Recently I came across a Twitter post that left me feeling uneasy. I think the most challenging thing to me about social media is that some of the opinions on it are idiocy. For example, a tweet by self-professed relationship expert named Reno Omokri went viral and caused a Twitter-storm. Reno dispenses his "nuggets" of wisdom for all, but mostly targets women, with what could be described as an old-fashioned mix of Christianity, sexism, and misogyny.
The tweet contained a photo of a plate of tuna steaks where Reno wrote "Dear women God made virgins for husbands not boyfriends. Keeping your virginity till marriage is the best gift you can give to a husband. A Virgin is more likely to have a TIGHTER connection with her husband than a LOOSE woman who has had multiple sexual partners #RenosNuggets."
There is so much wrong with this. What is most problematic to me is how the message about sex is directed only at women. The message is that promiscuity makes women undesirable. Reno is writing that a woman's virginity is the holy grail for her future mate. That is that whole reason he contrasts the word tight with loose. The message is that a woman is incapable of being a good wife if she does not bestow the gift of her virginity upon her husband. That narrative ignores the many reasons a woman may not desire a husband. Moreover, women who have had multiple sexual partners are even less desirable because they are like distorted tuna steaks. This guy is a total keeper, right?
There is nothing about how men should behave in regards to sex. Men are not told to save their virginity for their wives because they will seem less desirable if they have had multiple sexual partners. Men are not socialized that their virginity is a gift or that their penis will be adversely impacted by engaging in sexual intercourse. There is nothing about more partners making men less desirable. On the contrary, we live in a culture that encourages men to seek sex from as many women as possible as often as they can. We know that men are measured by how much they have sex and by how many women they have sex with. Social norms encourage men never to settle down and get all that they can. Moreover, our culture teaches men to lie, manipulate, and even coerce women into sleeping with them.
But, what I find most problematic of all is this nonsense about "tighter connection." Newsflash Reno is not talking about intimacy. This photo implies that sex will be less enjoyable with a woman who has had multiple sexual partners. In other words, men should not seek long-term relationships with women who enjoy sex. So, what are the messages in that phrase? First, men's sexual enjoyment is a higher priority than women's. Moreover, men are meant to enjoy women sexually; it's our right by being born male. In Reno's mind, a woman should not be interested in sex with anyone other than her future husband. Furthermore, the messaging shames women who are sexually active by implying that their vaginas will end up loose due to sex with multiple partners. It is no coincidence terms like loose or slut are using to
degrade women who have a healthy view of their sexuality. This idea that sex loosens vaginas is utter nonsense. This idea ignores childbirth, biology, the elasticity of the vagina, and the pelvic floor.
Above all, this is the same outdated thinking that has existed for years that tells women to "wait for marriage" while saying nothing to men. It is 2018. Women can enjoy sex just like men. Moreover, beliefs and attitudes implying that a woman is worthless because she has been sexually active are not well thought out. This "thinking" is outdated, dangerous, and ignorant. Why did this guy even believe it was a good idea to compare vaginas to tuna steaks? That is offensive and horrifying when you think about it. How are women impacted navigating this sexist double standard? How are women socialized to hide their desires and parts of themselves because they will face unfair critique for being who they innately are? Why are men seen as players and women as sluts for engaging in the same behavior? Why do women face the same scrutiny about their sex lives from other men and women? If men walk around with these beliefs, then how does it impact us and the relationships we have? What do we prioritize? What do we value? Whom do we appreciate and what do we value them for? How do we treat those closest to us?