The value of sexual restraint

IN HIS days, my uncle tells me, laying a a woman you were not married to was as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack. Nowadays, with a few rands in his pocket, any man can get sex.

"There was a time when many women cherished their bodies, much like a sacred temple. Where only a noble man, one who respected and loved her, had access to her body. But over time it seems women have failed to realise the important role their sexuality plays in finding a long-term mate," he moans.

He says that in his days a man had to put in a little romance and dedication, but now women throw themselves at men for sex in exchange for a ride to work or lunch.

So why is it so easy for women to engage in sexual activities these days?

According to Dr Thobani Maweni, a psychologist, young girls are made to believe that being "sexy" equates to empowerment, and that only through promiscuity and sexual aggression will they achieve their friends' admiration.

"There are more images in the media now and, especially because of the media, women are getting more insecure.

"What is worrisome is that most of them are not sexually liberated. They do not have sex because they enjoy it, but they are desperate for male approval that they'll do anything to get it."

Maweni says, for example, that young girls who are trying to find their identity see Khanyi Mbau's nude pictures, Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian's sex tapes and want to emulate them.

"The media portrays girls as sex symbols and all these young girls think that if they act sexy and dress like Chomee they will fit in and boys will like it and want to date them."

He says sexual freedom is more acceptable than it used to be and the media perpetuates the stereotype that girls are made worthy via their sex appeal.

He blames the absence of fathers in young girls' lives as the main cause of their insecurity. He says women who are coming from a place of need have a tendency to jump the gun when it comes to dating.

"The end result is a missed opportunity for a possible long-term relationship and, almost as bad, a loss of dignity."

But Zuko Mathyila, a male activist in Cape Town, disagrees. He says women aren't more insecure than before.

"Quite the contrary, "He says they now have so much confidence in their endeavours to equal men that they are willing to act like men even in their promiscuous habits. The lowering of standards is just one more of the feminists' great achievements."

He says because women are told to be strong and independent, they have to act like men - party hard, get drunk and have lots and lots of sex. So they go out and think they are "using" men for their own gratification and that they are powerful and independent for doing so.

"I blame the corruption of morality, the destruction of the family and the general promiscuity squarely on feminism, which preaches how 'empowering' this behaviour is."

He says men like a bit of a challenge, and if they end up in bed with a woman after the first date, they are unlikely to feel much respect for a woman.

"The more people use the object, the more it depreciates and the less bargaining power it has: this is a plain psychological fact of life. Most women don't realise the seriousness with which men view a woman's promiscuity.

"Women think that because men don't care about how many women they've slept with, they won't care about how many men their woman has slept with.

"But the reality is that most men do place great value on a woman's sexual restraint."