Prudes Are People, Too!

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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=636789225 Alycia Lourim

    you are not. ive been with one person and still friends tell me to just get over and that i need to just do it with someone i find “hot” and then that way i dont get hurt and could still have fun dating and get “some”. well if they knew me, they would know that hurts me more to do that with someone i didnt care bout then someone i did care about nd they hurt me later. im am such an emotional human being and i need to take care of myself and the best way is for me to not do that until i am ready for someone else again. among other things, i am loosing alot of friends due to the fact that i dont liek to go out to clubs and get so hammered i dont remember what happened. dont get me wrong i loveeee beer and i loveeee wine and if im with close friends i might get drunk but I WILL REMEMBER what happened. but truth be told, i hate going to bed drunk, i hate hangovers and i would rather get tipsy, drink it for the taste and be in a place where i can actually hear ppl talk, ill take a bar over a club any day. so no my love you arent alone. its tough out there, and frustrating for me on a regular basis. but ive come to love my weekend nights in (esp because i cant afford to go out financially anyways) and go out to coffee alot. but ive got your back, no judgement here. everyone should be able to do what they want or not what they want and no one should judge (unless its hurting someone). great article and i am beyond appreciative to see this considering my “friends” have been finding me less “interesting”

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=636789225 Alycia Lourim

      just read your “about” um you can nerd out with me on harry potter over tumblr. i spend my days/nights doing that too and my goodness it is the most glorious thing ever. be a gryffindor with me please :)

    • Becca Sands

      Your life is my life! I never really drank before I was 21, and even now, I have never thrown up, passed out, or forgotten what’s happened. I used to be teased for it, but while my friends were groaning about the hangovers, I was the one who was able to work the next day. No hangovers or pregnancy scares for us!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=636789225 Alycia Lourim

      well to be honest, i had a few bad drunk nights that made me realize this is not my idea of fun and i dont want to indulge like this ever again. so i def learned, on my opinion, some great lessons. but def agree with u there on the pregnancy scares. which was so nice. me and my bf didnt ever have to worry!

  • http://www.facebook.com/priscilla.a.castro Priscilla Castro

    I love this so much. Thank you.

    I guess the viewpoints depends from person to person, because my friends (new and old) are 100% supportive of me being a prude. They even say they wish they were me and waited longer! At first, I was ashamed of it, but I can also truly say that I’m now comfortable with being uncomfortable with my sexuality. It’s who I am, and I know I can appreciate IT a lot more with the right person if I wait longer.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=636789225 Alycia Lourim

      you will i promise! even if it doesnt work out in the future with that person all that matters is that when it happens in your heart you know its right and you trust that person. follow your heart girl!

    • Becca Sands

      Good for you, girl! I’m proud of you and all those women who stick to their convictions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AprilcMcLean April McLean

    Love this and proud of youuuu. <3 Love ya, girl!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=710470318 Sarah H

    I think many things women (and men) do is because of peer pressure. Lots of people don’t want to be the odd one out, but if you are not that person they want you to be, then stick to your guns. I have a similar situation with my friends and partying/clubbing. I’ve never been a big drinker and I don’t like going to clubs – they make me feel claustrophobic – yet some of my friends still try to get me to come out clubbing with them and get drunk. One would not believe that I have never been drunk ever in my life. I just do not get what the appeal of making an idiot of yourself and feeling like crap the next day is. But this girl always jokes about getting me drunk on my birthday and stuff like that, and it’s actually getting to the point where it’s not cool anymore because she doesn’t respect my choice. The funny thing is, I don’t tell her she shouldn’t go out and get drunk if she wants to, so why is it OK for her to judge me because I don’t want to?

    • Becca Sands

      Peer pressure definitely has something to do with it, and that breaks my heart. I don’t know if I just had a strong sense of self or if I wasn’t pressured as hard as others, but I somehow got through doing things my way (I have a feeling I just wasn’t pressured too hard). I hope that when I’m a teacher, I can find a way to show students that their choices, not their friends’ choices, make them who they are, and they don’t need to change to fit anyone’s criteria. <3

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeffreyrw1 Jeffrey Roy Worthington

    It isn’t any easier for a guy who doesn’t care about sex. When I was in my earily 20’s it was expected that I should be wanting it all the time. My friends, including women, just didn’ understand. I loved talking with women, even sharing physical contact. I just didn’t care for sex. And I was an atheist and socially liberal individual. It is very hard when you love physical contact but don’t care for sex. It is very confusing for many women.

    • Becca Sands

      Love this comment, Jeffrey. I imagine it might even be harder for men who fall into the “prude” lifestyle. Us chicks appreciate the respect, though!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1522398949 Holly Gilligan

    thankyou for writing this, just exactly what i needed to hear. i’ve always been strong in sticking to my choices but it can be difficult when friends especially don’t even seem to want to understand. (also clicked on your tumblr, saw em watson and hp love, followed immediately! never over it! )

    • Becca Sands

      When I first got to college, I got some funny looks and some of my new friends teased a little. I got firm and said, “this is my choice, and you have a problem with that, then we have a problem with each other,” and it was never an issue since. If it had been, I would have found new friends :/ Thanks so much for reading, I really appreciate it and the support!

  • http://www.facebook.com/MindsayMohan Mindsay Mohan

    Becca Sands- Serious Topic Writer. It’s great! Love it, and agree.

  • http://www.facebook.com/themarifoster Mari Fray Foster

    thank you thank you thank for writing this!

    • Becca Sands

      You’re welcome forever!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=720754614 Ann Elizabeth

    I’m so glad that you wrote this! Even on this site, I was starting to feel like it was just an accepted line of thinking that the choice to wait, or be selective, or do anything but say yes wasn’t ok. I would take it one step further and say that those who choose to be more reserved are, in fact, expressing themselves. We are saying something about what we believe about the world, other people and ourselves through our choices. And, while others may not agree, it doesn’t mean that our voice isn’t valuable or valid.

    • Becca Sands

      Thanks so much for reading, and I am SO glad you enjoyed it. I’m so sorry that you felt HG wouldn’t think these choices were ok! I’ve made some really great friends here with some of the writers, and they are the kindest, most supportive women I know. We all have different ways of living our lives, and I assure you, the other HG women (and men) support us when we make our own choices, no matter what they are :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/anna.dobben Anna Dobben

    That’s one of my favorite Annie quotes ever because it pretty much encompasses my views. Thank you for righting this article!!

    • Becca Sands

      I love that whole episode SO much, it made me feel so much less alone! So glad you loved it, too! <3

    • Becca Sands

      Also, I don’t know if you follow her on twitter, but Alison Brie read this article and supports us 100%, so hopefully, that helps!

  • http://www.facebook.com/robyn.mchugh Robyn McHugh

    This just might be one of my favorite posts on HelloGiggles that I’ve read so far. I am a prude and proud of it. It’s good to know we’re not alone, and that there are people out there who are thinking for themselves and staying true to their gut feelings when it comes to the things society tries to force on us. Bravo for writing this article, we need writers like you who aren’t afraid to write what they feel!

    • Becca Sands

      Thanks so much for that kind comment, I really appreciate it! We’re definitely not alone–great feeling, isn’t it? :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=65800494 Meredith Bagdazian

    This is a great post. I think the people who make fun of women like us are uncomfortable on some level with their choices and are seeking to validate them by making US uncomfortable with ours. That line from Community is the best!

    • Becca Sands

      I completely agree with you, Meredith. I think people can be embarrassed by their own choices so they knock on those who chose differently. I just want us all to get along!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=642614140 Meaghan Colleen

    Preach! Thank you for standing up for girls like us; it is about damn time!

    • Becca Sands

      HELL YEAH!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=551275516 Simoné Jalon

    <3

    • Becca Sands

      <333333333333!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=868805084 Jodi Styner

    I wish I had read this when I was in high school. I just lied to my friends and told them I’d had sex because that was easier than telling them I hadn’t. Then I set a date that I arbitrarily decided would be the least embarrassing date to still be a virgin (even though no one knew I was anyway) and I stuck to that date. It’s a shame I thought that was necessary. Awesome post :)

    • Becca Sands

      Jodi girl, that breaks my heart. You still turned out pretty good though, so at least there’s that. <3 Love you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/MaryJoe28 MJ Rojas

    this is amazing girl!! Thank you for for taking a chance out of your comfort zone and posting this!!! ♥

  • http://www.facebook.com/shandra Shandra Goldfinger

    Great post! We need to support any decision that makes a person happy and doesn’t harm others. I agree that the idea of sexual freedom for women has made the public too judgement of those who feel they have the freedom to wait. It’s like when someone decides to be a stay-at-home mom other women will judge her. Feminism is all about CHOICE! Let’s embrace the fact that we are free to make choices that fit our desires and personalities, whatever they may be.

    • Becca Sands

      I COMPLETELY agree! I’m a teacher who also wants to stay at home with her future kids someday, and I feel looked down upon for that decision. But it’s MY decision–no one has forced me to feel like it’s what I “must do,” it’s what I WANT to do! I feel like somewhere along the line, choice was forgotten in the equation with some feminists. Let’s hope that soon, all women can support all women!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kristen.dupre Kristen Dupré

    This was one of the most wonderful reads here on HG. I loved it and completely agree with everything stated. I was a virgin when I got married and had 4 beautiful boys, then things that were completely out of my control (I will have to write an article about it for HG) now I am back to single status, not widowed, single, raising 4 boys on my own. Now I’m in the point in my life that it’s like “What man will want to be with a woman with 4 boys and plus won’t put out?” Deep down I know there is a man like that out there and one that would wait till I was ready and sure. Just these little doubts can fill our head, like the saying “Use it or lose it” Well I say for me and all the lovely ladies out there who have made this choice, save it and it’ll be amazing because it means that much to you. Loved this post.

    • Becca Sands

      Thanks so much, Kristen, and definitely write something, especially if you think it’ll help you work out some feelings (that’s why I wrote this one!). I’d love to read it! <3

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=691031779 Mandy March

    Thank you so much for this article. I too have often felt out-of-place, teased, and pressured because I’m uncomfortable with my sexuality and because I choose to wait. Not for religious reasons, but for me. It’s my choice, and I’m happy with it. Glad to know there others out there just like me. Thanks again!

    • Becca Sands

      You got it, Mandy! We have to stick together!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000042598550 Leslie Polish

    thank you for this article. as someone who has made personal choices similar to those you discuss above, i’ve been having a hard time being at college. It seems no one else understands my decisions. As long as they don’t pressure me, then I still love my friends. They have been so supportive.

    • Becca Sands

      Hang in there, Leslie. The thing is there is so many more of us than you’ll ever know. There’s a fantastic article on HelloGiggles called “The 23-Year-Old Virgin” (http://hellogiggles.com/the-23-year-old-virgin) and I really suggest you read the article AND the comments. I really think it will help you out. Never let ANYONE tell you that you need to change your priorities to fit their criteria. If they can’t accept you, then to quote another fabulous line from Community, that’s them failing YOUR standards! Find people who will support you–there are plenty of us out there!

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