I’m in a sorority. I’m a senior. I’ve been recruited and I have recruited. I’ve initiated many pledge classes. I’ve slept with frat guys, and I’ve dated men seriously and superficially. I’ve gone to every meeting I was required to, had my daddy pay my dues on time, and bought all the t-shirts. What I’m saying is, I’m a normal sorority member. That is, until you look at my sexual activity, sluttiness, or prowess as I like to call it.
Those who know the extent of my conquests call me wild. In fact, my big sister says that whenever she thinks she’s heard it all, I say something that surprises her again. But here’s the thing: what I’m doing is not wrong. What I’m doing is not against our values. What I’m doing is not harmful or done out of malice. It’s just being honest about sex. And while yes, at 22, I have had sex with more people than most people will sleep with in their lifetime, that doesn’t mean I’m not a classy (insert sorority name here) woman.
Some of my sisters would whole-heartedly disagree with that statement. They would be the same women who have sent me to standards (the Greek equivalent of getting sent to the principal’s office) in hopes that I curb my “wild ways” and maybe, though I hope not, that I get kicked out of my sorority entirely. In retrospect though, no one has ever sent me to standards for sleeping with people, only showing off my piercings or being a little too drunk at a party.
But why? Why is my behavior seen as harmful? It starts with 100+ year old values and highly involves the word “classy” – the word that one TSM writer calls “the real C word”. There is this image that sorority women are proper ladies yet somehow also party animals. Our founders, for the most part, founded our organizations on values that made sense in the context of a society that existed BEFORE 1900, and we’re supposed to adhere to that? Right.
Its not that I don’t appreciate and try to live by our values. I think that most of our values can stand the test of time. But only if we develop them in the context of THIS society. In the late 1800’s, casual sex was absolutely unheard of, but it’s 2015 and it’s a reality for most of us. If we adhere to 1800’s values, we are basically living our lives in hopes of being approved of by our great, great grandmothers.
We’re supposed to be organizations for the betterment and success of women, but we can’t do that if we’re living in the past.
So what can we do? Here’s my advice: snap the fuck out of it. Stop telling intelligent women what to do. Don’t give them a risk of probation for attending male bid day celebrations. Don’t use the image of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s as your role model. Tiara or not, she dated (used) men for money, all throughout the movie. Don’t concern yourself with which sister is sleeping with which fraternity members, nor engage with men or women who have decided to call her a slut.
Trust your sisters. If you think that someone sleeping around is a reputation problem, please check what century we’re in. Casual sex, as long as it’s consensual, is not a crime. In fact, if having casual sex is consistent with who your sister is as a person and she’s happy about it, consider the perspective that she’s living out your values by unapologetically being herself.
Finally, for god’s sake, do not see someone’s party habits as who they are. Everyone has a wild side. Tapping into it is not wrong, but not acknowledging someone’s human side is. We’re all fighting our own battles, and how our sisters feel about who we do or do not sleep with should NOT be one of them.
Here’s to four years without getting kicked out, party on babes.
All my panhellenic love,
I wholeheartedly agree with the article and also love to read your site regularly. I’m a very big supporter that society becomes more open so that everybody gets the opportunity to express themselves as they want to.
Here is just a bit of rambling on the feelings it conjured up in me (i.e. it doesn’t have a clear point):
I’ve always had a problem with myself. I’m a guy who sees himself as introverted and nerdy. I’ve been in very long relationships and, therefore, have no experience in hookup culture or short relationships. I’m grateful for the great experiences that I’ve had in my relationships. However, I cannot help being intimidated, jealous, and self-conscious when I hear from friends how many partners they’ve had. Mind you, my close male friends are all equally inexperienced (and share my feelings) but some of my close female friends are exploring their sexuality more. These feelings are a primal reaction, based in a mixture of my fear of missing out, being compared to many people when meeting new women on dates, social anxieties, and a wrong-headed life-long desire to be more extroverted (a thing that is strongly promoted in society).
Currently, I’m seeing someone new and she’s very experienced sexually (lets say the number of people is just mind-boggling to me). I don’t want to feel uncomfortable but I do. I want her to be able to share her whole life with me, even though I feel uncomfortable when hearing about some parts of it, since it has been a big part of her life. I wish I could just “get over it” and “deal with it” or not think about it too much. I’ve talked with her about the feelings it conjures up in me, which helped a bit. I’m also proud she is choosing to spend a long time with me. However, whenever I feel insecure, it eats up my brain.. I’m trying to better myself and look at the positive side of things. I would appreciate any tips.
I think these same feelings I have are why society is not changing so fast as it should be. Most people tend to compare themselves with others and don’t like it when others have more or different experiences, then they tend to blame the other person for it and not themselves or except that it is part of the choices in life one makes. It is a good thing to sometimes tell people they should accept someones lifestyle, which is easily done, but its another thing to tell them how to cope with the inevitable insecurities it conjures up about their (mutually exclusive) life choices, which is far more difficult. However, I think the latter will speed up societal progress more quickly as it is based in mutual understanding.
In the end any person ends up either having many partners or only a few, either by choice or not, but the most important thing is to understand each other and help process each others’ feelings.
First of all, which of my ex boyfriends are you? Seriously. You sound like every boyfriend I’ve ever had, except they weren’t so willing to want to know about all the parts of my life. My advice would be for you to spend some time trying to understand what sex means to your new partner – because for a long time for me sex was something that made me feel wanted – something I hadn’t felt most of my life – so I use it as a tool to get what I want.
If you understand why your new partner was able to accumlate so many new partners (i’m assuming you’re having trouble with understanding the lack of emotionality) have a discussion about it.
Then lay back and prosper from their talents 😉
lol, thanks for reducing me to one of your ex-boyfriends. That helps getting over my fear of being compared. 😉
But really.. thanks for being open and for the advice. It is indeed probably due to me having a hard time to understand the lack of emotionality. I guess I need to focus more on what she got out of it and how it helped her become who she is. I know she had a view akin to yours during that time, so it’s interesting to hear a similar story from that perspective.
Hope you have a great day!