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.