Do a quick search on the web for sex and dating and what transpires are many advice columns and articles espousing the “rules” of dating. Dig a little deeper and suggestions such as “don’t have sex on the first date” are common. More than that, some articles aimed at women might even warn against discussing politics or religion on the initial dates or initiating contact after a date. What strikes me is that it isn’t the fifties anymore, so why are we so hung up on these vintage values? Surely with all the progress that has been made over the last sixty years, sex and dating have evolved too? Especially considering that social changes which see women having more freedom and independence – it isn’t as though women need to “secure” a husband to ensure our future wellbeing any longer.
While I could write about why these things “should” change, it might be more important to understand what it is about such ideas which prevails – why it might be easier to hang on to these notions than make concerted changes. The obvious answer may be that many women are still looking for someone to take care of them, regardless of how our culture has changed. And obviously, perhaps men are still looking for a woman who will pander to their needs without question. And what then are the underlying longings that occur among men and women? Maybe it is as simple as the childhood desire to be seen, accepted, and nurtured which motivates these ideas?
We cannot escape the fact that in childhood we all had needs and in the majority of cases, these needs were unable to be fully met. This is not due to any deliberate shortcomings in our parents or a malicious desire to create pain among children. It is quite basically because children are mainly egocentric and much of what occurs around them is translated through an omnipotent filter. So, while the mother might be distracted to care for younger siblings in a moment of need, the child is unable to filter this in a rational manner and tend to make it about themself and how they might have created that situation. And if such wounds from childhood are not resolved, often they might continue well into adulthood – creating needs based interactions with our lovers.
Dating advice based on this would then surely be something along the lines of “take care of your own needs in an adult manner before you attempt to co-opt a potential partner into being your surrogate caregiver.” Do the work that illuminates your needs and desires. Create resolution for the inner child, nurture and love the inner child and then seek someone with whom to share your best and most healthy self. This must surely be healthier dating advice than perpetuating the power struggle?