’ll know what they look like naked and we can masturbate thinking about them later instead of just wondering about it. . .

And “Sex and The City” was great for getting people to realize, that yes, women like having sex and that we talk about it. A lot. But the legacy it’s left us is one of sitting around with our friends and assigning each other roles. “Oh, you’re so the Miranda of the group.” “You’re such a Charlotte.” Really? Shut up! You are your own woman. And I swear to God, if one more person calls me ‘Samantha’, I will kick their ass. No joke. I write a sex column for crying out loud. Assholes…

The Human Complex

Now here’s the big truth about the Virgin/Whore complex: guys suffer from it too. It happens when we divide them into Nice Guys we would date and Bad Boys we’ll just have crazy sex with. Nice Guys deserve wild sex too. And Bad Boys deserve love- when they get out of rehab.

Trying to mold our behavior into what we think will keep us from getting hurt or judging others based on what we think the likelihood will be that they will hurt us- this is what I have come to think of as the Human Complex. We are all scared, insecure, awkward, and afraid of rejection. We hide behind bad advice from our friends. We worry about what others will think of us for acting on our desires. We try to control how others feel about us through the commodification of our sexuality. And all this still won’t guarantee our love will be appreciated. The only judgment with regards to our behavior in love that I have ever found adequate is that of how honest we are with ourselves and one another. Not how soon or how often we have sex. (Read: The Ethical Slut, please.)

And now let me end this anti-advice column with a little bit of advice:

Listen to yourself. If you have an opportunity to make a move, ask yourself if you will absolutely regret it for the rest of your life if you don’t, regardless of whatever else happens between you. Answer honestly. You never know when you may be getting your one chance. Furthermore, grab a pen and paper. Make a list of your best sexual experiences and write down exactly why they were so great. Now go do more of that.

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