While we fantasize about finding the perfect feminist boyfriend, the burden of bringing feminism into a hetero relationship often lies with the lady — like so many other burdens of relationships! So here are a few ways to bring an egalitarian spirit to your coupledom:
1. Talk about “women’s” issues as if they are not “women’s” issues but “human” issues. Because, you know, they are. Who wins if we have birth control, healthy reproductive systems, and equal pay? Our guys, who get to have consequence-free sex and more money coming into the household.
2. Have honest conversations about your sex life. Sure, yeah, talk about diseases and all that, of course. But talk about the fun stuff, too, which can oddly be more uncomfortable than the setting boundaries/STD chat. The longer you’re together, the more this is necessary. If you love or hate something he’s doing all the time, he needs to know; and that works the other way, too. Try both filling out a Yes/No/Maybe list (you can find these by searching online), which is exactly what it sounds like — a long list of sexual possibilities, for which you each circle yes, no, or maybe. (There are also lists that allow a more subtle 1-5 ranking system.) Then compare lists. Any yeses or maybes that match mean you have new stuff to try. Easy and fun!
3. Be responsible about protection. Condoms, pills, IUDs, whatever you need. They must be clearly discussed and implemented the second that sex is a possibility. This helps you avoid a Knocked Up situation, which, in our opinion, is a terrifying depiction of commitment wrapped in a perfectly funny movie.
4. Try to calm down about money. We know, it’s hard for us, too. But it’s okay if sometimes he’s handling more of the expenses if he makes more money than you do; it’s also okay if sometimes you are. As long as everyone feels like things are going logically and fairly.
5. Try to calm down about chores and cooking. Just figure out a policy that works for both of you and stick to it. The main thing is not to fume silently while washing the dishes alone every night. Dudes don’t always realize the centuries of resentment that have been passed down through generations of women. If you guys work it out ahead of time, then everyone should feel okay about the arrangement, whether or not he or she is super-thrilled about crusty dishes that day.
6. Call yourself a “feminist.” We just like putting that on any of our to-do lists. It also tells him from the start that you’re expecting equality, and equality, whether he knows it or not, is hot.