Most women reference themselves with regard to a man. When it comes to sex, when I was young (I am 66), women were told to control themselves in order to have a male to reference to. And, even now, the combination of being responsible for children and lower earnings potential puts women in a tenuous position.
Men took for granted that they had a right to sex, even if they do not pursue the right. Male sexual drive was taken for granted. Women had no such assumption behind their sexual drives. We were faced with terror if we gave into our drives, except within highly restricted roles.
I am trying to get at the rage women often feel toward women who are sexually active. There are often deep pains involved in not giving in to a man who wants sex. For society, the sacrifice was payed back with the destruction of those women who had been sexually active.
I am afraid that there is a cultural phenomena that gives us the assumption that women use sex to use men (and a sub phenomena that sexually active women were “trying to get your husband”). It gets tiresome. The assumption is so inherent that it is almost impossible to think of a woman having sex with a man outside of marriage and to not think that she is getting something from the man other than sex.
The rage is powerful and probably below the level of consciousness. And the rage has destroyed many women’s lives. But, I believe those sacrifices made by those of us who had sex outside of marriage have led to change. Access to sex for women is more accepted, more common, than it was. We are making progress and, I believe, sexual freedom is a valid and good goal.