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Posts Tagged ‘abstinence’


For a long time, dating was kind of the center of my life. I always had someone I was interested in, usually someone I was emotionally invested in to some degree, but I haven’t even gotten laid in close to six months. This is an all-time record for me. Honestly? I had never counted more than a couple weeks between hump days since losing my virginity. Between December 2009 and February 2011, I started and ended four separate relationship with people I cared deeply for. And actually, as I begin to type this, the reasons for my not getting any should become more and more glaringly obvious–dating was the center of my life. And I needed to fix that, fast.

I’d like to think that this is a realization most people will come to at some point or another. Forgive me as I go on something that will undoubtedly sound completely jaded, like it’s being written by someone who has been single for way too long (which it probably is): I see a lot of people, regardless of age, who have their lives built around and subsequently destroyed by a constant goal of receiving romantic attention. When things are good, they’re great, but when the going gets tough, well, the world is over. And I get it. I’ve been that person before and I can’t say I won’t be that person again. But, I can’t help but feel that it gets a little frustrating to see people I care about get hurt over and over again for the same reasons (often by the same people). And, again: I get it. I’ve been that person before. But honestly, I hope a lot of people get their wake up calls before I did, because it took a lot of time wasted for me to reach the six-month mark–and to be quite honest, I have never felt more fulfilled, confident, and less alone ever before in my life. How the fuck does that work?

Step 1: I stopped putting up with bullshit. Easier said than done, right? And, well, this isn’t a fool-proof rule, either. Sometimes it’s hard to tell when to draw the line, whether it’s a long-term partner or a friend bearing benefits. No one is perfect. However, I did come across this quote from The Crunk Feminist Collective recently which I will probably reference from here on out in life as my words to live by when it comes to dealing with lover’s haterade:

‎”Patriarchy conditions men to use emotional extortion and passive aggressive behaviors –saying hurtful things and then claiming them as innocuous opinions … then accusing the woman of picking fights or being emotional; demanding your silence in the face of offensive behaviors in exchange for love and affection–as a way to gain control over women who intimidate them.”

Okay now, this quote in context relates to a much more complex issue of WOC with educations dealing with egos, but I think that a lot of people–regardless of gender, race, or education–can relate to the above sentiments. You know when someone gets mad at you, even though they’re only mad as a reaction to your emotions and their anger serves as a means to manipulate you in place of a legitimate apology? Yeah, that’s what I’m getting at. That’s some Bullshit with a capital B.

Step 2: I claimed my body as my own. This is probably usually where the Pop Psychology blogger will start talking about the glories of masturbation, physical exercise, and getting in touch with some sort of spiritual obligation that involves meditation and consuming copious amounts of tea. I’m not knocking any of those practices, but my approach was a little more straight forward–I got over the pressure to have sex, and I stopped measuring my worth by how recently a dick had been inside me.

I think this is something that a lot of people–especially those around my age–struggle with. Sex is everywhere, and when we’re not seeing it on TV or in magazines, we’re listening to our friends disclose their recent erotic adventures. Even in the feminist community, there is so much going around about being sex positive and not letting anyone judge you for making your own choices that it’s easy to forget that you can choose to be choosey. It’s not about who you should and shouldn’t sleep with or how often–it’s about what feels right, acceptable, and deserved.

Step 3: I got over my fear of rejection… that is, rejecting other people. This goes into Step 2 to some degree. Sometimes it’s easier to be compliant and say “yes.” Avoiding confrontation is often the easier option, especially if it’s someone with whom you already have a sexual history. And I’m not going to lie, denying romantic attention to those who wanted it in the past couple months has often led to some really uncomfortable situations. But here’s something that sounds simple yet is easy to forget: You are never obligated to sleep with anyone, or go on a date, or indulge someone’s flirtations. You have the right to call them out on causing your own discomfort. And even if it’s not a matter of feeling uncomfortable or objectified, if it’s just a matter of it not being the right time/place/person, you are entitled to your feelings moreso than the other person is entitled to your compliance.

Step 4: I learned how to be patient. This is probably the most important thing. It’s not that I want to be single, or think love is a waste of time, or don’t enjoy dating. Based on my previously stated history, it should be pretty obvious that I find all of these things to be important in my life. However, especially after going through so many serially-monogamous relationships, I’ve come to accept that holding out for someone who fits my standards is going to have a way bigger pay off.

I have found myself seriously crushing on a couple people during my sex drought. But even when I knew the attraction was mutual, I’ve come to recognize that you can’t really fall in love with someone if you don’t know them all that well. And often times, taking the time to get to know some of these objects of affection has proved that they weren’t right for me or had different expectations. If someone isn’t willing to meet you in the middle and make some effort before jumping the gun into sexual or romantic territory, chances are it isn’t going to be worth it.

It’s not that I’m not totally awesome and have a body I love and kick ass at everything I attempt and couldn’t get it in every night of the week from someone totally delicious and equally as badass if I wanted. I just got over that and decided that I had done enough of rushing into things before feeling out the situation enough and getting totally burned (or doing the burning) because of it.

Instead, I remembered how the best relationships I ever had happened when I least expected it or, more accurately, felt that I needed it. RuPaul’s twist on the old cliche rings very true: “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?” What’s more, the most important thing to remember is that this expression goes both ways–and unfortunately, not too many people are often in a place in their life where they are willing to love as freely as they can.

In the end, remember when enough is enough, when it’s time to say no, and that no matter how much you want it, you have to prioritize your own needs, boundaries, and standards if you want to find happiness. That way, it won’t matter if you’re alone or not–you’ll have your own happiness to keep you satisfied.

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We live in a culture that revolves around male sexuality; female sexuality is rather unstudied and warped by male view points. Young women are seen as attractive and passive, while older women are often associated with the “cougar” stereotype. Women who have sex too much are promiscuous and are contributing to the spread of disease, abortion, and the cultural demise of the “family.” Men are more likely to remain bachelors and sleep around; women need to marry because they depend on a man for income. Dr. Laura Berman has come forth from her own research into female sexuality to dispell four common misconceptions about sex & relationships:

1. A woman’s sexual performance peaks in her forties, while a man’s peaks in his teens.

Myth. While Planned Parenthood says that the sexual prime for males is around age 17, and that females’ sexual prime is around age 30, these ages actually reflect the genital prime, when sex hormones (testosterone in men; estrogen in women) are highest. But in general, both men’s and women’s sexual performance will peak when they feel most comfortable with themselves and their sexuality. Though this tends to happen between 40 and 60 for both men and women, it can really happen at any age, depending on the person!

2. Having sex more often can help boost your immune system and prevent illness.

Truth! Researchers at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., found that sex may help strengthen the immune system. According to their study, couples who had sex once or twice a week as compared to couples who had sex less than once a week had 29 percent higher levels of immunoglobulin A, an immune system protein that protects the mouth and upper respiratory tract against cold and flu viruses. Just another reason to get busy with your honey as often as you can!

3. Older people have less sex and/or less enjoyable sex.

Myth. According to a recent study of 27,000 people conducted across 29 countries, the majority of men and women studied had active sex lives past the age of 40 and well into their ‘eighties’! Couples in Western Europe who shared greater equality were more likely to enjoy their sex lives than couples in more male-oriented societies, such as those found in Asia and the Middle East.

4. Most American women who are 45 and over are married.

Myth. About 25 million of the 57 million American women who are 45 and older are not married, according to a recent study by the AARP. The study’s authors suggest that this may be because American women marry later, have high divorce rates, and tend to outlive their mates.

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I’m sure many of you are familiar with Candie’s, the shoe brand notorious for sexualizing teens in their controversial ad campaigns, the most recent being a campaign featuring Britney Spears juxtaposed with the concept of her being a role model for girls all across the country. I would have little objection to yet another celebrity getting paid to further confuse the body images of girls at least ten years her junior if it weren’t for The Candie’s Foundation, which was formed to promote teen abstinence, their prize-winning slogan being “I’m sexy enough to keep you waiting.” Essentially, a teenage girl should continue to use sex to prove her self-worth, but abstain from sex until marriage when they can go on to have lots of babies and fulfill their purpose as a slave to the uterus.

Ironically, it was Britney Spears who faced a minor career sabotage as a role model for teen girls just a few years ago when she admitted to giving her virginity to Justin Timberlake outside of wedlock, after promising to wait until marriage–just as the Candie’s Foundation begs teen girls to do. The Candie’s Foundation Website is designed to get important information to both teens and parents about the facts of premarital sex, but these “facts” are rather questionable; they are percentages of teenagers who share an opinion rather than concrete statistics regarding issues such as teen pregnancy and STI’s. Nowhere does it suggest using condoms to correct the problem of unplanned pregnancy/spreading of STI’s, which may be useful information for teenagers who are already sexually active, or those who plan to have safe sex one day.

Examine the numbers from the Kaiser Family Foundation to see just how much worth abstinence-promoting campaigns such as Candie’s contribute to keeping teens out of the bedroom. Between 1993-2003, the percentage of sexually active teens decreased from 53% to 43%. However, the likelihood that a teen will engage has increased in correlation with age: in 2003, 62% of high school seniors had engaged in sex, in comparison to only 33% of ninth graders. The majority of students still lose their v-cards in high school. In addition, although students chose to abstain from intercourse, engaging in oral/anal sex has been on the rise, and abstinence only programs–such as the Candie’s Foundation–turn a blind eye to other sex acts, focusing only on preventing pregnancy outside of wedlock. At the same time, abstinence only programs seem to have had little effect on Latin American and Black communities, which have the highest rates of teen pregnancy. (Is it a coincidence that the Candie’s Foundation website has virtually no depictions of anyone other than white?)

The most startling statistics from the KFF have not to do with teen girls–who are so inaptly singled out in the Candie’s Foundation Campaign as being those solely responsible for maintaining virgin purity–but with teen boys. Males are, on the whole, more likely to have sex in high school–and at a younger age–than their female counter parts. Yet they are rarely the target of abstinence only campaigns; the responsibility of chastity is placed upon girls, who are taught starting from a young age that they are inherently more valuable to life-long partners as a virgin than if they are not. Meanwhile, girls who do choose to have sex are looking towards older partners; a quarter of girls lost it to guys who were at least four years older. Girls are also much more likely not to use protection the first time they have sex. Reasons for this? Perhaps the perpetuation that the person they have sex with should be their life long partner–someone in their 20s or older is more likely to be ready to settle down and can provide better for a young girl, although most men that age are not interested in making babies with a baby. What’s the point of preventing pregnancy with someone with whom you plan on having children? What’s the point of preventing the transmission of STI’s that you’ve never been educated about?

We could be investing time and money into programs that tell 20 year olds not to commit statutory rape, or programs that teach kids what truly constitutes a healthy, long-lasting relationship. We could be turning our attention to the prevention of spreading STI’s and preventing teen pregnancy across the class/race board. But instead, Candie’s exemplifies what many would rather do–use sex to sell abstinence, and to keep women virginal and pure objects for the morally perverted.

Teens have sex. You can’t stop it. Telling an adolescent not to do anything is pretty much counter-productive to the cause. Worse of all, promoting abstinence clings on to gender expectations as outdated as the role of women as put forth in the Old Testament. Instead of perpetuating images that turn young girls into soulless bodies with the purpose of looking good for boys, how about we try to produce thoughtful, opinionated, well-educated young women responsible enough to call their own shots about their personal health.

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