SLUG: Sex and power



14 Sept 04

Sybil Priebe

Opinion Editor


In loo of searching out a new sex columnist, I thought I would take it upon myself to write my very own version of a “sex column.” The particular topic of this column connects to the thought we have deep and dark in the back of our minds: In a sexual relationship or  non-sexual relationship, who has “the power?”


It’s no secret to those close to me, that I was a virgin for a very long time. Years back, I blamed it on the fear I had of the wrath I would endure from my parents if I had ever got pregnant. I also blamed it on my religion. But, in reflecting, I think the real reason was that I didn’t want anyone to have that power over me. I didn’t want to be another notch on someone’s bed post (and, sadly, I did date someone like that in high school). It wasn’t that I didn’t want the stigma of being a “slut,” I didn’t want to succumb to peer pressure.


So, the reason I write this column isn’t to get people to have sex, but rather, to think about the hidden power beneath it all.


My first point, and a small one at that, relates to the language we use regarding sex. When we talk about sex, we sometimes use the verb “screwing” among other colorful words. Now, does that word have an underlying tone of power? Of course. Who is going to “screw” who over?


Secondly, many people use sex as a substitution for money or success. “Working your way up the corporate ladder” sometimes means using the power of sex to get what you want. Also, I know of people who have a plan Z in their brains for financial help: “If I can’t make ends meet someday, I’ll strip.” A naked body = priceless, but powerful.


Thirdly, we’ve all heard: “You are so much better than him.” I caught a “That 70s Show” epsiode the other day, and Kelso was talking with his posse about how having good looks equalled so many points, how having money equalled another amount of points, etc. I know I am guilty of adding up how many power points I have held in comparison to the person I was dating. Granted, I usually came out with the losing amount of points (being a teacher doesn’t help in the money category, plus in our society if a woman has money that may equal negative points), but I know people who have thought: “Well, I can get someone better. He/she doesn’t even have (fill in the blank).” That may not seem like a power move, but if you think you are better than someone else, you will more than likely feel more powerful in that relationship.


Lastly, we all know about “the game.” Some of the rules of the dating game are 1) don’t call him/her, let them call you, 2) play hard-to-get, 3) let he/she say “I love you” first, etc (the list goes on forever). All of these rules and games we play, lead someone to being the winner or the one with power. “The ball is in his court now, let him decide.” “If you say, ‘I love you’ first, you allow him to be in control.”