Anthony Weiner cannot stop himself. And unfortunately, he’s not getting enough push back for his offensive behavior. His wife stands by him (poor Huma), he still has backers in his political campaign for mayor of New York, and far too many young women today think that it's appropriate for men to send them sexually explicit texts and messages, or to send them to men. And that is the real problem: there isn't enough outcry from women against this kind of behavior. Like my colleague, Dr. Keith Ablow, I do not buy the feminist party line that women and men are no different from one another sexually, and that the newfound freedom of (in particular) young women today to hook up frequently with random men is a positive thing.
Sexting is cheating, but even more than that, it is behavior that dehumanizes relationships, rendering them to pornographic images on a small screen, devoid of any semblance of love or intimacy. The real subtext to those texts is that love, commitment, and monogamy are hopelessly old fashioned, no longer necessary or even wanted in today’s modern dating and hookup scene. Both men and women are losers in this new culture of open sexuality and promiscuity, but women are by far the biggest losers.
In their intensely private moments, women tell me that putting their sexuality out front has gained them nothing, that when they do, men really don't stick around for the deeper relationships that they crave. They tell me that the pressure to have sex almost as soon as they meet a new man is intense, and that they are fearful of not complying because there are so many other women out there who will if they won't. They share their emotional insecurities with me, the raw, overly vulnerable feelings that intensify when they fail to hold out for love and commitment before giving themselves away.
Are these guys who jump into bed on the first, second or third date (or hook up without bothering to even have a date) evil and bad? The vast majority are not. They are guilty of buying into the cultural line that if a woman is willing, why not? They have been sold the notion that scoring with women is what women want, and that they have no obligation to offer more if they are not being asked for more.
To hold out for love and commitment is difficult today. But it is vital and necessary. We are wired differently as men and women. It is easier for men to be sexual and not fall in love than it is for women. The day after the hook up, it is women who typically feel the pain of not being loved, who want more than they can get from the guy they gave themselves to so casually the night before.
The cycle of post-hookup leading to emotional insecurity (by her) and avoidance of neediness (by him) is debilitating to both genders. It's time to speak up and out for less of that and more of the real thing: relationships that are built on shared values, emotional connection, real intimacy, and a common vision for a life together. If you believe what I believe, that loving, lasting relationships are one of the greatest gifts in life, share this message. If you understand that sex is a wonderful part of a loving, committed relationship, and that it is best when preserved for that kind of connection and for marriage, say so. Be the person who is different, who isn’t afraid to hold out for more and to proudly tell others.
About the author: Nina Atwood, M.Ed., LPC, is a nationally known psychotherapist, author of five self-help books, and frequent expert media guest. Read Nina’s transformational books; for women: Temptations of the Single Girl: The Ten Dating Traps You Must Avoid, and for men: Date Like a CEO: Leadership in Life and Love for Men. To successfully date online, get Nina’s $0.99 cent eBook Internet Dating for the Savvy Single. Get loads of free advice at www.singlescoach.com.
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