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let's hear it for the girls
sex and the female mind revealed!
by heather m. millen

Today, I’m going to let the feminist in me run wild. Yep, just let her out there, screaming like a madwoman and burning her bra if she likes. Today, I’m going to reiterate for you how really damn cool women are. And if you don’t like it, you can just take that “Y” chromosome and shove it where the sun don't shine! Because we’re talking about the mothers of our children, the women behind the men, the sisters to your brothers. And perhaps most importantly, sisters to each other.

And haven't we come a long way, baby? I look at media representations of women in the fifties and my stomach turns. Oh, yes, those poodle skirts are quite eye-catching, but the expectations of women in that time period completely befuddle me. A time where women, if they did go off to University, were there specifically to find a suitable mate with whom to raise a family. A time where the term “career woman” was said with bewilderment (honorable nurses and schoolteachers excepted). And surely a time where an independent woman out on her own, pursuing her white-picket-fence-less dreams and being one with her own sexuality, was unheard of!

Let’s thank God for evolution. She’s done good.

Unlike their male counterparts, girls often grow up being taught that sex is bad. While their fathers are handing out condoms and sex advice to their brothers, the girls are facing backlash for being half an hour past curfew or getting caught kissing Johnny Football Player in the car.

Okay, so this is the point where Dr. Ruth would go on a tangent about a female's repression due to societal expectations. I'm gonna spare you that one. Sure, I could cite references to characters like James Bond and how his sexual fortitude has been revered while the same roles filled by female characters are relatively obsolete. I could spend all day pointing out instances in the media where women are depicted solely as the receptacles of sexuality, not the proprietors. Nope, I got a better idea. In the words of the great Salt N’ Pepa, “Let’s talk about sex, baby.”

It’s no secret that women like to talk. A lot. We talk about everything, down to and including our sex lives (or lack thereof) and it really can be quite refreshing to see how open and honest we can get. And why not? Many women have paved the way. In this day and age alone, we have the groundbreaking topics of "Sex and the City." Could I get a shoutout for Carrie Bradshaw? [Editor's Note: Sing it, sister!]

And so here we find ourselves, right smack dab in the sexual revolution. Somewhere. My past weekend is a prime example of women today. I got to spend it with an amazing group of gals. Some old friends, some new. Every few months we convene together. Like Muslims to Mecca, we’re drawn to the sanctity of an estrogen-filled weekend. Young women at varied levels of their careers, their love lives, their social circles, and their sexuality. The conservative and demure to the butt-freakin’ wild. And like peering behind the curtain of Oz, I’m gonna let you take a peek at it all.

The evenings were spent out on the town. Dressing to the nines, entering clubs in packs of eight and not-so-miraculously getting in where the gentlemen were turned away. (I love being female). Dancing our butts off, taking to the stage. Getting hit on by men. Constantly. Guys don’t buy drinks anymore, they cut right to the chase. We laugh ridiculously at them. Leave the club. Go out for a late-night meal. Eat cheese fries and egg sandwiches, none of that “lettuce-no dressing, I’m watching my figure” crap. Go to the Hustler store and shop for sex toys. Head home and stay up long into the night gabbing. Wake up early. Have a nice brunch. Enjoy the sunny day. Go shopping. Watch the sunset over margaritas. Get ready for another night out.

What? Wait, back up there. Eight girls in a sex shop and it's not even a Bachelorette party?! All girls and not a man to be found anywhere? Yes, many women are surprisingly comfortable with their sexuality nowadays. And why shouldn’t they be?

Who are we to judge if one of the most reserved gals of the group wants to drop a $100 on The Rabbit, a popular female sex product? You know what they say, it's always the shy ones. I say more power to her. These are women with boyfriends, women with exes, women who are perennially single. Women who are satisfied and women who aren’t. But above all, they are not afraid to talk about it and make no apologies for the way they feel or act. They are women confident with their own sexuality.

And think about it. Isn’t that the kind of woman who ends up being sexiest in the end?

One girl in the group recently underwent breast augmentation surgery. She was already very attractive. Extremely confident and aware of herself… a very sexy girl. She’s not at all the stereotypical woman you would expect to get a “boob job.” But she did and she did it for herself, not to fit someone else’s expectations of her.

Here is a group of women of different body shapes and sizes, but all who feel sexy in their own skin. Or at very least, know what they want. In a society based on strict expectations of the perfect female form, it's a nice change of pace. And a standard that we could only hope was met on a more continual basis.

As for all those late-night gabfests, the conversations themselves varied. From women who are in wonderful, loving relationships expressing their desire for more in the passion department, to the single women discussing the day-to-day of that and all it entails. All aspects of both lifestyles, no holds barred. I wouldn’t be so uncouth as to divulge all the details, but let’s just say, some of you guys have paid more to hear less.

When it comes down to it, the point really is that we were all comfortable enough to talk about it, even with some of these girls having just met each other. I honestly can’t picture a similar situation with men as the participants. And I don’t think that’s because it’s not on the male mind.

Maybe that's why sisterhood is so great after all. Maybe the Hester Prynne days of repression are long gone. But I ask you now, are we at the point where it's tit for tat? (You got me, pun intended.)

Okay, so just one more "I am woman, hear me roar" and then the guys can go look up The Rabbit. I’m stepping down from my pretty pink soapbox now.


Heather has a penchant for drama, both personally and professionally. She secretly wishes people spoke in song and wholeheartedly believes that everyone deserves a standing ovation now and again. She finds it appalling that people reserve champagne only for special occasions, when champagne is clearly best on a Tuesday, while riding the subway, accompanying a slice of kick-ass pizza.

more about heather m. millen


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robert melos
2.5.03 @ 11:00p

I would so much like to deal with the women you describe here, but I'm seeing a backlash of women who have but one goal: Catch a man and make him support you.

I don't know if it's just in my area, or nationwide, but the women whom I encounter aren't the Carrie Bradshaws of the world, but the June Clevers. I'm talking about women who are between the ages of 25 to 35, and I,being a gay male,do get to be frineds with a lot of them. I want the Sex In The City women as friends to replace these girls who all whine about being alone and how a man will make their lives perfect. Hell, I thought the same thing, then I had one, and now I'm single! Single, baby! And starting to love it! The women you describe are great. Um, sorry to gush on the gay side here, but I need to find women like these to balance out the let-me-marry-prince-carming-have-his-kid-and-stay-at-home-being-the-perfect-wife-and-mother types I'm surrounded by.

You go girls!

trey askew
2.5.03 @ 11:45p

I've heard but a few of the stories and no way would any man survive in that pack of wolves...err women.

robert melos
2.6.03 @ 12:24a

Trey, after hanging out with these women, and don't repeat this cause I'll deny it, I sometimes have straight fantasies.

Seriously, this is the female bonding experience. Guys do it all the time, usually without the shopping (especially in a sex shop), and men can be just as open and honest as women.

erik myers
2.6.03 @ 9:27a

Robert, I completely agree with you.

I honestly can’t picture a similar situation with men as the participants. And I don’t think that’s because it’s not on the male mind.

I just don't think you know the right men. What kind of men are you hanging out with?

matt morin
2.19.03 @ 12:58a

See, what I find is that when guys get together they just want to know if something happened. Women want to know how it all happened.

Guys conversations go like this:

Guy 1: So, you do her?
Guy 2: Yeah.
Guy 1: Is she hot naked?
Guy 2: Yeah.

End of conversation.

Women get much, much more detailed. Or so I hear...

steven goldman
2.19.03 @ 8:13a

Matt, it depends on the guys. There's evolution going on in both genders.

Then again, I'm living in NYC, and the idea of a liberated, grounded-in-her-sexuality woman seems kinda commonplace here. (Dating one who can handle a relationship, however, is another story -- and possibly a column -- entirely.)

erik myers
2.19.03 @ 9:48a

Why are only men commenting on this?

matt morin
2.19.03 @ 11:44a

Steven, great point. Most grounded-in-their-sexuality women I know want to play and use that sexuality and in general (in general people, so don't get mad) they don't want to be in a serious relationship.

heather millen
2.19.03 @ 2:12p

Very good question, Erik.

So, I'll speak. I don't think that the link is as synonomous as you would like to make it seem. Several of the girls in this story are in relationships or just out of them.

And one could obviously make this assertion for a guy as well. And has been that way for a whole lot longer. The whole concept of the "Player" relies on it. Only "players" aren't just guys anymore.


tracey kelley
2.19.03 @ 4:51p

Exactly. I think there are actually more women looking to explore life before 'settling down' than ever before. So if that seemingly gives women more "male" attributes, so be it.

Matt, women talk. A lot. And in great detail.

And it's fun.

m x
2.19.03 @ 10:03p

Now hold a minute! Are we exactly treading new water here? Or even discussing sex, albeit cliché reference, or simply sentimentalizing the progress feminism had made? Was the Sexual Revolution not already our own mother's Oldsmobile? So where does that movement stand today now that we’re post-backlash with the AIDS epidemic, but have returned to a medieval/Victorian mindset politically? Sex still seems to be for the taking, for women if that be their desire.
Don't mistake me, cheers to women and their emancipation. As for the intimate side of things, I unfortunately meet far too many an experienced girl in her twenties bound in inhibitions and unaware how to orgasm still with sex. That’s not my complaint, however, tis unfortunate. If women of today want to be “Players” though then who exactly do they think is going to object? (women?) And what should restrain our society then from utter hedonism? Actually, in my experience I very seldom find a girl's desire to be “Samantha” to be the case. And that almost no girl can have an extended fling without getting so deeply evolved emotionally to where it is inevitably painful, and they’d all still prefer it be a progressing relationship at some point. It still seems that to procure a husband be “ASAP” and that thirty is an absolute deadline to be wed by! Quite natural I suppose, and not that my feelings aren’t sympathetic but there’s no haste to it either and guys don’t mind sharing in sex meanwhile. Possibly quite offensive stuff here, not intentionally so - or boasts, but I don’t have the answers to some of those questions. Might you? Sisters?
On another note in our defense, I have certainly learned not to share in specificities with my guy friends, and the value of discretion - in reference to that thread of comparison between the sexes. So might that follow both ways as well?


robert melos
2.20.03 @ 2:54a

I think discretion is old fashion. Reality TV killed that, and thank the Universe it did. If you have no secrets, nothing to hide, no one can use anything against you or attempt to hurt you. I learned that the hard way. As for guys not discussing details -- I've had some of my straight male friends, even before I was out of the closet, give me detailed descriptions of their conquests. The fact I was bored beyond belief, in most cases, was covered when I was closeted, and covered again once I was out. Men do talk. Not all men, but most.

Actually, I think only a few women out there want to be "Samantha," and more probably identify with "Miranda." Of the four characters on Sex IN The City, Miranda is the most realistic, yet Samantha is the most refreshing.

heather millen
2.20.03 @ 1:57p

And that almost no girl can have an extended fling without getting so deeply evolved emotionally to where it is inevitably painful, and they’d all still prefer it be a progressing relationship at some point. It still seems that to procure a husband be “ASAP” and that thirty is an absolute deadline to be wed by!

That's a very unfortunate realm of women you find yourself in then. I'm not saying those women don't exist. But many women of today do want to go out and experience a life of their own before settling down to share it with another as Tracey mentions above. And in the end, I think that makes the relationship all the better for it.

As for the intimacy part you cite, maybe many women in their 20s (and beyond) can't orgasm. But we live in a time that women are open to discuss that and work to make it better. On their own and with their mate. It's that I applaud. And isn't it more preferable for both sexes that way?


adam kraemer
2.20.03 @ 11:17p

Well, I have to say that in my experience, I have yet to meet a well-adjusted young woman who didn't go a little boy crazy in her early 20s. Nearly all of my female friends sometime between 18 and 25 sewed their wild oats a lot more than most guys I know. But at 25, about 99% of them settled down. Or at least wanted to. I don't know what exactly that means, but it does seem to be very common.

robert melos
2.22.03 @ 3:02p

Adam, I agree it is more commonplace for a woman in her 20s to be sowing oats, but Sex In The City has broadened the age range from 20s to 40s. Older women are getting out much more, and doing much more than most men in their 20s do.

heather millen
2.23.03 @ 3:18p

Well, I have to say that in my experience, I have yet to meet a well-adjusted young woman who didn't go a little boy crazy in her early 20s

Phew, the validation I've been looking for ;)

No, I totally agree that it's an important part of a girl's life to go out and experience that. And men too, for that matter. Often times people that settle down so early (right out of college, etc) end up regretting it later. Gotta see what all is out there before being any good to anyone else.

Oh, and it's damn fun.


matt morin
2.23.03 @ 5:06p

I don't think that's necessarily for everyone though. For some people, settling down, having that sense of security, and being with someone who knows them better than anyone else in the world - that's what they want.

Some people don't need to try every flavor before they find one they like.

joe destasio
3.10.03 @ 7:24p

Did someone say "Breast Augmentation"? Please send "AFTER" photos. Thank you!

adam kraemer
3.11.03 @ 8:06a

Some people don't need to try every flavor before they find one they like.

Yes. They're called "nuns."

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