EXPERT 4: SUSIE ORBACH
Why She Knows: Susie Orbach is an acclaimed British psychotherapist, and the author of lots of influential books on feminist theory and how us girls view our bodies and ourselves, including Fat is a Feminist Issue and The Impossibility of sex. I had the pleasure of meeting Susie in person last year when we both participated in a round table discussion about SEX for Bon International magazine. (I blogged about it, you can read it HERE.) During the talk she had a lot of interesting things to say about female sexuality and what sex can and should mean to us. I thought she’d be perfect for Dating 101, because 4realz, before we can truly understand what we want out of a relationship, and find someone amazing to fuck/love us back, we first have to truly understand and love ourselves. Cheesy, but also true!
Often, girls who openly enjoy sex are labeled as sluts. What needs to be done to establish more positive ideas about female sexuality?
The problem is that we live in a time where sex of a certain kind is portrayed everywhere, but we don’t show women as sexual in their own right. We have to create new images that aren’t about women’s bodies as sights of display. And when it comes down to education, we need to find ways to encourage girls to learn about their own desires, and how to communicate them and teach boys about girl’s desires.
How is my porn addiction weighing on my view of what is a normal sex life?
Not well. Porn has encouraged girls to view themselves even more as the objects of other’s desires, and to see sex as entirely visual rather than relational.
Obviously we all want to date someone we find hot, but is it true that guys are more concerned with the physical appearance of their sexual partners than girls are?
I don’t buy that myth. I think most men crave intimacy, connection and interest, just as most women do. And one of the painful aspects of life today is that women are encouraged to turn to quite dramatic cosmetic procedures in the face of loss.
Is Facebook helping or hindering our chances of forming healthy relationships?
I’m not sure. I think it’s helpful for people who are isolated, and the Internet can seem very compelling and offer one the sense of existing with a circle if one feels insignificant, but it’s a different kind of thing to sitting with friends. It can contain more aspects of performance than simple relating.
The stereotype is that men are more sexual than women, but I know a lot of super horny girls. Are we really all that different?
Historically women’s sexuality has been so terrifying culturally that we have been represented as either Madonna’s or whores, and female sexuality has been repressed though legal constrains through marriage, and even clitorectemies. So yes, men and women’s sexuality appears to very different, but that's just how it appears, not how it necessarily is, or would be under different conditions.
Is it a bad idea to sleep with someone on the first date?
I’m not a great one for formulae. It may or may not make sense given who the other person is, and how you feel towards them. There is not a right answer, surely.
Ultimate words of wisdom?
Only do what feels good……