This week I have been reading a book which, in a strange way, reminded me of my days as a single young female in search of something elusive. I was in search of something that should be much easier to get than it actually is. Or maybe it’s just easier for people without Asperger’s?
What did I want? Guilt-free, worry-free, uncomplicated sex.
The book I’m reading reminded me of this because it portrays women getting murdered on the vague pretence that they enjoy sex*. It’s called “Her Every Fear” and it’s by Peter Swanson. My Asperger’s would like me to point out to you that there are some typos in this book and I don’t think the author really bothered to make his English characters express themselves in an English way, but this is beside the point. The point is, women do still get judged for wanting and enjoying sex. And many women do still worry about how to have sex without ending up being slagged off (that’s an English term for ‘insulted for sexual conduct), stalked, raped, beaten or murdered.
When I was a student I worried about the danger of having one night stands. One of my friends had loads of them and I worried about her, but I envied her too. She was so confident, so free, and she had a lot of fun. As far as I know, none of the men she went to bed with ever gave her serious problems. The logical part of my brain tells me, most men are surely decent, reasonable human beings who won’t turn into psychopaths the moment you’re alone with them.
One of my favourite books (in fact, the whole series is great), is “Last Rituals” by Yrsa Sigurdardottir. In this book, an intelligent, professional woman, meets a man she likes. She considers the effect of having a relationship with him on her children. She considers the possibility of being harshly judged by society. Then she has a few drinks and seduces him anyway. And why not? Life is too short and hard to miss out on all the fun.
The best part of it is, this is not the main story of the book, it is just a small joyful part of the plot. The author does not spend 800 pages making Thora agonise over her decision and its possible consequences. For me, as a chronic over-thinker, this is fabulous.
Now, I do not have a simple answer to the problem of finding ‘guilt-free, worry-free, uncomplicated sex’. Of course, you want to be safe, and how much time you spend worrying about it as opposed to actually doing it is down to each individual’s personality. But to all those women who, like me, are anxious or have experienced a lot of worry about the possibility of having guilt-free, worry-free sex, I would like to say be brave. You are a human being and there is no reason on Earth why you shouldn’t be able to have stress-free sex. There is no syndrome, or anxiety problem, that should keep you from enjoying your life. Your potential partners are not all secret psychopaths or primitive Neanderthals and it is OK to begin your encounters from a position of trust, rather than suspicion.
*I would like to clarify what I said about Swanson’s book. It is my belief that the author intends the reader to understand that the women are being murdered because the killer enjoys doing it, the excuse of punishing sexual conduct appears to be something the killer latched onto to attribute meaning to their actions.