She’s choosing not to marry. She doesn’t care if she’s attached — at least some of the time.
She isn’t problematically picky. She doesn’t have a fear of commitment. She doesn’t have any major issues or baggage. So what’s “wrong” with the single, successful, empowered female? Society wants to know. Sometimes, she wants to know herself.
We have witnessed a more dramatic change in female sexuality — and marriage, for that matter — in the last 30 years than occurred in the previous 5,000.
This is in large part thanks to enormous progress made in the realms of gender equality and greater female autonomy. With this sociological shift, we’ve seen the rise of flourishing females, many of whom are surprisingly single. The brainteaser with these deities of desirability is that many of them are choosing to be single — at least to a certain point.
Single, empowered, successful women are here to stay. Yet, with their profound presence, meeting potential partners, dating, finding romance and building relationships in the traditional American sense have been thrown into chaos.
This woman wants love, companionship, and commitment. And she’s willing to put herself out there for it. But — and this is a huge but — she’s not willing to compromise who she is or what she has rightfully earned, as is often the expectation.
While it’s easy to fault ignorant or intimidated males for not stepping up or evolving themselves, it’s no wonder that they don’t know what to do. They haven’t been bred to handle this new breed of babes. The results have been nothing but disastrous on the dating front, as women have told me:
— “My biggest problem these days is being more educated than the men I am dating. It seems to be an ‘issue’ at some level, although they don’t go so far as to say this is the real reason!”
— “I am finding that some of the men I am meeting have a lot of issues with my success. This baggage comes in the form of preconceived notions about types of women (career women, single women, etc.). They think they know everything there is to know about the ‘type’ of person I am, which isn’t always attractive, and it is simply silly …”
— “The men I date seem to think that chivalry is dead given today’s female empowerment — and it’s not! I hate not being treated like a lady on a date.”
— “I’m still waiting for the Oprah show featuring a bunch of single men lined up, ready to receive training on how to adapt to the needs and desires of today’s single, successful women — instead of it always being us accommodating them!”
In knowing these attractive ladies personally, I can tell you that all of them exude confidence and convey a sense of togetherness that would seem to ensure dating success. Yet thriving is thwarting their love lives. Their prospering presentation somehow attracts men in the short-term, but alienates them in the long run.
Is it any wonder that many single, successful, empowered women find themselves recovering from a series of promising relationships that mysteriously derail? Cruelly, society’s scrutiny of the situation becomes “What’s wrong with her?” It’s only natural for the woman to wonder then, too, “What’s wrong with me?”
Here are a few of the things that may be wrong with her:
She’s bringing home the bacon.
Women are moving into the workforce and don’t need anyone to take care of them — and their children. They are more educated and have careers to envy. For the last few decades, we have seen women slowly closing the gender gap in education, health and economic power. Many anthropologists have argued that we’re actually reclaiming a status we had hundreds of thousands of years ago, so we are in our element right now.
She doesn’t have to marry for sex.
Females are expressing their sexuality as never before. For better or for worse, females are having sex sooner, have more partners, marry later, have fewer kids, leave their marriages for better ones, have less remorse for the sex partners they have had, are committing adultery ... Many are also taking their sexual satisfaction into their own hands, with or without a male.
In fact, one long-term Australian study found that single women have twice as many orgasms as married women. Researchers found that 56 percent of sexually active women with no current partner could reach climax every time via self-pleasuring versus only 24 percent of the women with partners. The reason: they’re better at connecting with themselves.
She doesn’t have to be submissive.
Married or not, equality is the norm in today’s relationships. A companionate union where lovers see each other as peers is expected and demanded. If a man is a bit “old-fashioned” in his ideas over dominating a relationship, he’s got another thing coming with these women.
She can be more selective.
While single women are criticized for having standards that are too high, theirs is really a matter of not having found the right man or that they are exercising caution. She does not want to give up everything that she has worked so hard for, and forfeit the powerful part of her identity, in order to please a man.
She’s more interesting than ever.
She knows that there’s a lot more to life than planning her wedding day and how to get to the altar. She’s embracing all that life has to give her, chasing interests she wouldn’t have the time for if enmeshed in a relationship. Still, her hope is that she may find a partner equally interesting ... one day.
With all of these aspects of her life in place, the woman’s only comfort — though not very comforting — is that she’s intimidating on the dating scene. The very traits that lend themselves to success in the professional world are sabotaging her love life. There is nothing “wrong” with her.
It’s just that she’s been dealt an entirely different hand — an arguably better one at that — when it comes to finding love. And when she reminds herself of the position she’s in, she knows that it’s not a bad one. She can take her time in finding what she wants — and do it on her own terms.
In the Know Sex News ...
— Are you number 12? With World Hepatitis Day May 19, the World Hepatitis Alliance is launching a viral campaign to raise awareness about the 500 million people worldwide who are living with either hepatitis B or C. One in 12 people on the planet is infected with one of these two viruses, yet the majority do not even know that they are infected.
— School sexual harassment needs more attention. Research has found that, while bullying is more common in schools, sexual harassment has a greater negative impact on teens' health. Investigators at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and the University of Southern Maine found that over one-third of students have been sexually harassed, with girls and gay, lesbian and transgendered youth the most affected. Amongst the effects: lower self-esteem, poorer mental and physical health, and more trauma symptoms.
— Unsafe abortions a killer in Nigeria. Conservative estimates are that over 3,000 women die from unsafe abortions in Nigeria every year. Illegal, except in the case of saving a woman's life, research continually finds that women will risk the dangers of a secret procedure rather than carry an unplanned pregnancy to term.
Dr. Yvonne Kristín Fulbright is a sex educator, relationship expert, columnist and founder of Sexuality Source Inc. She is the author of several books including, "Touch Me There! A Hand Guide to Your Orgasmic Hot Spots."