A couple of days ago, the above post showed up in the Duggar Family News group on Facebook. I always groan when I see these kinds of posts about purity, even though I never heard those kinds of messages myself when I was growing up. I was fortunate enough to have parents who didn’t raise me in a very strict religion. As it turned out, I abstained anyway. I didn’t have sex for the first time until two weeks after my wedding. My reasons for abstaining, though, had very little to do with religion or wanting to please my future husband by being fresh and pure. In my case, it mostly came down to practicality.
I’ve mentioned more than once in this blog that I’m not particularly likable. A lot of the men who do like me, seem to like me for reasons that don’t have to do with sex. I have had male friends tell me they like me for my frank sense of humor. A couple of guys have told me they think I’m witty or smart. Only a few have said they think I’m pretty. Consequently, I didn’t date much at all. The one guy I did date in high school was just as nervous about sex as I was, and in fact, later confessed to me that he was more into guys.
For most of my 20s, I focused on working and going to school. I didn’t have a love life. Maybe I could have had one, had I made an effort, but I just never seemed to be attracted to the guys who found me attractive, and vice versa. Then, when I was 27 years old, I met Bill in a chat room. By the time we met in person, he already liked my personality… What can I say? Every old sock has an old shoe out there somewhere, right?
At the time Bill and I were dating, he was still a Latter-day Saint. Premarital sex is a “no no” for Mormons. Although I had zero intention of ever being LDS, and Bill was falling away from the faith, Bill decided he preferred to wait until after our wedding to consummate the marriage. I was fine with it, since I had already waited so long, anyway. And then, on our wedding day, I started my period, so we decided to wait until that was over before having sex for the first time. I was 30 years old.
The last thing anyone could ever call me is a “slut”… although Ex supposedly told her kids that Bill and I had an affair (and we didn’t– she was projecting). The couple of times anyone has ever insinuated that I’m slutty, I’ve been very offended by it. First off, it’s factually inaccurate. And secondly, it’s just not cool to shame people for having sex. Sex is a part of life. Sex is the conduit to life.
That being said… my personal belief is that people should have less unprotected sex, especially with people with whom they don’t wish to make a baby. But that’s just my personal view. I don’t think it should be a law. I don’t think young girls should be taught object lessons involving flowers, chewing gum, or licked cupcakes. Sex isn’t dirty, and having sex shouldn’t cause someone to feel damaged or soiled. The reason I feel the way I do is not because I think that people who have sex are weak or “slutty”. It’s because I think that sex can really complicate life in a lot of ways. Also, I do worry that abortion may soon be outlawed in the United States. And because of that, sex could become even riskier than it is now.
I don’t think most people actually use abortion as birth control, especially given how difficult abortion is to access in many areas. Even if they did, that would be their business, as far as I’m concerned. However, as I tried to explain to a militantly pro-life man yesterday, sometimes pregnancy is dangerous. Some women get very sick when they’re pregnant, and they might not know they’re going to get sick until their first time. Pregnant women are at a higher risk of suicide and homicide. Moreover, quite frankly, sex is powerful. I think that women should wield that power wisely. If fewer women were willing to have sex with men, maybe men might not feel so free in trying to dictate to women that they must stay pregnant when they don’t want to be. Frankly, I think most of the extremely pro-life men I’ve seen posting online should be denied sex. Quite a few of them have very misogynistic views.
The most obnoxious pro-life guy I ran into this week is a Facebook friend of a man I knew in college. I don’t know anything about this dude, but my college friend posted the familiar meme summing up why he supports abortion rights. I’m sure you’ve seen it, too. And the pro-life guy, name of Russ, took issue with it and has been airing his pro-life views ever since.
Russ has been stubbornly posting very condescending and offensive comments to the women who have challenged his views. I’ve commented to him twice, after noticing that he has some very scary Handmaid’s Tale leanings and seems to think that women who engage in “slutty behavior” that results in pregnancy should be forced to “lie in the bed they made”. Sigh… pregnancy should never be punishment, especially since we can’t and don’t ensure that pregnant women get proper prenatal care. Babies should be wanted, cared for, and loved. Forcing women to give birth because you think they should “sleep in the bed they made” is just stupid, and it could lead to some tragic outcomes that will affect those precious babies the pro-lifers claim to care so much about.
For all of Russ’s “white knight” bullshit commentary about how men should be forced to do the honorable thing and “stick with” the women they impregnate (hello, Josh Duggar), and how rapists should have their balls cut off (hello, guys who get falsely accused of rape and are later vindicated– it HAS happened), he doesn’t consider the scenarios in which abortion really is the best course of action. After I post this fresh article, I will repost my blog entries about two stories involving false accusations of rape, since the news articles about them are behind paywalls. Under Russ’s plan, those men who were falsely accused of rape should have been castrated.
Russ did tell us the story about how he used to be indifferent about abortion, but changed his mind when his daughter was born premature. Seeing her struggle to live gave him an epiphany. Suddenly, because of his daughter’s story– a girl who was presumably born to parents who really wanted her and were prepared to raise her– he thinks all other women should be made to give birth. And if you offer logical comments to him, he comes back with rudeness, condescension, and a complete lack of empathy. He slut shames. So I left the below comment for him.
Russ says he thinks sex strikes are good ideas. On that, I would agree. I think women should be much less willing to give men access to their bodies. But I don’t feel that way because I think having sex is dirty or slutty or immoral. I feel that way because I know men are driven to have sex, and it would be painful for them not to have access to women who are willing to satisfy their urges. A lot of men are entirely too free with their opinions regarding what women should be doing with their bodies. So personally, I think that more women should stop letting them have what they seek so easily.
I’m also glad I didn’t have sex before marriage. I have never been in a situation in which I had to consider having an abortion, and I am getting really close to menopause. Since I’ve never had sex with anyone but Bill, and Bill rendered himself sterile for his ex wife, that means I’ve never been pregnant, either. However, I wouldn’t change what I did, even though I always wanted to have children.
Not having sex before marriage was very practical for me, and it spared me a lot of pain and angst. But… that’s just me. I wouldn’t want to make a law about it, nor do I think people should be shamed for being sexual. It’s part of life. And everybody is on a different path.
I know not everyone feels the way I do. Not everyone feels the way Russ feels… thank GOD. Although I’m sure he loves his daughter very much, I think his attitude about women is very scary. He seems to think that those of us who experience pregnancy, childbirth, and everything that goes with that, need his “help” in determining what is right or wrong for us. Russ is wrong.
Unfortunately, I don’t think this issue is really so much about outlawing abortion as it is about controlling women and suppressing votes so the backassward Republican Party can stay in power. Because if women wind up in trouble with the law for having an abortion or miscarriage, that will mean a lot more felons in our midst… and as we all know, felons aren’t allowed to vote. Think about it. And please, for the love of God, stop slut shaming. It’s so damaging, and just plain wrong.