It's 2018 and time to start putting some really dated habits to bed — like the idea that men should make the first move. I'm really, really sick of it, because it's way more of a problem than you might realize. In fact, one survey of over 2,000 women found that less than one in 10 women make the first move.
Whether we're talking about asking for someone's details, asking them out or jumping their bones (yes, I am a teenage boy from the 1990s,) there's no reason for women not to be the ones who go for it.
I've watched so many of friends not text a guy they like after a date, or get anxious about the fact that the someone they're seeing hasn't tried to have sex with them yet. It's so frustrating because there's a really obvious solution: just do it. And, beyond the fact that it's the 21st century, and any basic semblance of equality tells us that we should fight traditional gender roles, there are some really good reasons you should step up to the plate.
Here's why you should be making the first move.
We can't ignore the fact that the idea that men should do the heavy lifting is incredibly heteronormative. What does that mean for gay guys? Or for lesbians? My girlfriend and I have been together for two and a half years, but if we were both scared to make the first move because we're women ... well, we'd still be waiting. It's a ridiculous idea that only men can do it.
To be honest, it shouldn't be anything to do with how men feel about it — you should make the first move if you damn well feel like it (given that he appears interested and there are no power dynamics at play, because #consent.) It is interesting, though, that there are more men who seem to want women to make the first move than women who actually do it.
One study of 87 heterosexual students in 2011 by Dr. Michael Mills found that "more men preferred to be asked out (16 per cent) than there were women who preferred to do the asking (6 per cent.)" That difference suggests that "10 per cent of men may be waiting quite a while for a woman to ask them out on a first date." So it's not like they'll hate it. And plus, would you want to go out with the kind of guy who was intimidated by a woman being bold?
And when it comes to sex, men are even more up for you to make the first move. A University of California San Francisco study found that only a quarter of the women they spoke to made the first move, but "72 per cent of men are as sick of the status quo as a lot of women are and would love women to be the first to initiate sex," according to sex expert Tracey Cox. So if you're feeling horny but a little shy, just go for it.
The truth is, whether you're looking for sex or trying to ask someone out, modern technology has made it easier than ever to make the first move. And actually, it's encouraging some women to take matters into their own hands. Scientist Helen Fisher, author of Anatomy Of Love: A Natural History Of Mating, Marriage And Why We Stray, looked at online dating data including statistics from over 25,000 single people. And the numbers didn't lie.
"They clearly illustrate that women of every age, ethnicity and background initiate most pickups and, in truth, women have become blatant," she wrote. "In 2012, 65 per cent of more than 5,000 men reported they had been asked out by a woman. Interestingly, 92 per cent of the men were comfortable with this. Internet and smartphone use has added even more come-hither moves to a woman's repertoire."
So with smartphones, men and women are both chilling out (or even just forgetting about) traditional gender roles. It's about damn time.
Ultimately, you just shouldn't be waiting around for life to happen to you. You could be waiting days, weeks or months for someone to make the first move. Or, you could just go for it. And even if the person isn't interested, at least you'll know right away rather than wasting your own time by sitting around waiting for something that is never going to happen.
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If you're used to waiting for someone else to do it, making the first move can feel unnatural — but practice makes perfect. Once you get used to it, you'll find that making the first move can be empowering. And come on, do you really want to buy into a social habit that paints women as helpless and passive? You're not a damsel in distress; you're in control. It's time to act like it.
This article was originally published on Bellesa.
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