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More broadly, one study showed that men who said they were in relationships with feminist women reported greater relationship stability and sexual satisfaction.The authors of this study concluded that, far from disrupting heterosexual relationships, greater gender equality in a relationship was healthy – for both women and men.
Conversely, greater agency and equality in a relationship has been associated with better communication, improved relationship satisfaction and a better sex life.One study found that women in relationships with feminist men reported healthier relationships – both in terms of quality and long-term stability – than those in relationships with non-feminist men.More generally, conforming to traditional romantic ideas may also limit women’s willingness and ability to seek equality.Heterosexual romantic relationships have historically been all about men courting and “keeping” women. Whether it’s asking someone out, picking up the bill, or being the main breadwinner in the family, many of the ideas we have about romance are still based on men being initiators and directors and women being receivers and caretakers. Women are increasingly entering the “male domains” of high-powered jobs and sexual freedom. Given that popular (mis)conceptions of feminism tend to malign feminists as man-haters or lesbians, it’s easy to see why many people view gender equality as incompatible with romance, and a hindrance to romantic relationships. But while the movement for gender equality has changed things, cultural scripts about romance have curtailed women’s social roles and still continue to do so.
Traditionally, women’s main route to status and influence involved attracting high-status romantic partners.
For example, when adolescent girls describe their first sexual experience, they frequently refer to it as something that just “happened to them”, whereas boys’ accounts don’t show this lack of agency.