Women are not sluts, so stop saying so. Even if a woman sleeps around, she’s not a slut. I’d like to ban this word to the “racial slur” list and wish no one would ever say it again. Through the years, I’ve been guilty of calling my fellow woman such things, and now I regret it. If women are sleeping around, most are doing it for one reason: to find love, companionship and acceptance. And generally, the reason women are so hard seeking this acceptance is due to a man that’s done them wrong in the past. And in my experience, more often than not, it’s the lack of a good father figure role model growing up. As a child who had a very involved father (father of five girls, thank you very much), I didn’t give my dad the respect he deserved for being so patient, understanding, and empowering. Yes, empowering. In a house of six women (don’t forget my mom!), Dad had no choice but to help my mom raise us to be intelligent, independent, compassionate, stubborn ladies. In fact, not too many years ago my mom said as we grew up, she and Dad specifically had a conversation saying their goal with us was to raise us to be independent. They felt this was the one thing, as parents, they needed to instill in us. And the way to make a child feel independent? Help her understand she’s capable, intelligent, and worthy of everything in the world. And nothing can get in her way of achieving, if she’s simply willing to work for it.
Now, all of that’s an aside. MY back story. Regardless of whether anyone’s ever called me a slut (it’s never happened, to my face anyway, but I have been called a tease), I don’t think any woman should be called a slut. Or a tease. Or anything else derogatory based on decisions she’s making. Especially sexual. Whose business is it, anyway? And instead of throwing around slurs, why not try to understand WHY people are making decisions they’re making, sexual or otherwise. But that would be too easy, right? Especially for these inside-the-box, pretend-conservative, fake-happy/perfect politicians and political spokespeople. Mostly men. Yes, men are the ones who throw these words around. When we give them what they want, we’re sluts. When we don’t, we’re teases. There’s no perfect medium until they marry us. And let me tell you, most of the time you have to be the “slut” to be in contention for marriage. If you’re a “tease,” guys generally move on. Then they pretend we’re perfect. Hey, we never are. And by the way, it doesn’t insult me anymore when guys attempt to manipulate me by calling me a tease. It’s a tell. I know they’re manipulators, and I’m not interested. Women should see the same in men who call a woman a slut. But, sadly, we don’t. Much like overweight people think they deserve ridicule for being overweight, women think they deserve these labels.
That being said, nothing irritates me more than men trying to tell women how to make their reproductive decisions when it comes to being a slut or tease or somewhere in between. Let me give you a brief history. Some of these judgmental guys are old enough to have lived the sexual revolution, when birth control became popular. I believe it was in a similar time that abortion was legalized. The reason women take birth control is because we are taking responsibility for our bodies. Let’s be straight, very few people wait until they’re married to have sex. If you care about someone, you’re going to want to get close to them in every way. Sex is part of that. I’m not promoting promiscuity, especially for teenagers, when, in my opinion and from my personal experience we are way too young to know the emotional implications we’re about to face. But when you become an adult, especially in college and beyond, you’re going to be in situations where you’re having sex. Sometimes it’s with a committed guy. Or in many cases, a guy you believe is committed. Other times it may openly be non-exclusive. Often times we ladies will have sex in that interim stage because it’s expected. And let me tell you from personal, repeated, almost un-exceptioned experience, very, very, very few men will commit in that interim stage. That’s when I’ve learned to let them go. And I also spend 99% of my time unattached, without a sexual partner. Why? Because why would a guy commit to me before he really knows me? And a guy won’t know me until he’s been with me for a while. And no guy sticks around for that length of time without getting some play because he can find a hundred other women willing to have sex. Do I judge them? No. I honestly, and without ego, believe many women need a guy more than I do. For me, the cost of sleeping with a guy in the hopes he’ll commit to me is too high. STDs are rampant. Sex is emotional. And I have a hard time being that intimate with someone until I truly care about him.
But let me tell you something else. If I ever find a guy where my timeline to get to know him is in line with the timeline a great guy is willing to wait for me to get to know him before he bails for sexier pastures, I will very likely be having sex before I get married. And when I do, I will be using birth control. And condoms. I do not believe in rushing into marriage just to have sex. I have seen too many divorces and too many unhappy marriages to know that there’s a long process of getting to know someone. And the older we get and the more we have going on in our lives, the longer it takes to get to know someone. This isn’t college, where there are hours and days of free time, and where there’s little to no baggage. Most people have several failed relationships under their belts, many with children or ex-wives to complicate the relationship. Many people have debt and drug and alcohol abuse problems they’re able to hide. Many, many men are manipulative and abusive – whether verbal, emotional or physical, it’s all abuse. It’s hard to find the right match when it comes to whether you want a family, how you’ll raise that family, how you’ll spend money, where you want to live, whether you’ll go to church, and if so, which religion. And in the process of figuring all of this out, there’s also sexual compatibility. I’m not saying you must have sex to have a successful courtship. But I will say when you really care about someone, that’s a natural extension of the relationship.
And amidst all of this, whether you’re exclusive or not, there’s contraception. Whether it’s defined or not, it has to be considered. There are many options, and one of the easiest for women to use is birth control. And it’s becoming more accessible and more affordable. And it’s finally one of those things that’s not taboo. At least it hasn’t been. Many women will pull out their birth control among friends when it’s time to take it. Mutual respect is given, realizing it’s important to take it on time. And there’s nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s more common now to shameful to be having sex and NOT be on the pill. Some say it’s a sin to have sex before marriage and the pill is another sin compounded on top of that. I personally don’t subscribe to sex being a sin. Is it a “sin” to disrespect yourself? In my opinion, yes. So for me, it’s against what I believe in (and that’s how I define a sin) to disrespect who I am. For me, having sex with a guy I don’t care about goes against what I believe in. For me, jumping into sex just to keep a manipulative guy around goes against what I believe in. For me, being responsible and taking birth control when I’m in a committed relationship with a guy I love and am having sex with is not a sin. And I know many will disagree with me. However, what WOULD be a sin for me would be to be in that same relationship and NOT be responsible by taking birth control. It would not be fair to bring a child into a relationship when I’m not ready, and more specifically the relationship isn’t ready for a child. It doesn’t compound a problem. And sure, reproduction is a byproduct of sex, sometimes. But if it’s the only reason to have sex, then are these married couples ONLY having sex when the woman is ovulating? Nope. They, instead, are avoiding sex during ovulation if they’re trying not to conceive. And I also have no problem with that. That is THEIR LIFE, THEIR CHOICE. Just like my choice is birth control. And I don’t need another couple, a politician, or a church (run by men) telling me what I can and can’t do with my body. It’s MY body! And it would be MY baby, if I got pregnant. Nothing infuriates me more than men telling a woman what to do with her body.
And let me go one further. We women have to take control of our bodies because we’re equipped with hormones that attach us to our baby. Men, apparently, do not have any such attachment. They can easily walk away from their child, assuming if the woman fights for it, they MIGHT pay child support. Because all a child needs is money, right? (Note: See the first paragraph to prove a child needs a father, not just his money. See LOTS of other research on both boys and girls needing a father.) Even in a relationship, and he knows she’s not using birth control, if she gets pregnant, it’s commonly the woman’s fault. Blame is placed on her. And received pretty openly by her. Probably because society expects us to take the blame. And the baby is inside of us. And we allowed the penis inside of us. Somehow we take the blame for that, and for lots of other things we probably shouldn’t. But that’s beyond the scope.
So, here we are. Men are able to walk away. We have a child growing inside of us. And then what? In many places, including where I grew up, girls and women are shunned for getting pregnant outside of marriage. It’s becoming more and more commonplace, just like divorce, but when I was in high school, girls (even those who had sex with exactly one guy) were called sluts if they got pregnant. The perception was she was a “dumb slut” actually. How could she let it happen? Let me tell you: We were raised to be ashamed to have sex. And many families never had open conversations about sex, or they were limited to, “Don’t do it.” I have to give my mom credit. She not only approached sex (also using the common “Your Dad and I believe you should wait” approach), but following it up with, “But if you do have sex, get on birth control. If you dont’ want to go to our doctor, here’s how you do it. And if you end up pregnant, do not have an abortion. I will raise the baby. You will be scarred for life if you have an abortion. It will seem like a quick and easy fix, but it won’t be.” I think my parents’ morals were part of why all of us girls waited so long to have sex (several sisters until marriage – yes, it’s true!). But I also think laying it out there, the consequences, the choices you could have to face, the decisions you could have to make, that was huge. At least for me. I knew I wasn’t ready to ask a doctor for birth control, especially one I didn’t know, and I knew I’d never be able to ask MY doctor out of fear of my parents finding out. But the whole idea of getting pregnant and facing even the concept of abortion or having to raise a baby. Way too much. Babies were a lot of damn work. I know. I babysat a baby over an entire weekend once. Best. Birth control. EVER! Plus, I thought not sleeping with a guy was a good litmus test for how much he liked me. If he waited, he really did love me. You know, until the first guy who was willing to wait broke up with me anyway, for an unrelated reason. Sigh. Boys.
And I will also speak from personal experience of a few women I know who did choose abortion. These woman do not choose it flippantly. Many choose it out of shame. They’re ashamed they were “dumb sluts” who got pregnant. They wanted the baby to go away so no one would know their stupidity or promiscuity. They wanted the baby to go away so they wouldn’t seem like a bad Catholic (I am/was Catholic, so I’m generalizing here, I know this is true for many religions). They wanted it to go away so their parents wouldn’t seem like bad parents. All selfish reasons. And ironically, many are spawned by the same community who adamantly protests abortions. Maybe if these groups were more accepting of these babies, there would be less need for abortion. The second group of women, those I am less familiar with, will make the decision based on a helpless feeling. They feel helpless because they don’t have any support (please see “deadbeat dads” but also see many other topics such as either parent is an addict, in prison, abandoned in other ways, or death, illness, etc.). They’re too young and aren’t ready to have a child and can’t afford proper medical care throughout the pregnancy, regardless of what will happen after the child is born. Many know if they carry the baby to full term, they won’t want to give it up, or know they won’t be able to, again due to some sort of guilt. Sometimes they are helpless because they are an addict, or the father is abusive and will either unleash on the mom who is un-expectantly pregnant, or the child will be forced, by the abusive, controlling father, to be raised in abusive home. And the sad truth is, many of these women also feel helpless to walk away from these situations, or feel helpless to find proper help for addictions. All also part of “the system” we live in. But, yet, when a woman is pregnant, often times she finds herself facing these dilemmas alone, cloaked in fear and guilt. Feeling irresponsible and alone.
So then what? So these women do what these religions and politicians (all men, mind you) want her to do. No birth control. Have the child. And then what? Then there’s possibly another child in “the system.” More welfare. She has a harder time finding work because she’s limited by her child’s daycare, or can’t afford daycare, or inadequate healthcare and a sick child. I know children in two-parent homes where both parents miss work so often, I have to wonder how much they’d miss if they were single parents. It’s unreal how often babies get sick. How many appointments they have. And how expensive they are. So these “conservatives” want us to not have access to birth control. How will they help us take care of the inevitable babies? Oh, wait, that’s right. They also don’t like the “liberal” point of view to “help everyone.” So what? What’s the answer?
Oh, right. These slutty women need to close their legs.
But guess what, guys. Then that means you have to marry up. Oh, you don’t want that either? Why not? Oh, right, because 50% of marriages end in divorce and you don’t want to go into it lightly. And marriage is a sham with all of these “kids” jumping into it before they know someone.
Well, then I’m at a loss. While you work out your utopia world, give us what we need to deal with the world we are living in. Give women access to affordable birth control. Don’t worry, while you worry about how to control us, we’ll take care of the rest of the details you like to bitch about, like unplanned babies and welfare costs and not forcing you into marriage. No biggie.
As an aside, if there are any women out there willing to go on a sex strike until men figure out what they want, I’m in.