It is so difficult to find a balance. We find it more comfortable to swing from one extreme to the other. Life exists in Black or White, grey areas are non existent.
This problem of finding a balance is prevalent in a variety of issues, but recently I have noticed this more in the issue of female sexuality, particularly on social media. As we all know, women have been policed when it comes to our sexuality. We are supposed to be chaste, modest, virtuous and all that good stuff. A woman who freely indulges her desires a branded a harlot, even though these feelings are completely natural. On the other hand, men are supposed to be virile, to stomp around with their heavy loins; bedding everyone they see and slinging their seed across the earth. It is therefore understandable that a part of feminism is dedicated towards promoting female sexuality and spreading the message that a woman is not defined by her chastity or lack thereof.
From where I am sitting, I have seen a rise in the number of women who are comfortable speaking about their sex lives and who are unashamed to indulge as they please. While some of it may be too much (nobody asked you girl!), ultimately it is nice that women are beginning to break out of the role of the innocent little virgin tulip.
At the same time, I have noticed a rise in the criticism of women who are not comfortable speaking about their sex lives, and who may choose to not even have a sex life. Now this is what baffles me.
Sexual liberation is not just about having casual sex or “living like a man”. Sexual liberation is having the choice to do whatever you so please with your body, and this includes choosing not to do anything with it. Celibacy and abstinence are forms of sexual liberation too. So many women around the world do not have the right to choose to be abstinent or not. A woman who can choose to be abstinent is as liberated as a women who chooses not to be. I use choose to signify that the decision is of the woman’s volition and not forced upon her by dogma or fear. In our fight for sexual liberation, let’s not create another set of problems by causing division and alienating groups of women.
Can we not say “This girl likes to have sex, this girl is waiting till she is married. Both are good women in control of their bodies”? Must there be two opposing camps: on one side the sex positives who roll their eyes whenever abstinence is mentioned, and who feel personally insulted by another woman’s decision to be chaste. On the other hand, the sex negatives: who shake their heads at so called “hoes” and hit them with the dreaded “she’ll never find a husband” Dun Dun Dunnnnnnnnnnn.
Just like sex, I think the decision to be abstinent is a personal thing and for the most part should be kept private. But I feel that the reaction to a woman talking about being abstinent is much harsher than the reaction to a woman talking about casual sex. Every time a person talks about their decision to be abstinent, there is always the obligatory “We are not judging anyone who doesn’t share our views” included. Why does this disclaimer have to preface every discussion about abstinence?
These days, saying something along the lines of: “I am waiting till I am married because I want to share my body with a special person” will result in an attack. Somehow, this will be interpreted as “I am better than you whores who have sex and who will probably never find a husband.” Some people will go as far as to curse the marriage and say that the future husband would end up cheating. A woman cannot even say that she is waiting till marriage without being assailed with questions such as “What if he can’t get it up?” “What if you too are not sexually compatible?” “What if he has two penises and no balls?”Damn, leave her alone. These are valid questions, but to what end? Are these questions being asked out of genuine concern for the girl’s future sex life? Are they asked to scare the girl into abandoning her pledge? Are they being asked out of curiosity and fascination?
Recently , a female musician gave an interview where she said that at one point in her life, she was abstinent for three years. I was so confused to see her get attacked for this; people were sarcastically offering her cookies and saying she feels she’s better than everyone else. HOW? How can you be so offended by such? Why so defensive???? If a woman talking about her abstinence annoys you so much, then something must be wrong with you. Perhaps you are not happy about the decisions you have made and therefore seek validation from others. Validation which cannot be gotten from a statement about abstinence, leading you to feel judged and subsequently becoming unnecessarily defensive.
To be fair, the defensiveness is sometimes justified. Women are criticised for so much that it is easy to see offence where there isn’t any, because it very well could have been meant to offend. Still, everything does not call for a full missile attack. Temper your outrage when necessary.
In the same vein, I hate when say, a former stripper gets engaged and everyone starts to go on about how “hoes be winning”. Then the chaste girls are thrown into confusion because women like that are not supposed to get married, marriage being a woman’s highest calling of course. I have seen a tweet saying “what is the point of being good when women like that get married all the time.” Huh? First of all, that a woman was a stripper does not mean that she does not deserve love and happiness. Secondly, a lot of these ex strippers go on to marry rappers who are not the epitome of morality. We go on and on about how hoes be winning, as though the men are innocent, chaste men. The rappers have probably done worse things than the strippers have, but all the attention is on this woman who has been saved from her hoeism by an even more hoeish man. Finally, if the only reason you are a good girl is to get a husband , then honey I don’t know what to say to you. Be good because that is what feels right to you, not because you expect to be rewarded for it.
Please do not talk about the 101 tricks you can do with your tongue, and then go ahead to attack a woman and accuse her of slut shaming because she would rather reserve these tricks for her beloved. Don’t attack a woman for talking about the 101 tricks she can do with her tongue, just because you would rather reserve them for your beloved.
Own your decisions and be comfortable with them. Realise that everyone will not agree with your actions or see things the same way you do. This is no reason to be upset, just live your life and let others live theirs too.
Three hearty cheers to sexual liberation!
Fun fact: Although celibacy and abstinence are used interchangeably, they do not mean the same thing. Celibacy is the state of being unmarried and vowing not to engage in sexual activities. Abstinence is simply refraining from sex for a while. Nuns are celibate; Ciara and Russell are abstinent.