The Contradictions Of Women 's Sexual Freedoms

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The Contradictions of Women’s Sexual Freedoms Psychotherapist Leslie Bell’s Hard to Get: Twenty-Something Women and the Paradox of Sexual Freedom argues that young women in their twenties engage in “splitting”, a defensive process in which people dissociate their ideas into separate parts that are unequally valued (28-29). This predicament leads them to choose between two different “strategies of desire:” the “Sexual Woman” and the “Relational Woman” (29). While the Sexual Woman enjoys being promiscuous and unrestricted, the Relational Woman expresses desire for deeper emotional commitment and intimacy (30). However, young women are hindered by certain social factors that exist in today’s society. Religious and ethnic traditions, sexual…show more content…
Choosing between the Sexual Woman and the Relational Women becomes much more complicated for young religious women. They cannot decide whether to follow their religious guidelines on sex or to rebel against them and follow the ideals of non-religious sexual freedom. For example, Jayanthi, a twenty-nine-year-old Indian woman, is exposed to this conflict as she grew up in a traditional but moderately religious Hindu family. As a teenager, she “felt sheltered by her parents, who would not allow her to date” (34). Her parents expected her to be a good Indian girl who would marry another suitable Indian boy and follow Indian traditions and cultures. Many young women from families with traditional ideas and teachings about sex are sheltered and restricted. They are untrained in the methods of dating and having sexual relationships, which causes “uncertainty and anxiety” during their twenties (29). These women “split their social and psychological options[,] … lead[ing them] to assume that they cannot be strong and autonomous when they are interdependent with others, vulnerable, and intimate” (29). Jayanthi follows the persona of the Sexual Woman in order to avoid emotional commitment and to assert herself as a strong and independent woman. She rebels by “hooking up” with various male partners in order to disobey her culture and to create an identity for herself (33). However, she fails to feel independent due to the
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