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Are Relationships, Sex and One Night Stands Just one Big Power Struggle?

Featuring art from Chad Moore, New Yorked based photographer.

At times, life may seem to be one big power struggle; whether that be the overarching power from patriarchy, or the more intimate personal power structures within close relationships. We see the issue of power range from one upmanship, to a real, cruel need for power over people. Power is everywhere; there are different layers. We all see the power held by the state and those at the top of society. When we consider the contributions of Marxism, we can begin to understand the power which is held by those with money; money as power.

But when we look into power within sex - particularly heterosexual sex, and the act of sex, it is very complex. The more you look into the idea of sexual power, the more you realise the extent that it links to other elements of power within society. Whether this be through the ideas such as prostitution, patriachy and pornography, or any other power forms we can uncover in society. Societal power can be carried through into sex, which allows an individual to continue to dominate and control.

Without sounding too cliché, I truely think that sex, in terms of one night stands, could and should be considered a drug. In the moment, it is a fabulous idea, it unlocks pleasures deeper than you could ever imagine. However these are temporary. Very temporary. And often the ‘comedown’ is not worth the pleasure. But like with drugs, once you try them, you understand the potential for them to take you to a place which you have not been to before, this state of ultimate pleasure. And once you have experienced this state, you are hungry for more; simply never returning to that state is absolutely not an option. You have a hunger for it; for sex, for intimacy, for feeling wanted. But this craving is deadly, it puts you in difficult positions, mentally.

There is a concept which I refer to as ‘the out the door’ theory. This is where the mental damage begins after a one night stand. After all the fun is over, and he leaves your house, you feel okay. But as time passes, the previous feelings of happiness and fullness quite literally dissolve and the overthinking and loneliness kicks in; the comedown. You begin to question why he hasn’t messaged, you will overthink everything you did and said, and worst of all, you will trick yourself into thinking you have true feelings deeper than lust. This is very normal and very frustrating. This is why many of us girls struggle having one night stands; and this is why boys often think girls are overly emotional. Simply because our ideals do not align with theirs, does not mean we

have to settle for their ideals and hurt silently; see the hidden power here? This is what I mean, subconsciously, we take male pleasure a lot more seriously than our own.

I would argue that I have never personally been in love. I have been close; I have also encountered deep feelings and desires, but love, that's foreign. Hurt, on the other hand, I know and understand incredibly well. I say this, but the intensities and depths of hurt are diverse, and it likely could hurt much more in different scenarios for different people; perhaps I am lucky? As I write this, I am sitting in a coffee shop, facing an old couple, where he sits with his arm around his wife. I wonder, at what point does a pair of individuals decide that it is time to settle down; that they are done fucking around? Is it a certain person that changes this, or a period in their life. Do people reach a stage in their life where they panic and settle, rather than continuing their search for ‘the one’? I for one, have no idea.

So I have decided, who cares about putting yourself on the line; be yourself and know that that is good enough. This message goes for both boys and girls. We all need to stop fucking eachother up. We need to learn that sex is about fun and intimacy; not this messed up power struggle. Make eachother feel wanted, make eachother aware of our personal intentions, whether that be for simply a one night stand, or whether it means more; and quite simply, respect eachother as beings; sex makes everyone very vulnerable; embrace your own vulnerability and eachother’s. We need to make sex equal and enjoyable.

- Hannah Cox

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