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Article: The intimate charge, the scourge of sexuality

La charge intime, le fléau de la sexualité

The intimate charge, the scourge of sexuality

Small disclaimer before starting, this article will mainly focus on heteronormative subjects.
In recent years, we have been able to speak out and highlight the importance of preserving our mental health. This awareness came following the Covid period and where we realized that this event had been a real psychological ordeal for many people.
By daring to talk about our strengths, our weaknesses, our joys, our sorrows, our habits, we were able to put our finger on an evil that had reigned for several years within our society: mental load.
The mental load, which also goes hand in hand with the emotional load, highlighted the inequalities that could exist within a couple/home. The third branch to add to this winning trio (when I say winning trio, I mean winning trio for a burnout) is the sexual/intimate charge. It's probably the one we talk about the least and yet it resonates for many of us.
I don't want to generalize but these three burdens are most often imposed on women, although some men also have this intimate burden.

What is sexual/intimate charge?

According to the author Caroline Michel, the sexual charge “is the mental charge and the emotional charge which are embedded in intimacy. The first corresponds to being organized , to being a manager of sexuality. The second, being constantly concerned about others”. In the context of a heterosexual couple “the other” refers to the man. The author nevertheless cautions that this does not mean that all heterosexual couples are on an unequal footing. For her, the important thing is to realize these inequalities by highlighting all these restrictive details so that women can have the same trigger as for that of the mental load.

Inequalities due to a difference in education between men and women

As is often the case, the responsibility of education in these inequalities and standardized behaviors is obvious. Even if today, society tends towards a deconstruction of these preconceived ideas, for too long, the education of a little girl and the education of a little boy were not the same. There are still scars from the education of our parents' and even our grandparents' generations. These generations where speech was not freed, where little boys had to be handsome, strong, and not express their emotions and where little girls had to be sweet, cute, sensitive and had to always please others.
This difference is also found in sex education. We talk about penis, pleasure, masturbation to men while we only talk about menstrual cycles, pain during periods, pregnancy to women without ever mentioning their pleasure or even their anatomy. Unfortunately, it is on these bases that our conception of sexual life has been made, whether on the masculine or feminine side. Without realizing it, we have ended up integrating these behaviors which have built a certain vision of how to live and design an intimate and loving relationship.

Women and the burden of contraception

Obviously who says sexual charge, also says contraceptive charge. It seems that only people who can get pregnant are concerned about protection during sexual relations. How many times have we had to face the situation where the man does not want to wear a condom because he “doesn't like it” and: “In any case, you take the pill, there are no risks , and then I won't end up in you, trust me, I'll manage” (but yes, of course...).
Or the man who strongly encourages his partner to go on the pill because: “It's okay, I'm tired of doing it with a condom, I don't feel anything and it's too tight”.
The pill is not 100% reliable, there is still a risk of pregnancy even if it is minimal. Let's also remember that the pill is not a way to protect yourself against STIs/STDs unlike the condom.

Very often, men underestimate the effect of taking contraception on women, they have not been educated on it because it does not concern them, so why bother them with it?
Except that in a relationship, the gap that may exist due to unequal management of the means of protection/contraception can be a real source of stress and pressure for the woman. This includes a whole package of sympathetic factors, between daily intake, additional cost, medical monitoring and so on.

Women should always be sexy and sensual

It's a bit like the 11th commandment for some, a woman must always be groomed in a way that will please men. She must be made up but not too much, well shaved, well dressed to satisfy the gaze of men. Everything suggests that the role of women is to make men want to seduce her. This goes even further because we are pushed to be more sensual, more erotic, more demanding, “a little slutty but not too much”. We almost forget that a woman can do all this just for herself, to please herself and perhaps to regain self-confidence. Because yes, why would a woman be well-dressed if it is not to please men? This seems meaningless to some.

Women and orgasmic load

Even if the question of female pleasure takes up more and more space during heterosexual intercourse. The woman must still keep up with the man's rhythm. She must be there for him, for his pleasure. The best proof to illustrate this point is that in the minds of certain people, sexual intercourse ends when the man has ejaculated, this example is still often too conveyed in porn.
This preconceived idea leads us to believe that male pleasure is the only one that counts during sexual intercourse. Around 35%* of women admit that they have difficulty reaching orgasm during heterosexual intercourse, but the real question is: Does the man take the time to pleasure her?
When we know that some people are reluctant to perform cunnilingus while fellatio is seen as an obligation, we are entitled to ask ourselves the question.
It is often up to women to learn to be “good guys”, to learn to be the one who takes the man to 7th heaven with each intercourse.

How can we bring equality back to heterosexual relationships?

These inequalities are not inevitable. It's still a question of education and awareness. We need to talk about it without it being seen as a taboo subject, and no longer differentiate between the education of a little girl and the education of a little boy. No longer split sex education for men and women in two in order to be able to see sexuality in its entirety. We must also encourage men to pay attention and ask questions about the functioning of women's bodies and provide compassionate education on the subject.
Being attentive to the desires and needs of others is good, but on condition that the listening is reciprocal within the relationship.



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