Photo Credit: Rolling Stone
Back in February, I made the decision to publicly share about my decision to abstain from sex. I can’t quite call it celibacy because life is a crazy thing and shit just happens sometimes. Who knows what’s next? I just show up for life and pray for the best. In my now 500+ days “without naked man”, I’ve had time to really think about the pressure society applies to women and what we do with our bodies.
The other day, I was having a great conversation with a young lady and the discussion turned rather deep. This individual, who shall remain nameless, disclosed to me that she had been diagnosed with HPV. My reaction was rather indifferent because a high rate of women are diagnosed with it annually. Seventy-nine million people are living with the virus, to be exact. And, I definitely kept my facial expression neutral seeing as how I could tell she was embarrassed, yet comfortable enough to share such a personal matter. It’s what she said next that really made me raise an eyebrow.
She said in the most innocent and shameful voice, “I got it because I’m a whore.”
No ma’am, you have HPV because someone gave it to you.
We continued our discussion and I reassured her that she isn’t the only woman out there having unprotected sex, rather she is in the select group who just so happened to get caught up. I got in my car and my heart truly broke for her. There is no way that she arrived at this conclusion of ‘being a whore’ without the assistance of an external factor. A slut-shaming man or a woman who probably devalues her own self-worth. Society’s issue with double standards is an age-old debate whereas I cannot present a new argument. You’ve heard it all before.
Outside of unplanned pregnancies and STI’s, our conversation made me ponder why women are continuously marginalized for our sexual attitudes. I thought back to my own upbringing and I was taught not to have sex before marriage. Yeah, didn’t happen. My parents in addition to my friend’s parents with similar values warned us that we should be cautious about giving away our virginity. We were told that no matter how strong of an urge we had, not to let a boy pressure us into sex. And why is that? Because babies are hard to take care of at 15 and STD’s can kill you. Those two warnings alone made me extended my virginity as long as possible. As I grew older, the message grew a lot stronger aside from the “wait for marriage” campaign. The overarching theme was that a man would respect you more if you weren’t so eager to let him get in your pants. To take it a step further, we were basically told to marry the man who loved us most and would be willing to marry us with our virginity as his grand prize.
Now that I am in my late 20’s I truly think they went about teaching abstinence the wrong way.
I’m not teaching my daughter the same bullshit that was fed to me. You can wait on a man all damn day, but if he turns out to be an asshole that is not your doing. I am not a fan of male bashing rather a proponent of women having a healthy self-image. The messages that my parents sent when the ’99 took over for the 2000 are vastly different from what society tells me in 2016. We are conditioned to believe that making a man wait an extended period of time for sex will magically make him want to be ours forever. (cough Steve Harvey) Look, if you want to wait six weeks, six months or six years, by all means do that.
But, if a man’s only intention was to have sex with you in the first place then he’ll do just that and leave.
In turn, we equate sex as making a man wait to win our heart.
I don’t know about the rest of my lady readers but my heart and vagina are two different organs.
I don’t have brothers, only cousins and I’m pretty sure they were taught different messages. “Make sure sure she’s on the pill” and “don’t get that fast girl pregnant”. Are little boys taught to win a girl’s affection? The heart is something to be earned. I’m sorry, love and sex are separate entities. When you’re ready to have sex with another person, you cannot fool yourself into believing that means you’re in love.
Going back to the young lady I mentioned earlier, I’d be remiss if I did not note that her husband was the man who gave her HPV. So what does that say about all of the women who did “the right thing” by saving her virginity for her husband? Is she a failure because she couldn’t make a relationship work with the one man she held out for? Absolutely not. Just like plans, people change too.
A woman who I look up to told me that she had sex with her now husband on the first date. Did she know at the time they would get married, have two beautiful children and stay together 20+ years? Nope. She just knew they had an immediate connection and wanted to show it physically. I remember a college classmate of mine met her future husband on campus. He was her first and she was his one of many. This girl had a heart of gold and her now husband was sleeping around (probably still is). She slept with the same guy for two years in undergrad, others of us did not. She got the husband, we did not.
Does that make us damaged goods?
The truth of the matter is, prolonging a decision to have sex in a relationship does not mean it will result in a happily ever after, although it can if the odds are in your favor. When things go South after a relationship turns physical, women are made to feel bad about themselves because they somehow lost a love game. The guy rides off into the sunset with a notch on his belt and you are left in the dust scrambling to repair your broken heart. Damn that. You did what you did because you thought it was right at the time. Regret is silly.
I’ve found that it is best to make a prospective partner work for your mind and acquire your heart. Sex is merely a bonus. The most memorable people aren’t the ones who please you in bed, rather the ones who took a general interest in your intellect. If I can trust you with my vulnerability, that’s how I know you’re the man for me, not how patient you were for sex.
But more power to the women who are waiting or chose to wait. You have the patience of Job.
Ayesha Curry qualities are cool, I have a few of them, but truthfully I’m more Adina Howard.
In closing, yes I do think that young girls should prolong giving away their virginity. There are so many emotions that come with sex that only maturity can handle. For that very reason, adults should thoroughly explain the emotional factors that come with sex. No matter what age you are and when you decided to go there, do it because you want to, not because you think it’ll earn a man’s admiration. He’ll stay for the person that you are, with or without sex. We are not our vaginas and should not be reduced as such.
What are your thoughts on waiting for sex? Tell me below in the comments.