A new study has us simultaneously thinking "Yay!" and "Duh." Research conducted by Laurie Rudman and Julie Phelan from Rutgers University finds that feminism may actually improve heterosexual sex and relationships and that there isn't much truth to stereotypes of feminists being unattractive and sexually unappealing. By surveying over 500 men and women about their relationship histories and perceptions of their own feminism they found that "having a feminist partner was linked to healthier heterosexual relationships for women. Men with feminist partners also reported both more stable relationships and greater sexual satisfaction. According to these results, feminism does not predict poor romantic relationships, in fact quite the opposite." In fact, they found that feminist women are more likely to be in relationships with guys than non-feminist women. After the jump, one self-described feminist (Tracie) and one self-described not-feminist (Moe) compare their sex lives/relationship history.
Tracie: I've been a feminist for as long as I can remember, but I believe I recognized it for what it was when I was like in the fourth grade and one of the nuns asked for "a few strong boys" to leave math class and help carry carry boxes of pretzels to the school's kitchen. So those boys, who were shorter than I, got to leave a boring class and probably got to eat free pretzels. So. Un. Fair. So I'm pretty much a feminist for completely selfish reasons, because if I don't speak up and say something about such retarded inequalities that affect my life, who the fuck will?
Anyway, feminism has absolutely affected my sex life. I'm glad that I discovered BUST magazine at a young age, because its feminist pro-sex stance gave me the courage to buy my first vibrator, speak up in bed, and be unashamed about the fact that I have needs that must be satisfied. All of that has given me tons of practice in bed, and has led me to figure out what I like and what I don't like, and ultimately enabled me to enjoy my sex life so much more. And I know I'm always writing about sluttin' around and stuff, but actually I've had four (well, three and a half) stable, long-term relationships. I have to think that it's because I learned at an early age that I'm just as strong as any boy, and if I want something (be it free pretzels or a caring boyfriend), I'll make sure to plead my case and get it.
Moe: I have never identified as a feminist. All my life I've grown up around riot grrl type people and women's studies studiers, but somehow I just never identified strongly enough as a woman to be involved in any of it. I think this is probably because my dad never watched sports but forced us to listen to both classical music and Broadway musicals as a kid. And I was the oldest, so it wasn't until high school that I ran into real jock-type males, and by that point I was pretty sure I was going to achieve more in life than those guys. (Although, ha ha, I didn't. False confidence! So dudelike.)
Seriously though, I don't give a whole lot of thought to my gender or its role in my relationships and I'm pretty sure that's my problem. I do not think about how men expect women to look or act or talk or smell; I have never gotten a single body part waxed and I get my hair cut at Super Cuts and my underwear at — oh shit, my underwear collection — and as a result I think dudes I date tend to feel let down when we get close, because although I am a pretty unselfish and easygoing and really fun girlfriend, I own approximately one nice bra. Meanwhile my roommate, a woman's studies major who spent several years working at a feminist nonprofit, has fake nails, awesome clothes and a constant stream of guys dying to date her. I think that just by virtue of having thought about gender roles so much more, feminists are actually prettier and better put-together and more sexual than non-feminists and hence they get laid more often. Sucks for me!
Feminism And Romance Go Hand In Hand [ScienceDaily]