Thank you for posting this Patrick Sue Domin. I agree wholeheartedly that at the very least, sleeping around in the community under the circumstances stated should be seen as something that is outside of a norm and therefore necessary to do only with great caution. I’m a woman who has in the past enjoyed sleeping around and would have potentially been saddened to have slightly fewer options in the EA community (my own initiation notwithstanding). However, I think it’s important to note that I think that this loss is worth it to alleviate some of the discomfort that women can feel in this community, which applies even more to younger and more vulnerable women than me.
I also want to note the importance of age, which wasn’t discussed explicitly in the post. If you have more than a 6 year age gap (depending on your age group of course) or are in different stages of life (undergrads and college graduates come to mind) then you are in a position of power over that person. When I was in my early 20s and younger, I had several interactions with people where I didn’t realize that they were hitting on me because they seemed like kind, reasonable people and the power differential was very obvious to me. It was scary and saddening to realize that people who I saw as friends and mentors saw me as a sexual prospect.
As someone who has been interested in EA for a long time but only recently started attending in-person events, I can also concur that that being hit on constantly as a newcomer to the community is extremely frustrating and demoralizing. Imagine if many of the new connections that you were excited to make in a new group decided not to interact with you further when they found out that you had a partner, and several made you feel uncomfortable with their advances. It should be the status quo to be welcoming to newcomers but not expect them to be sexually available. While I haven’t left the community following my experiences, I can absolutely imagine other women doing so because they’re unwilling to put up with this kind of behavior - and these losses have the potential to significantly impact the entry of new perspectives, ideas, and people into EA.