There are so, so, so many reasons this is a shame-y, problematic thing to say.

Please Stop Telling People They ‘Need to Get Laid’
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It was not the first time a friend told me I "need to get laid." Nor was it the 100th or even the 1000th. Hell, if I had a penny for all the times a friend, acquaintance, or some cisgender, straight guy, whose advances I'd spurned at a bar, told me I needed to get laid, I'd be so damn wealthy that I'd be on a yacht in the middle of the Indian Ocean dining on lobster and caviar right now. Okay, I could at least afford the lobster. So, when my friend Lars said it to me that morning, in a loving jab sort of way, but then repeated it after I told him to shut the [expletive] up, I paused and asked him: "Do you really think getting laid is going to solve everything?" His response? "Of course not. But it doesn't mean you couldn't use some physical action."

Don't get me wrong; I love sex. It's not just pleasurable, but also comes with a whole boatload of physical and mental benefits. Sex is such a fundamental part of being human that it's even considered a physiological — aka the most basic — need on Maslow's "Hierarchy of Needs." A little background: This psychological motivation model created by American psychologist Abraham Maslow is supposed to demonstrate how people can't get to the next stage of the pyramid without satisfying the stage before it. The ultimate goal is to reach self-actualization. The first step in doing so is satisfying that initial level of needs that, in addition to sex, includes air, food, water, shelter, warmth, and sleep. So, sure, it's a need from a physiological (and, for some, psychological) standpoint, but unlike air, food, and water, it's not something you absolutely must have to survive. You can indeed survive without sex. People who take a vow of celibacy do it all the time and, from what I've read and seen in people who have chosen this path, they're quite happy.

As is the case with all sex-related discussions, telling someone they "need to get laid" is complicated. While, personally, I find it annoying, rude, dismissive, and ignorant in thinking that some form of sex is going to magically sweep all my issues into oblivion, for others, it can also be really triggering. Even if it's said in jest, as it can be amongst friends, if you don't know someone's entire history (as in whether they're overcoming past abuse, assault, or other traumas), it can have not-so-great repercussions. There's also the potential that someone actually really wants to get laid, but doesn't have the opportunity at the moment. (Related: Couple Privilege Is One Reason Why Being Single Sometimes Feels So Hard)

"I would equate the phrase 'you just need to get laid,' to saying, 'genital insertion will solve all of your problems,'" says Emily Sauer, founder and CEO of Ohnut, a sexual wellness company that specializes in products to make penetration less painful. "So often we reduce sex to a physical act instead of prioritizing (or even understanding) what it is that we actually want from sex." Maybe that's intimacy, physical touch, or validation. "Plain and simple, 'getting laid' is an antiquated phrase used as a juvenile defense mechanism to avoid root issues," she says.

Not only is it antiquated, but can you remember the last time you heard someone tell a man he "needs to get laid?" For the most part, this phrase tends to be directed toward women, as if suggesting — similar to female hysteria in the 19th century — the best way to "cure" a woman, especially for moodiness and melancholia, was for her to be marched down to the doctor's office and given an orgasm by a medical professional and their electronic vibrator. It wasn't until the early 1980s that hysteria was no longer regarded as a psychological disorder. No man has ever been called hysterical for lack of orgasm — or ousted for having too many. Meanwhile, women who aren't having enough sex are dubbed hysterical, cold, or prude, while women who have too much sex are slut-shamed for it. (Related: Are American Women Having Unnecessary Hysterectomies?)

Ultimately, we still live in a society that puts a lot and, I mean, a lot of emphasis on sex. Dating apps (hi, Tinder) feel like they're geared toward hookups more than love and long-lasting relationships. Almost every movie out there has some character trying to get laid. Two of Netflix's most recent viral hits have been almost entirely about sex (yes, I mean Sex/Life and Bridgerton). And songs? If a song isn't about love, it's about sex and trying to get some or having it. It's been drilled into our heads that sex is the ultimate goal, and can not only "fix" what needs to be fixed in us, but also be a source of validation that someone found you attractive enough to go home with you or take you home.

But let's be frank: It's not hard to get laid. Anyone can do it if they're willing to take home whoever happens to be the last one at the bar with them. And I've been there. In my 20s, getting laid meant that someone saw me as desirable. But, as I got older and wiser, I realized that was not the case, so I changed that thinking and the toxic pattern that resulted from it. I was done trying to live up to expectations about how having sex and having a lot was somehow tied to my worth. (FTR, people aren't having as much sex as you think, anyway.)

"What does the 'you need to get laid' jab actually say to someone?" asks Sauer. "Because it lacks any constructive specificity, the insult is left to be internalized at the core. It's like hearing, 'You're too stupid, or ugly, or sad to have a genuine sexual experience with someone who cares. So just take off your clothes and smile.' Then what? Hesitant sex. Unwanted sex. Stressed sex. What about that solves anything?" (Related: What It Really Means to Be Sex-Positive)

Really, it doesn't. (Even make-up sex never solved anything; arguments need to be resolved with dialogue and communication — despite the fact that movies make it look like the cure-all for relationship woes.) If anything, having sex just to have sex often leaves you feeling like crap.

"Sometimes we masturbate when we're sad, or sleep with someone because we feel like we should," says Sauer. "And afterward a realization sets in, that it hurts so much more because succumbing to these pressures drives us further away from the person who we want to be. Meanwhile, life is just plain hard sometimes… As a culture, we hyper prioritize happiness, orgasms, and being perfect in the eyes of others. When, in fact, the process of healing takes time and courage. It might not be pretty, or happy. But it's brave."

If you think about it, the people who are told "you need to get laid" are likely getting that response because they're showing some sort of negative emotion. Telling someone they "need to get laid" in response to them being frustrated, angry, sad, or disappointed further perpetuates the idea that we need to be happy all the time and suppress any negative emotions we experience. But, really, authentically feeling and expressing negative emotions is quite healthy. Instead of dismissing these people with such a statement, we should allow them to feel those emotions and realize people are going to feel what they're going to feel whether they're getting laid or not.

I do not, nor does anyone else need to get laid to attain happiness, feel complete, be dubbed worthy, or even experience pleasure. I can attain, feel, and experience all that on my own — and then some. So, let's try to move on from the "you need to get laid" narrative. It's 2021; time to throw out antiquated tropes in exchange for better, more positive phrases that lift each other up, instead of being rude, dismissive, shame-y, and, in some cases, psychologically damaging.