sex

A Revolution for the Prudes and Sluts: A Few Thoughts on Virginity

 

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“It’s kind of a double-edged sword isn’t it? If you say you haven’t, you’re a prude. If you say you have, you’re a slut. It’s a trap.”- The Breakfast Club

Why is that? This whole concept of virginity is so intriguing yet confusing to me. It’s this way to me because when talking about virginity, you first have to define what it even means. Is it strictly penetration? If so, does that mean people who identify as lesbians are incapable of ever losing their virginity? In that case does losing your virginity mean oral sex? Once you define it, I begin to wonder why it even matters. Why does it matter that we know that two people came together to pleasure each other? But more than that, why are we placing so much emphasis on it? After all, if you’re anything like me who is in her first year of college, you cringe when you hear stories of people you know losing their virginity (most commonly to random “hookups”), yet you are taken aback a little to find out that someone is still a virgin. We ourselves are hypocrites and because of that, you can never win with this virginity battle, and it’s because no matter which path you choose, there’s going to be some stigma around it.

So why is it such a big deal to be a virgin? Or is it?

To some, having sex is kind of like a right of passage, something that shows maturity and coming of age. Others hold the act sacred or at least live with the belief that sex should be taken seriously and virginity should be lost with someone special. Neither are better or worse than each other, especially because they both hold their strengths and weaknesses. But for some reason, it is still more socially acceptable to have lost your virginity than it is to have kept it. There is such an emphasis for your first time to be something magical, unforgettable and pleasure filled, but often times it’s not and when that happens, it’s hard not to feel as if you’ve done something wrong. Not only that, but there becomes a component of regret. It sets in and it begins to be hard not to feel as though you didn’t handle the situation right. There are so many mixed emotions about what the “right” way to lose your virginity and I strongly believe in eradicating those ideas set in place about the way we “should” do it so that each time a girl loses her virginity, her story is valid and not judged, all because she didn’t do it the way you thought she should.

It frustrates me that girls are still shaming each other into believing that the way they are handling situations aren’t right. Everyone decides to do what’s best for them and there is not right or wrong scenario when it comes to losing your virginity. Sure, some might have wished they waited or that their first time was different than it was, but at the same time it doesn’t mean that they were wrong to do it the way they did. But on that same token, there seems to often be this odd sense of despair when girls who have had sex talk to virgins about sex. However, it shouldn’t be like that. People shouldn’t feel pitty for the virgins because they haven’t had the same life experiences.
This double edged sword is tough and it saddens me that it still exists. The Breakfast Club was made almost thirty years ago and yet the line about virginity still holds true. So I challenge you. I challenge you to stand up the next time you hear someone bash either side. I challenge you to stand up for the perceived sluts. And I also challenge you to stand up for the perceived prudes. Nobody deserves to be labeled a certain way based on something so silly as virginity, or lack there of. So take a stand and create a change. We might not change the world, but you might change someone’s world.

Vulnerability and Sex: Do They Go Hand in Hand?

I have this friend, let’s call her Piper, who has an interesting perspective on sex. One that, for me, I do not find to be true as do most of the other people in our friend group. Piper doesn’t see sex as an act of love or emotion, rather just something that one does to have fun and let loose. When she told me this, I had to really stop and think about her viewpoint. Yes, we see impulsive one night stands and sex being done purely for fun on TV and in movies, but up until this point, I had never actually met someone, let alone a girl, who held this belief to be true.

After digging a little deeper into this and practically psychoanalyzing her (disclaimer: she psychoanalyzes me too), I realized something. It’s not that she doesn’t understand that for some people sex is supposed to be meaningful, it was just that for her, she was too scared to allow herself to be vulnerable enough to someone else to become meaningful. Because of things that happened in her childhood, she built up walls around her heart and shied away from letting herself be vulnerable to other people in all aspects of her life. But vulnerability is a funny thing, and something that almost everyone struggles with at some point in their life. Our natural instinct is not to be vulnerable because that’s scary. We worry that if we let ourselves be vulnerable, something bad might happen: we won’t be accepted, we won’t be loved, or we won’t be understood for who we truly are. But as Brené Brown, a self described researcher storyteller and presenter of the TED Talk: The Power of Vulnerability says, “vulnerability is the core of shame and fear and our struggles for worthiness, but it is also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging and of love”.

I told Piper that by being scared to be vulnerable and by refusing to let herself be truly seen by someone, she was going to miss out on something, sexually and emotionally. By suppressing her fears and struggles (the scary part of vulnerability) and acting like they didn’t exist, she was also not giving herself a chance to experience the other part of being vulnerable which is having someone see you for who you truly are, with all of your imperfections, and still love you. Vulnerability is two fold and difficult to portray because there are so many uncertainties, and unfortunately, sometimes when you let yourself be vulnerable, you have to come to terms that there is the possibility of being hurt as a result.

What I told her was that she wasn’t wrong in thinking that sex is just an act with no meaning, but what I tried to get across to her was that there is more to sex than the act itself. There is a time to have it just for fun, but hopefully at some point in your life, there should be emotion and passion behind it. At the end of my explanation of how I had disentangled her life to be able to get to the root of why she thought of sex as a meaningless act she turned to me and said, “you just psychoanalyzed me on what I thought sex was, not lovemaking”. Touché Piper, touché.

How do you feel about this? Do you think there is pressure to have meaningful sex or do you think sex should sometimes just be for pure physical pleasure?

Please, please, please watch this video… I cannot emphasize enough how important this concept is to incorporate into every aspect of our lives. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

How would you feel if your dad told you he wanted you to have some, “fucking awesome sex”?

When I first heard about this concept of fathers being open with their daughters and encouraging them to pursue sexual opportunities, given that it is consensual, I didn’t quite know how to react. I had always been a believer that the more protective your father was over you (i.e. see this list of daddy’s rules for dating that are uncomfortably humorous), the more he loved you. But now, after reading a father’s open letter to his daughter, explaining why he wants her to have, “fucking good sex”, I have to say, I kind of agree. I really believe there’s something to this concept of encouraging sex positive conversations between parents and children.

Ferrett Steinmetz, in his open letter to his daughter, had two points that stood out to me the most, and that I think are the most important to focus on so that we can get over the shock of a father acknowledging and encouraging her female sexuality. These points are:

  1. “Now, you’re going to get bruised by life, and sometimes bruised consensually. But I won’t tell you sex is bad, or that you’re bad for wanting it, or that other people are bad from wanting it from you if you’re willing to give it. I refuse to perpetuate, even through the plausible deniability of humor, the idea that the people my daughter is attracted to are my enemy.”

I love this point, and I think it’s quite a progressive thought that should be adopted into parenting more. If we begin to raise a generation of young adults who don’t view sex as a bad thing or forbidden fruit, but instead are given sexual education that involves the emotional aspect of it, then the way we view sex would shift into a more positive light, especially for women. We should be celebrating the idea of our children growing up and beginning to make choices on their own. Whether those choices are on a small scale or on a bigger scale like engaging in sexual activity, we have to be willing to trust that we have taught our children well enough to make the right choices most of the time, but also understand that no matter how well we think we teach them, they are destined to make mistakes, and that’s okay. It’s part of the learning curve and ultimately what helps everyone become the people they are.

  1. “Because consensual sex isn’t something that men take from you; it’s something you give. It doesn’t lessen you to give someone else pleasure. It doesn’t degrade you to have some of your own.”

Wow. This is such an empowering concept. To think about sex as not something that is taken, but rather something that is given, hopefully in love or lust or something in between. You’re not losing anything, rather just gaining a new insight on life, a new experience, another book on your figurative bookshelf of life. And like Orin J. Hahn says in his article, Thinking Beyond the Fear: Dealing with a Sexually Active Daughter, sex is important to talk about to relieve the “fear of recognizing and acknowledging female sexuality and the permission for them to own it.” This fear of acknowledging that females are sexual beings instead of sexual objects is a confusing concept that is sometimes uncomfortable. But we must work through the things that make us feel uncomfortable and vulnerable to get to a renewed place that is the birthplace of liberation and progression.

Fifty Shades of Confusion: Part One

I’m having a moment, and I don’t know how I feel about it. I just finished the first Fifty Shades of Grey book and prior to reading, I was excited for a novel that was provocative, steamy and unlike anything else I had ever read. However, as I began to read more and get into the parts involving BDSM (bondage/domination, sadism/masochism), my inner feminist came out and I began to question whether or not I should continue.

(For those of you who haven’t read it, you can read a summary here.)

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Fifty Shades the movie is set to release next year. 

On one hand I was pleasantly surprised by the relationship that Anastasia and Christian ended up developing. Prior to reading the book, I wasn’t sure what to expect, especially in that on many levels, the release and fame of this book began to change how people view sex. It made sex more mainstream: something women were talking more openly about instead of hiding. This is something I’m all for, and I love that this book began to make it socially acceptable for women to talk about sex. However, despite its record sales (the fastest selling book ever, even beating Harry Potter), according to Kirsten Acuna in her article titled By the Numbers: The Fifty Shades of Grey Phenomenonelectronic copies on kindle alone (not including iBooks) sold six times more than print books. This suggests that even though we are talking about reading it, there is still shame in carrying around a copy on the metro.

Not only that, but if you look at the demographic of people reading this book, it’s fascinating. Readers range from an unexpected 14% being over 55 to 20% being male, according to an analysis by Bowker Market Research. That same analysis shows that only 30% of readers are what the perceived demographic is: mommies who are looking to spice up their sex lives after having children.

So who are the rest of these readers?

What this information tells me is that we are looking to talk about it. We are looking to add excitement to our lives and escape into a world so unfamiliar to ourselves. This also tells me that everyone from myself at 18 years old to my grandmother who is well into her 70s is reading this book. And that’s something that doesn’t happen very often. But as Kristyna Bronner, a blogger, points out, “it seems to have captivated many women, which says a lot about who we are as a society”. E L James could have written this and had no success, but that isn’t the case. In fact, it’s the complete opposite.

So, why are we reading? Are we intrigued? Do we want an escape? Is it a form of porn that’s socially acceptable? If sex is everywhere, then why are readers sometimes shameful of their choice to see what the buzz is all about? Why are we so quick to accept that sex sells everything: from the Carls Jr. burgers to candy bars, but when we want to talk about actual sex and BDSM, our hand is smacked down and suddenly we are seen as the “dirty” ones? I mean, we listened to Rihanna’s song S&M with no problem, but now that it’s in written form, we have a issue with it. Why is that?

We’ll save that discussion for next time. Make sure to come back tomorrow to actually find out why I have a problem with Fifty Shades of Grey… or do I?