THE DOUBLE STANDARD: Girls Are Raised to Say ‘NO’ — But What About Boys?

By E.J. Gordon

“So this woman I was talking to at dinner said that when her daughter is a teenager, she’s not going to be allowed alone with a boy in the basement with that bedroom there, but when their son is older, they won’t care what he does. And I was thinking about doing my next GIRLilla piece on that …” I told my husband one night before bed.

“About what?” he asked.

“About how we tell our daughters not to sleep around, but we communicate to our sons, ‘Go to it … have fun … just wear a condom.”

“So? That’s how it should be.”

I looked at my husband incredulously. “What?? That doesn’t make any sense, though. The girls are supposed to say no, so who are the boys doing it with? Why the double standard?”

He responded: “That’s the game. It’s a game of cat and mouse, and the girls’ job is to be the mouse, to hide and say no, and ‘just try and find me, but you won’t,’ and the boys’ job is to be the cat. They try and try and try …”

“Don’t you think,” I argued, ‘that we should teach our boys to respect women? To view sex as something special between people who love each other? To only do it in a monogamous situation?”

“No,” he said. “That’s ridiculous and unrealistic. Boys are at their sexual peak in their late teens; telling them not to try to get sex any way they can is against human nature.”

“Well, using that logic, women hit their peak at around 30, and that’s when I was married to you, but to expect fidelity from me would be going against human nature,” I countered.

“No, it’s different. Men are biologically wired to spread their seed. Women are wired to keep the male home to protect their babies. They don’t have that spread-the-seed-need.”

I thought about that for a minute. “I don’t buy it. What kind of men do we expect our sons to be if we hand them a box of condoms and say, ‘Have at it, kid. Good luck.’

What kind of husbands will they be if we communicate to them that sex is a ‘cat and mouse’ game and you should get it while you can. How will they differentiate between love/marriage sex and causal sex?”

He responded, “That’s just how it is. It works out fine. It worked out fine for me. I’m faithful to you, and when I was younger, I tried to get laid all the time. Sometimes I succeeded; most of the time I didn’t. I’m still a good father and a good husband.”

“Yes, but… what if our son has more ‘game’ than you? What if he is successful? What if he does get laid all of the time? Are we supposed to cheer him on? Say, ‘Hey, nice job bringing home three different girls this week! You scored!’ How will he learn to be a good husband and father then?”

“That’s stupid, though. How is having lots of sex going to make him a bad husband and father?”

I sat up and looked at him. “I’m not saying that having lots of sex will make him a bad husband and father. I’m saying that NOT teaching him to view sex as special will not help in him becoming a good husband and father.”

“I don’t care what you say, it is a teenage boy’s nature to try and have sex. Period. There’s nothing you can do. It’s a game, and the goal is to get as many hits as possible… that’s why they call success a home-run. It’s all about quantity; that’s how you get good at it.”

And with that, we went to bed.

But it made me realize, if my husband is this blasé about our son having sex as a teen, it’s possible that many of our husbands feel this way. So maybe it is up to us moms to have this conversation. After all, I’ve insisted on the importance of Daddies talking to their daughters, so maybe it’s equally as important for the Mommies to talk to their sons.

We Moms must be the ones to communicate to our sons that sex is not a game, and that if they treat it as one, there will be consequences.

Take notes, Mom. Here are some Mom/Son pointers: 

1. Sex is, always has been, and always will be meant for people who love each other and who are committed to each other. When you have sex outside of a committed, loving relationship, you put yourself at risk for unplanned pregnancy or disease that could lead to infertility, pain, or a life-long, relationship-precluding condition.
2. There are ways you can reduce this risk, but they can fail. It happens. And when prevention fails, and you are not in a committed relationship with someone you love, that failure can derail both of your lives.
3. Just like boys lie about their feelings to get girls to have sex with them, girls may lie about their history and their birth control. Unless you are in a committed relationship with someone you trust, you can’t believe what a potential sex partner tells you.
4. When you have sex with someone, you form an emotional bond with them. And when this bond is broken, it hurts. This pain can mess with a girl’s head, so by having casual sex, you can really hurt her. And it can be painful for the boy too. Just because society conveys a lack of emotion on the boy’s part doesn’t mean it’s not there. It’s that after being hurt, some boys just learn to have sex without emotion, which is NOT a good thing for forming a bond with your future serious partners.
5. Every time you have sex with someone, you give them a little piece of your heart. Make sure you have enough of your heart left over for your wife.

If we want to raise boys who will become faithful, loving husbands and attentive fathers, we need to teach them that girls are people, not mice to go catch.

We need to teach them that as human beings, girls, too, are capable of both good and evil, of telling the truth and lying, of falling prey and of preying on, and we need to teach them that because of this, they need to be very, very careful of with whom and when they share these most intimate moments. We need to tell them that sex is not a game, it’s an expression of love, a fun one, no doubt, but one that’s meant to be shared between people who love and trust each other.

Now go to it! Your sons will absolutely love having this conversation with you.

Lisa Barr, Editor of GIRLilla Warfare: E.J. Gordon is a freelance writer, a regular contributor to GIRLillaWarfare,  and “Sexpert”. Have any questions or topics that you would like her to address? Remember: No subject is taboo, and Anonymity is accepted. Contact E.J. at: EJGordon529@gmail.com.
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