Out of the confines of a long-term, committed relationship, I’ve always found it difficult, if not impossible, to satisfy my desires. It wasn’t that I couldn’t find anybody to sleep with, rather that I was crippled by anxiety, shyness and shame that I, a woman, wanted sex. That was a man’s prerogative; or so society and popular culture had me believe. Over the last year, I’ve begun to understand that there are all sorts of versions and definitions of intimacy that don’t necessarily fit the narrow idea.
Then came this month’s ForTheDickChallenge hashtag, being used by women from Erykah Badu to Insecure creator Issa Rae, and on through your average girl next door – to share hilarious freestyle raps of all the crazy, funny things they have done (or would do) for sex. Kim Kardashian got involved, tweeting ‘I’d go blonde for that D…’ (in reference to a picture of Kanye) and sister Kourtney joked she’d trade one of her sisters for some ‘D’. Yes it was funny, yes it was base. But it was also utterly refreshing. It externalised and normalised the conversations I have with my girlfriends. Because, contrary to what society tells us, women – wait for it – want and enjoy sex, too. ‘We never get to talk about sex and when we do it’s like we shouldn’t be,’ agreed my friend Catherine. ‘Even if a girl has sex with a guy a few times, people would be like “He didn’t wife you, you got used,’ but it’s like “No, I wanted sex, too!”’ She told me how one time, while still at uni, she used the last £30 in her bank account to catch a train to see a guy who lived a few hours away – for some D. ‘It was gooood,’ she enthused.
But it’s not always so explicit, says my friend Marina: ‘I feel like anything – like rushing home to get ready instead of going straight out from work, or putting up with someone whose personality you actually don’t like that much… all of that counts when it comes to what we’d do for sex.’
Worldwide we’ve still got some way to go. I’m from Egypt, where sex before marriage is illegal, so I’ve heard horrifying stories of women who, upon (finally!) sleeping with their husbands have their ‘purity’ questioned if they demonstrate they’re enjoying it. But it’s not just in mainly Muslim countries where the double standards ring true. While ‘slut-shaming’ is a familiar refrain, we’re still only tiptoeing away from the stereotypes that govern it. The sexual repression of women impacts our daily lives; from Trump trying to ban abortion, to Boots refusing to reduce the price of the morning after pill as they didn’t want to ‘incentivise inappropriate use’.
The #ForTheDickChallenge calls bullshit on the assumption that women should only really be having sex to make babies. So, here’s to doing it for the dick; to allowing yourself to send a 2am ‘WYD?’ [what you doing] text to a friend with benefits and having such a friend at all. After all, isn’t it about time we stopped the double standards that were dictated by the d in the first place?