Expression of Sexuality: Male vs. Female

The world is made up of multiple gender schemas, ideologies that account for the particular way that males and females are expected to behave. These schemas are easily a primary source for double standards. Doubles standards spark because society deems certain qualities and behaviors as normal in one gender, yet rejects this same behavior in the opposite gender. This idea becomes especially complex when breaking down different areas of sexual and social expression.

Most particularly, the response around sexual orientation revolves around this same discourse. Females have much more leeway when it comes to projecting more fluidity in sexual orientation.

In a passage in NSS, LeMare states that heterosexual woman may have very different interpretations of what heterosexuality means. This underscores the complexity of sexuality and the narrowness of contemporary discourses regarding heterosexuality. On the one hand, the interviews, conducted by Lemare, illustrate that some women are able to experience desires and fantasies that are not limited by normative expectations of heterosexuality. Based on sexual orientation alone, “straight” women have little in common sexually aside from their self identification of heterosexuality.

Is this sexual orientation dynamic the same for males?

While woman, in essence, are free to express their sexuality, this same principle is seen as faulty in males. While this may undeniably have something to do with the way society portrays gender roles and expressions, it is also noteworthy to dig deeper into the societal expectations of the genders.

Females are expected to maintain a sense of emphasized femininity. While this term encompasses an array of meanings from domestication to a river of emotions, the term also clings on to the ideas of heteronormative ideologies. Societies view females as being “girly” and, as a means, expect them to participate in activities that correspond with the girl species. This includes playing dress up as a toddler, and eventually evolves into adolescent activities like playing with make up. This linear system set up by society also contributes to the personality traits and mannerisms, both positive and negative, that are linked to females. For example, when considering the word “slut,” what gender comes to mind? When considering the act of prostitutions, what gender also comes to mind? These ideas, of gender traits and contributions, are shaped, in part, by society and leads to the crafting of gender schemas.

When considering the portrayal of negative behaviors possessed by females, one is bound to view Girls Gone Wild as a major source for this depiction. Girls Gone Wild is an adult entertainment company created by Joe Francis in 1997. The company is known for its early use of direct-response marketing techniques, including its late-night infomercials that began airing in 1997. The videos typically involve camera crews at party locations engaging young college aged women who willingly expose their bodies or act “wild“. Since 2008, the Girls Gone Wild (GGW) products have been sold primarily through their website as streaming videos, downloads, and DVDs.

This adds to the conjecture that woman are subjected to sexual exploitation. The Girls Gone Wild sequence also adds to the “slut discourse” that lags behind the perception of many women. With girls making out with girls, and males encouraging the act in the background, the sequence also embraces the acceptance of female fluidity in sexuality and often molds this fluidity into something “hot” and acceptable.

Moreover, men are not expected to maintain this same image of fluidity in sexuality. Societal norms construct an ideology called Hegemonic masculinity, which entails its own separate dynamic in comparison to females. Conceptually, hegemonic masculinity explains how and why men maintain dominant social roles over women, and other gender identities, which are perceived as “feminine” in a given society. This specific ideology also calls for expression in early ages. Boys are expected to like manly things, like cars, “getting dirty,” and being rough. This same belief carries on through adulthood where men are expected to carryout sexual intercourse, being overall dominate over their partners, and projecting a sense of supremacy over females. While society considers lesbian expression as “normal and hot,” males going against anything heteronormative leads to labels like “fag” and “undercover gay (DL).”

In the passage Secret sex and the down low brotherhood, Gayle Rubin argues, “sexual behavior can sometimes be placed on a moral continuum. Some types of sexual behaviors are labeled as good, and some are labeled as bad. What is labeled as good and what bad depends greatly on which individuals and groups have power. In American society, wholesome sex is often limited to consensual sex between same-race couples, preferably married and definitely heterosexual. Individuals whose sexual practices deviate from this ideal are disapproved of to varying degrees, from mild disapprovement to criminalization (382).”

Though Rubin clumps together men and women into the term “individuals,” it is crucial to understand that men and women do not experience this ideology to the same degree. The moral continuum is also shaped by gender expectations, which places a rigid restriction on the sexuality of males. Failure to comply with what is considered masculine or acceptable results in those males being marginalized and considered “gay.”

These differing expectations are not only limited to expressions of sexual orientation, but also remain the center of other social, and even physical, debates. Males and females are always placed in separate categories, which contain their own principles for what is considered immoral and moral.

How does this ideology also play into the bisexual menace and the differing views of men and women expressing bisexual tendencies? How does this argument also play into the idea that females can “outgrow” lesbian tendencies yet males are confined to only their innate sexuality?

What’s Sex Got to Do With…Tiger Woods?


In thinking about the idea of cheating, one major example comes to mind: Tiger Woods. As many people know, Tiger Woods cheated on his wife, Elin Nordegren, with 14 other mistresses, which is an extreme form of cheating seen in our society today. Cheating is not considered a form of consensual non-monogamy, and the idea of cheating in itself can have many different levels. Cheating is a form of being unfaithful to a partner, and can be as small as an emotional relationship with someone else other than a person’s partner or as large as having an affair with someone else. Cheating pertains to any type of romantic relationship, from boyfriends and girlfriends, to husbands and wives, to gay and lesbian partners. Statistics show that 20-25% of married men and 10-15% of ever married women have an affair on their partner, but why is this number so much higher for men than it is for women? This is a question that people have been asking for years, but it most likely comes from the beginning of written time when it was very common for men to have polygamous relationships and have multiple wives. This makes men look as the dominant sex, as they most always are.

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What’s Sex Got to do with… Following Your Arrow?

People are going to judge you. In our heteronormative culture, people who don’t identify within the acceptable categories of heterosexuality, gender binaries, and female inexperience, receive less social privilege than those who do. The condemnation from others, their opinions, their judgments, the insults, name calling, and alienation, are all forms of social control to try to keep people conforming to what society construsts as “good” and “normal” behavior. Sometimes though, especially for women, it can be hard to win. On the subject of sex, you may be termed a prude, a virgin, or a goody-goody if you don’t have sex. People will judge you as having too high of morals and standards. On the other hand, if word gets out that you have had sex, sometimes even if people just suspect it, you may be classified a slut with low morals, a person who will sleep with anyone; people may lower their opinions of you and judge you as being morally corrupt. These forms of judgment are pretty prevalent; however, it seems the younger population is increasingly exhibiting a trend towards acceptance. Phrases like “do you,” are widely used and understood, especially among friends. This phrase means to do the things that make you you, the things that you want to do.

For example,

Friend one: *goes to the concert of a really obscure band”

Friend two: “I don’t really get why you like them, but you do you. Have fun at the concert!”

The phrase is used to let the person know that the speaker won’t judge the person for doing what they want to do and being an individual.


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Kasey Musgraves’ song “Follow Your Arrow” expresses this same sentiment in a very positive way.

She comments on the contradictory standards of society, and how sometimes you just can’t win. People will judge you no matter what you do, so you shouldn’t let them rule your life. She advocates doing what you want to do. The soft and happy song says it is okay to kiss lots of boys, and girls, if that’s what you’re into. Many people, especially girls, are hesitant to do this, for fear of social condemnation. Kacey is saying it is okay to express your sexuality and your feelings however you want to. I also find her way of phrasing this idea interesting. She says to kiss lots of boys, or girls, if that’s what you’re into. Assuming she is addressing the song to a girl, this connects something typically regarded as homosexual/bisexual with behavior and preference, not necessarily with identity. She doesn’t say to kiss lots of girls if you’re a lesbian, just if it is something you want to do. It’s okay to experiment and try new things and find what you like. This also plays into the concept of heteroflexibility. A girl can kiss other girls and still identify as heterosexual. She can engage in sexual behavior with whomever she likes, but her identity is still up to her to determine. In the bridge, Kasey urges listeners to remember that we as humans only have so long to live. We shouldn’t limit ourselves; we should love who we want to and live our lives without fear of what others will say. What a wonderful way to live.

So what do you think, is this “do you” trend catching on? Or could it possibly be for only friends and people who already have good opinion? Can we as a culture learn to be okay with the things people do and not feel the need to judge them?