March 9, 2018 | Posted in Editorial Features by
"I always talk like I want dick, but the truth is, when I look back at my sexual past it was always with boyfriends," Jennifer Lawrence said in an interview with The Sun. This statement is the equivalent of Amy Schumer's Trainwreck - at first, it seems like it might shed a positive light on women who enjoy sex, but suddenly you realize that it's still incredibly preachy. "Dick is dangerous. If I was at the point where I could get an STI, doctors have already been involved. That is how much of a germaphobe I am," she says.
Sex and nonmonogamy are for the dirty and the damaged, according to these sorts of narratives, which is a repressive structure that the likes of Lawrence and Schumer likely don't know they're stuck in. First of all, being vigilant about sexual health is not the same thing as being a "germaphobe," as anyone you exchange bodily fluids with, long-term partner or not, is literally crawling with germs. She goes on to say that she makes all of her partners get tested before she could even contract anything, and while I am incredibly pro-testing, it's not a flawless process by any means. Men can't be screened for HPV, for example, and there are few herpes tests conducted without an actual sore present. Partners cheat, and shit happens.
The true issue in a statement like this is certainly not that Jennifer only wants to have sex with boyfriends - that is absolutely fine, and very much her prerogative. It's the pervasive idea that people with many sexual partners are dirty, used, or unsafe. Many people who love having sex get tested frequently, use protection vigilantly, and in all likelihood have a little less sex than people in relationships. It's consistent with the trope that sex will stretch a woman's labia or make her loose, or that people who love to bone must be riddled with disease.
Statements like "dick is dangerous" reek of stigma, and as I've grown myself and learned to challenge such ideas, I have to wonder: Is Lawrence holding herself back from a sex life she might really enjoy?