Prudes Are People, Too!Becca Sands

A friend of mine recently asked me for some advice. This bright lady, a few years younger than me, had been on a trip where she realized just how different she was from her female friends; namely, how they were very sexual and she was very not. She came to me for advice because all through college, I went through the same thing. And boy, do I have a lot to say on the matter. This feels a bit awkward to write about considering my parents, aunts, uncles, friends, professors and more read what I have to say here, but I believe this needs to be said, and if it means awkward pauses at Christmas dinner, then so be it.

In the last few years there’s been a push to accept a woman’s choice to be “sexually free” and I’m all for it. I don’t think there’s any reason to shame anyone for their choices. The problem is that while we are meant to accept a woman’s choice to be sexual, it’s leaving those who choose to be non-sexual out in the cold. In fact, it’s leaving us to be the butt of jokes and feeling ashamed.

Choosing to wait is a choice and it is one that is just as deserving of respect as the one that is so revered nowadays. It doesn’t mean a woman is uncomfortable with her sexuality, it doesn’t make her a religious nut, it doesn’t make her anything except a woman who has made a choice. That’s it. That all you can deduce from it.

For the longest time, I felt like I was completely alone in this choice and that no one would ever understand. Friends encouraged me to “just go for it” and (thankfully) I stuck to my guns. Worse, I felt like the media completely overlooked us women and was quick to write us off as boring prudes. Luckily, one of my favorite comedy shows, Community, brought up this very topic. I cheered when the follow exchange took place during episode 1×11, Politics of Human Sexuality:

School Counselor: I want to focus on the girl who won’t say “penis”. This is a judgment free zone, so express yourself.

Annie Edison: You know what? I don’t want to express myself. I don’t want to sit in a room full of people and say the “p” word. I like being repressed. I am totally comfortable being uncomfortable about my sexuality. And maybe, just maybe, if everyone were a bit more like me, we wouldn’t have to have an STD fair!

Finally, finally, I felt like my thought process was represented in entertainment. Of course Annie is still teased for being a prude and that’s okay because it makes the show realistic. That’s what happens to the girls who make those choices.

(I wonder if my dad’s eyes are burning yet?)

Making the choice to refrain from activities in which others participate–sex, drugs, drinking, et cetra–is a choice that has somehow become shameful, and I don’t get it. How can you say we need to make it okay for women to express themselves sexually and then turn the tables and hate on those who don’t?

Here’s what it comes down to: if a man pushes a woman into considering sex, it’s wrong, but if a woman does it, she’s “helping”. NO. You don’t have to be a male to harass a woman about her sexual choices.  Women can harass women, men can harass men, women can harass men, and it all needs to stop. We have to start supporting each other, no matter our choices. You cannot defend one and not the other. You cannot say one is right and the other is wrong. You cannot pretend to understand why a woman makes the choices she does. You cannot begin to know her whole story.

I told my friend that she was fine. She needs to make her own choices and if they’re different choices from her friends’, that’s okay, as long as they support her. And if they tease and mock and push her again, she can say, “Would it be okay for you to say that if you were a guy?” and maybe they’d re-evaluate. Or maybe not. I don’t know. I just wish all the experimental and the prudes could come together and sing Girl Scout songs or some crap, you know?

I know this isn’t a funny article. I know it’s a bit serious than anything else I’ve written, and for that, I’m sorry (or not sorry, if you don’t find me all that funny, making this a welcome change of pace). I guess I wrote it because I need to know that I’m not alone in thinking this, and that it’s not as bad as my paranoid brain has made it out to be. I just need to know that this poor girl, and others like her, will find support with their choices.

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  1. Sex with people that you don’t love is fun, physically. About the same amount of fun as, like, a bubble bath or eating a great pizza. So, sometimes I’d have sex because it felt nice. But, for better or worse, sex comes with a lot more baggage than a bubble bath. I can completely understand and support a woman’s decision to go either way on that type of sex…it’s akin to thinking “wow, this bubble bath would feel great, but I totally don’t feel like having to clean the tub out afterwards.” Simple as that.
    But sex with someone you really love? That’s like touching the universe. Two totally different ball games. All of this is to say that missing out on having meaningless sex with random dudes is not missing out on much, especially compared to what you got going on now.

  2. I LOVED this article, actually, I wrote on the same subject in my blog, it’s in spanish though (http://nificcionnirealidad.wordpress.com/2011/10/08/libertades-no-tan-libres/)! I believe chosing to wait doesn’t mean that we are uncomfortable with our sexuality or are not ‘liberated’, sometimes it means quite the opposite! I think being forced into sex by social pressures of any kind isn’t free at all. Freedom means making mature, responsible and conscious choices, let’s hope that in the future the real liberation takes place, where everyone respects everyones chocies and people’s sexuality isn’t an issue of public discussion.

  3. I thoroughly agree with this article! And not just for women; I agree with it as a guy. No, guys I know, I do not want to drink, get high, and have sex with every pretty girl I meet. That’s not my idea of a good time.

  4. Yes, thank you so much for this! It totally made my night –er– early morning. :-D It’s so incredibly gratifying to know that I’m not the only prude out there. I’m 26 and I’m still waiting, and I plan to continue on doing so until I’m 100% ready. I’ve been teased about it a lot, I’ve had men see my abstinence as a challenge to be won, and I’ve been left with the feeling that something must be wrong with me. Thank you for affirming that being a prude is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s MY life, not anyone else’s.

  5. I can’t tell if you’re talking about prudes or people who identify as asexual? I call my sister a prude because if you tried to ask her about her sex life, she’d go bright red and tell you to mind your own business (which you totally should, of course). But she is comfortable in her sexuality and likes it and everything. She just doesn’t advertise it, at all. Even now she’s married we all pretend with her that she doesn’t do it! There are other people who aren’t prudes necessarily but just keen to wait until they meet the right person and it takes them a bit longer than usual for that to happen – they might still make the dirtiest jokes in the pub though :) But people who just aren’t interested in sex are different to me – that’s what I mean by asexual. Some of the comments here seem a bit confused about which camp they fall into. All camps are ok though and I agree – empowering people to be comfortable in their sexuality should allow for enough flexibility that no one need feel ashamed of themselves!

  6. Fantastic article. Waiting for sex to be right is not shameful or embarrassing in any sense and I think shows incredible strength of character.

  7. Thank you for this!!!

  8. I think it completely depends on the friends you have. I have two best friends and we three are as close as possible. One of us lost her virginity at 14 (I KNOW!), I lost it at 20, and the other one just recently lost it at 23 and I can assure you, we NEVER EVER pressured her. We applauded the fact that she waited until she was 100% sure and we are so happy that she will forever have this great memory of her first time. There is NOTHING wrong with waiting. I have a great memory of my first time, but I assure you, if I wasnt sure, I never would have gone through with it. You want that to be a great, special memory, and its not worth going through it just because of peer pressure.

  9. YES girl! Yes. In general, since when do people find everyone else’s sexuality so important? There’s something to be said for allowing everyone to be individuals without so much judgment.

  10. That awkward moment when your sister makes her first comment on any of your HG articles on THIS post. It’s a GOOD post and you should FEEL good, make no mistake! I just want to point out, too, that just because someone ISN’T a prude (like me, say), that doesn’t mean that just because they talk the talk, they then MUST walk the walk. Do you know what I am saying? It just goes along with what you’ve got here about choices and not being a judgmental badgerface and all. I will talk about sex and say penis and admit my mind’s in the gutter quite easily, but I’m not “easy”, yanno? Prudishness and deciding to wait for the right time do not always go hand in hand, and it’s important for folks (guys and girls alike) not to assume that they do. Glad you got people to feel comfortable with themselves, baby sis!

  11. Great post! I completely agree. People need to start accepting choices that others make, and stop ridiculing them.

  12. Great post! My sister always calls me prude, just teasingly, but compared to other girls my age I probably do seem it! I don’t think anyone should be pushed into something they’re not comfortable with.

  13. I’M SO HAPPY THERE ARE SO MANY PRUDES ON HERE! YAY FOR US!
    I’ve been with one person for nearly four years now and it took us a longgg time before anything happened. I don’t know, I think it almost means more that way and I honestly am happy that I’m so picky about who is touching me, because sex and other physical stuff is personal, you know? I’m happy there are others like me :) Also, in the end, I knew I had a keeper when my boyfriend was not only willing to but happy to wait for when I was comfortable.

  14. Thank you! Seriously…..this needs to be said.

  15. I just want to thank you so much for this <3 I often feel alone in my choices as I was growing up & still at times now, specially this type, as well as partying, "going out" etc…. I was never the "typical" teenager & still not "typical" young adult. It gets to moments though wishing you could be whatever normal is & comfortable & secure with certain things. I know it shouldn't matter what others think, and if they don't understand or respect our choices or why we are the way we are. I think looking back over the years…it's a reflection of me not being comfortable with something and then that intuition of being paranoid at the outcome..so therefore never gave in to certain things. So again thank you :) & I love this website so much.

  16. Becca, I want to give you a massive hug for writing this article. It’s everything I’ve been needing to hear lately and I love knowing that I’m not alone. Thank you thank you thank :)

  17. Yes. Just, yes.

  18. Becca, that was awesome. You are so brave to put that out there and support your friend. I especially like your point about respecting each other’s choices, that’s really what it’s all about, right?

    • Thanks so much, Jessica! I will admit, I was nervous to post this, but I’m so happy with the response, it means the world to not only me, but all the girls who really needed this support. You are all amazing!

      Becca Sands | 11/11/2011 05:11 pm
  19. definitely hufflepuff!

    • LOL Ian! Pottermore actually says I’m a Ravenclaw (whaaaat!) but I still think I’m more Hufflepuff than anything. :)

      Becca Sands | 11/11/2011 05:11 pm
  20. Is it really necessary to use a 487kb GIF as a header?