Here’s a partial repost from March 2018. It’s only a “partial” repost, because I have matured a bit since 2018 and feel the need to be slightly less vulgar and obscene. Also, it gives me some time to think about today’s “fresh” content. I’m sure I’ll be wanting to post some fresh content after writing about this subject. Or maybe I’ll just want to take a shower.
A few days ago, I saw this photo posted in my Facebook feed. Someone had shared it in the Duggar Family News group. Here’s a link to an article about this, which led the original poster to get quite a “grillin'”.
Personally, I did wait until marriage before I lost my virginity. It wasn’t because I was concerned about how tight my twat was, though. In fact, I vividly remember worrying about what that first experience would be like, since I didn’t have any sex before I got married. In my case, being a virgin was less because of a sense of morality and saving myself, and more because of practicality. I simply never found anyone with whom I wanted sex who also wanted sex with me. I will admit that I didn’t try very hard. And Bill, who was a lapsed Mormon during our engagement, wanted to wait until marriage, too. I figured I’d waited that long, I might as well wait for our big day… and then we waited another couple of weeks, because I started my period right after the ceremony. 🙁
I truly don’t regret waiting for marriage, but I realize that’s not a choice everyone will want to make. Moreover, I would much rather people have sex while they are single, than get married simply so they can finally fuck each other. I can personally attest to how awful and complicated divorce can be, not just for the person who gets divorced, but also family, friends, and significant others. I am for people being responsible about it and taking precautions to prevent pregnancies and disease transmission. Then, by all means, have your fun.
I have not yet seen a post encouraging men to wait until marriage, even though I’m sure that’s encouraged among the religious. On the other hand, guys like Josh Duggar preach about family values and living the fundie Christian way. Then they go out and hire strippers and prostitutes. The truth later comes out in a big scandal. I suspect that a lot of fundamentalist Christian males are massive hypocrites and liars. I feel sorry for Josh’s wife and kids because I’m not sure he’ll ever live down what a hypocritical scumbag he was revealed to be. (ETA: remember, this was originally posted in 2018– three years before the world found out how truly vile and disgusting Josh Duggar really is!I feel even more sorry for his kids today, although my sympathy for Anna is slightly less now…)
I think it’s pretty gross that the person who made the first post used fish to illustrate how tight a woman’s vagina is after multiple sex partners. I mean, did that person choose fish on purpose, realizing that a lot of sexually transmitted infections can cause that part of the body to take on a fishy odor? What’s the old saying? Fish and visitors stink after three days?
And what’s with wasting perfectly good fish on an object lesson? That fish died so the world can get a graphic representation about how women who have sex with many men might make them too “loose” for a man’s pleasure. There are people starving in the world… people who would love to have fish for dinner. And finally, the idea of a woman’s genitals being akin to a cold, slimy, fleshy, malodorous piece of fish. I’m surprised anyone would feel sexy after seeing that. But I guess that was the point.
This fish business is even grosser than using licked cupcakes and chewed gum to teach girls about purity. At least gum and cupcakes are appetizing. Using raw fish, especially when illustrating a woman’s vagina, is just nasty and disrespectful.
And just to make this more topical in 2021… I have been stumbling across more and more news pieces about fundie males who turn out to be total deviants and perverts. I am convinced that a higher number of creeps are hiding out in fundamentalist religious cults than in the regular population. If you think about it, those types of very legalistic religiously based groups with high levels of control and power over members are especially ripe for abuse. Females are usually taught in those groups that they are to submit to men at all costs, and if they suffer from abuse or mental health issues, it’s because they aren’t “right” with God and need to repent and pray.
Every day, when I read about these kinds of situations, I am more and more grateful that my parents did not raise me in a cult. I went to a mainstream church, where there was no weirdness and no intrusive interviews about my sexual habits or preferences. No one ever shamed me for what I was wearing. And I was only expected to be in church for an hour (two, if you count Sunday School) a week.
Speaking of Josh Duggar… looks like his most recent court case involving his evident issues with downloading videos and photos of CSA is heading south at a rapid pace. The federal judge keeps turning down his desperate requests to suppress evidence. I think he’s going to regret not accepting a plea deal, because I have a feeling that at the end of his trial, he’s going to be going away for a very long time. I’m generally not a fan of putting people in prison for years on end, but I do think it’s probably appropriate in his case.
In any case, the fish object lesson is particularly disgusting. I thought the wadded up gum, licked cupcakes, and wilted roses used to discourage girls from being “handled sexually” were yucky, but none of them compare to using tuna to demonstrate the condition of a woman’s nether regions. Eeeeew! The guy who made this ought to be ashamed of himself… and he should enroll in an anatomy class, pronto.
I originally wrote this book review for Epinions.com in July 2009. I reposted it on my original blog on September 5, 2015. I am reposting it again as is.
Pros: Points out how women’s rights are affected by legislation regarding sexuality.
Cons: A little too rabidly feminist for my taste. Not that well written.
When I was a teenager, it seemed like everyone was having sex except me. As a 13 year old, I vividly recall a girl in my 8th grade English class telling me about how she’d gotten “laid” by her boyfriend the previous weekend. At the time, I didn’t even know what “getting laid” meant. As I got older, I learned more about euphemisms for having sex and watched as my friends gained an unnatural appreciation for turtlenecks, thanks to the hickeys left by their boyfriends. On my high school graduation day in June 1990, three of my classmates were so pregnant they could have given birth on the football field as we collected our diplomas.
Once I got to college, I truly did feel like a minority because I wasn’t having sex. On more than one occasion, I walked in on a roommate who was in the middle of intercourse. More than a couple of my friends had pregnancy scares. And there were a couple of times when I found my friends crying in the bathroom, despondent over a sexual relationship gone bad. Strangely enough, I still felt like a freak for not having those experiences when I was in my 20s. I waited until I was 30 years old before I finally gave up my virginity. Now that I’ve done the deed, I couldn’t be happier that I waited. Not having sex made my life much simpler.
Jessica Valenti, author of the 2009 book The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession With Virginity Is Hurting Young Women, did not wait until adulthood before she had sex for the first time. Indeed, Valenti lost her virginity at the tender age of 14. Her then boyfriend marked the event by drawing a heart on the wall with the couple’s initials and the date. Soon after their sexual union, Valenti found herself the object of derogatory remarks. Suddenly, because she’d had sex, Valenti was considered “at risk”. When Valenti’s mother found a condom in her purse, she warned that no man would want to marry her if she was promiscuous.
Now an adult, Jessica Valenti is a blogger and a feminist who has written articles for Ms. Magazine and The Guardian, as well as several books on feminism. In The Purity Myth, she takes on the supposed attitude that girls who have sex before marriage are somehow “damaged goods” and that the virginity movement is somehow hurting women. She rails against abstinence only education, the religious right, and misogynistic attitudes that she claims reduce women to mere objects, vessels that are only as good as their ability to carry babies.
Valenti’s prose is indignant as she highlights cases in which women are treated as second class citizens because they’d had sex. She cites one case in which a woman tried to get a “morning after” pill when her boyfriend’s condom broke and was subjected to the third degree by the medical establishment. The woman ended up getting pregnant and had an abortion.
Valenti writes of another woman who was attempting a home birth and went to a hospital for fluids. When the hospital staff saw that she had a scar from a c-section, they told her she couldn’t leave the hospital to give birth at home. When the woman snuck out of the hospital anyway, a police officer was dispatched to her house. He shackled her and brought her back to the hospital against her will, where she was forced to submit to another c-section. The woman sued, but lost. Apparently, according to state law, the fetus’s rights trumped her own.
Valenti discusses purity balls and “daddy/daughter dates”. Purity balls are father/daughter dances in which young women “pledge” their virginity to their fathers, promising to wait until marriage to have sex. Daddy/daughter dates supposedly show young women that they can be loved by a man, yet not engage in sexual activity. Valenti seems to think that both concepts are creepy and, I have to admit, on some level I agree with her. Even though these events are supposed to discourage girls from having sex too soon, there’s something about them that strikes me as innappropriate and vaguely incestuous.
Valenti also writes a great deal about how difficult it is nowadays to get an abortion and how so many of the laws regarding abortion were created by men. Indeed, Valenti seems pretty damned angry at men, whom she seems to think still subjugate and oppress women. She jeers at the sex education offered in schools today, which focuses only on abstinence and, by the way she describes it, serves to keep young people in the dark about how they can have healthy sex lives as teenagers.
I’ll be honest.
As someone who did wait a long time to have sex, I have a hard time swallowing Valenti’s assertions that teenagers should be having “healthy” sex lives. I don’t feel this way because I’m religious. I feel this way because I think it’s impractical for teenagers to have sex. Sex complicates relationships and, let’s face it, can cause problems on a variety of levels from health-related to legal. However, I also understand that many young people are going to have sex regardless and I agree with Valenti that a person’s decision to have sex should not define their goodness or moral status.
Like Valenti, I bristle whenever I read a news story about women who get in legal trouble because of something they did while they were pregnant. Valenti cites one memorable case from 2004 in which a Utah woman was charged with murder because she refused to have a c-section and one of her twins died. While I think it’s sensible for pregnant women to follow competent medical advice, I also think pregnant women are starting to become a special class of people in which others feel it’s perfectly okay to protect them from themselves, all because they’re nurturing another life inside their bodies. It seems the rights of pregnant women are starting to slide down a slippery slope, as some legislation is drafted to protect the rights of unborn children over the rights of their mothers.
I agree with a lot of what Valenti writes… so why does this book rub me the wrong way?
First off, I don’t think The Purity Myth is particularly well written. Valenti’s prose reads as if she’s standing in front of a crowd, angrily ranting about the oppression of women. She uses a lot of repetitive phrasing that I found a bit irksome after awhile. She also uses a lot of distracting footnotes and endnotes. The footnotes mostly consist of secondary comments that she could have either omitted or included within the paragraphs. The print is double-spaced, which may make it easier for some people to read, but also serves to pad the book a bit.
Secondly, while I agree that sometimes women still get the short end of the stick, I also think that life can be just as unfair for men. I don’t really like the very angry ranting tone of The Purity Myth because I don’t think it really strengthens Valenti’s case. While I can see and agree with Valenti’s points regarding the rights of pregnant women, I have also witnessed firsthand how men’s rights are often trampled on once those kids are born.
Valenti writes a lot about rape and how many people (women included) think that rape victims somehow “ask” to be raped. But she also seems to imply that most men subscribe to the attitude that women ask for rape. I have known a lot of males who take a rather piggish view toward women, especially regarding rape. However, I’ve also known a lot of wonderful, sensitive males who don’t take that attitude. I don’t like to see an entire gender get painted with the same broad brush.
Finally, while I agree that there’s nothing “dirty” about sex and it shouldn’t be a shameful act, I truly believe that teenagers are better off if they don’t have sex and it shouldn’t be encouraged. Valenti refers to her graduate school years a lot when she makes her points. With that in mind, I will refer to my graduate school years, when I worked with pregnant teenagers and teenaged mothers. While most of the young women I worked with loved their babies, they also had a tough time finishing their adolescence as they took care of their children.
I agree with some of Valenti’s points about women’s rights, particularly when it comes to reproduction. But I don’t like her excessively angry tone and I don’t agree that America is obsessed with virginity. In fact, given my personal experiences growing up in America, I’m inclined to think that just the opposite is true. Moreover, I don’t think virginity hurts young women. If a young woman can have casual sex outside of marriage or a serious relationship and avoid the baggage that can come with it, more power to her. But I have seen with my own eyes how casual sex can be complicated and make life difficult. And I managed to live just fine without sexual intercourse for a good portion of my life. For me, the best part about waiting is the fact that my husband truly is the best lover I’ve ever had.
I think The Purity Myth is worthy reading for those who are interested in women’s studies and sexual politics. I have no doubt that a lot of women will agree wholeheartedly with Valenti’s viewpoint. I just don’t happen to be among that group of women. I guess I’m just not as liberal as I thought I was.
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A good morning to everyone. There’s nothing like waking up, reading the daily news, and coming across a dishy item about a 39 year old rapper who takes his teenaged daughter to the gynecologist and demands that the doctor check to see that her hymen is still intact. I rubbed my eyes and wondered if it was true. But I’m sitting here listening to the podcast, Ladies Like Us, with Nazanin and Nadia, and T.I. Tip Harris is the guest. He’s talking very frankly about his life… and that of his children. And then I saw an article in the Washington Post about these revelations, which are just so completely fucked up that I can’t even fathom it.
T.I., otherwise known as Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., has made it an annual habit to accompany his 18 year old daughter, Deyjah Harris, to the gynecologist. Apparently, this began when she was 16. After Deyjah’s birthday party that year, he put a sticky note on her bedroom door that read “Gyno. Tomorrow. 9:30.”
He continues: “So we’ll go and sit down and the doctor comes and talk, and the doctor’s maintaining a high level of professionalism. He’s like, ‘You know, sir, I have to, in order to share information’ — I’m like, ‘Deyjah, they want you to sign this so we can share information. Is there anything you would not want me to know? See, Doc? Ain’t no problem.'”
So as I’m reading about this, I picture this poor teenaged girl lying there on the table, no doubt in a flimsy hospital gown, and wearing no undergarments. It’s her first time being examined, which I remember from my own experience was very nervewracking and embarrassing. Her father and a male doctor are standing there talking about whether or not she still has her hymen intact. The male doctor, to his credit, lets T.I. know that the hymen can break for a lot of reasons that have nothing to do with sex. Lots of women have lost theirs riding horses and bikes. I participated heavily in both of those activities when I was a teenager, but I remained a virgin until I was 30 years old and married for two weeks. I don’t think I still had a hymen when Bill and I finally consummated our marriage, but I sure as hell was a virgin. Just ask Bill!
But then T.I. says, “Look doc — she don’t ride no horses, she don’t ride no bikes, she don’t play no sports, man — just check the hymen, please, and give me back my results expeditiously.” He added: “I will say, as of her 18th birthday, her hymen is still intact.”
What the fuck! Where the hell is her mother? If I had a daughter and her father tried something like this, I would kick his ass. And what is up with the doctor, allowing this to happen? HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) allows for patients to give permission to medical professionals to share their private information with others. However, it seems to me that if T.I. is comfortable enough to force his daughter to go to the gyno with him in tow, she probably wouldn’t be comfortable in asking him to GTFO of the exam room. If she had, she would likely pay for it later at home. It saddens me that the gynecologist didn’t do a better job of advocating for his patient, whose private medical information is now international news.
Speaking of gynecologists, Canadian OB-GYN Dr. Jen Gunter, author of The Vagina Bible, has also weighed in on this. She shared the above video on Facebook. I see it was uploaded on November 1, which makes it especially timely today. She also posted on Twitter about why hymen testing is not a “thing” and T.I.’s actions are so completely inappropriate and abusive. Included in Dr. Gunter’s tweets is this screenshot from the World Health Organization.
The first gynecological exam can be very stressful. It certainly was for me. Here’s where I will share even more TMI, so if you’re squeamish, you may want to stop reading. I have no shame, so I’m going to write this very personal story for the interested.Regular readers may have already read this.
I am 47 years old and, to date, I have only had two “gyno” exams. Both were done at the behest of the U.S. government, because I was going to be moving overseas. The first exam happened when I was 22 years old and needed a Pap smear and pelvic exam prior to joining the Peace Corps and moving to Armenia for two years. At the time, I was still considered a “dependent”, since I was under age 23 and my dad was a retired Air Force officer, so I was able to get my physical done for free at a military treatment facility. Actually, I probably could have had it done for free anyway, since this was for a government assignment. But I spent my whole young life going to military doctors, so I wasn’t particularly afraid. In retrospect, I wish I had sprung for a civilian doctor.
Anyway… it was April 1995, and I had to drive all the way from Gloucester, Virginia to Hampton, Virginia– city of my birth. Fort Eustis, which is in Newport News and was closer to my parents’ home, has medical facilities, but did not do women’s exams at the time. In fact, the doctor at Fort Eustis told me that I didn’t “need” an exam, since I was sexually inactive. However, the Peace Corps required that I have one done, so off I went to Hampton– probably a good hour’s drive from home.
I arrived at the hospital on Langley Air Force Base, which is where I would have been born, had the hospital’s maternity ward not been full on the day I entered the world. I was totally unfamiliar with the place, since I had always gotten my routine medical care done at Fort Eustis or the Naval Weapons Station in Yorktown, Virginia. I finally found the women’s clinic, which had pictures of babies all over the dingy walls. I filled out a typewritten form about the particulars of why I was there. I was alone and very nervous. A kind nurse tried to reassure me that the female doctor, an Air Force major who was an OB-GYN, would be gentle. I wasn’t so sure, but I tried to relax until I was called into the exam room.
The doctor was a white woman wearing an Air Force uniform. I still remember her name, but I’m sure she’s long forgotten me. She seemed older and kind of masculine to me, although she was probably in her 30s. I was directed to pee, then get naked. There was a paper sheet on the table that I was to get under. A black nurse was also in the room, supposedly to “chaperone”. I remember thinking she seemed kind of over it and unsympathetic to how nervous and upset I was.
So there I was, lying on the table as this doctor also told me I didn’t “need” an exam, since I wasn’t sexually active. I told her I needed to get it done for my Peace Corps physical. She said “Very well,” then proceeded to use a metal speculum that was too big. It hurt, and I let out a surprised yelp of pain. Noticing that the speculum was too big, she removed it and used a smaller one, which also really hurt. I screamed and felt very lightheaded– I was probably hyperventilating a bit, but it also hurt so much that I seriously thought I was going to faint.
“Hon, if you can’t be quiet, we can’t do this exam.” the doctor said in a stern tone of voice. I HATE being called “Hon”, probably moreso now because of this incident. But since I didn’t want to go through this again with another doctor, I bit my lip and she finished. She told me to get dressed and see her in her office, which I did.
I sat across from her at her desk as she told me that she hadn’t gotten “world’s best exam”, because I had been so tense and uncooperative. However, despite that, it looked like “everything was okay down there”. She advised me to lose weight, since she somehow knew I would be gaining weight in Armenia (I actually lost a lot of weight in training, but gained some back). Then she asked me if I wanted birth control. Since I wasn’t having sex at that point and my periods weren’t a problem, I said no. She sent me on my way, and I drove all the way back to Gloucester feeling totally humiliated and violated. My parents– particularly my mom– were quite unsympathetic. I was very happy when I got a postcard in the mail, indicating that my exam results had been normal.
It took another twelve years before I had another “gyno” exam done. I had tried to have one done by the Peace Corps Medical Officer at the end of my Peace Corps assignment in 1997, but I ended up freaking out and refused. That was a similarly embarrassing incident that I’ll save for another blog post, since this one is getting long. For now, I’ll fast forward to 2007, when Bill was in Iraq and I was preparing for our first move to Germany. The Army required that I have a physical and be screened for the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP). I did end up having to enroll in EFMP because I was once treated for depression, but again– another rant for another day.
So in 2007, I was fortunate enough to have a kind friend who was very familiar with the medical staff at DeWitt Army Hospital (now defunct) at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. She helped me choose a very understanding physician’s assistant who, at that time, was doing well women’s exams. She has since moved on to cardiology.
Anyway, this P.A. was gruff at first, but then I explained what had happened at my first and only gyno exam in 1995. She then proceeded to give me a completely painless exam, which caused more tears– partly because I was so relieved to be done with it and partly because I now knew that the first exam shouldn’t have been so painful and traumatic! There was no chaperone when the second exam was done.
After the exam, the P.A. gave me a big hug and talked to me for a few minutes until I calmed down. The exam had been so stressful that my blood pressure was sky high. She was convinced that I had high blood pressure, and I had to prove to her I didn’t by submitting to a 24 hour blood pressure test which involved wearing a monitor that took my blood pressure every twenty minutes. I was left with a bruised arm and a diagnosis of white coat hypertension. To this day, simply walking into a military hospital makes my pressure shoot into the stratosphere. That’s why I haven’t seen a doctor since 2010, even though I know I could use some screenings.
I think about those times having those exams done, as bad as they were– and how much worse they would have been if I had been a teenager and my dad was in the room with me, demanding to know if my hymen was still intact. I don’t have a problem with the fact that Deyjah’s doctor was a man. I saw a female doctor and she turned out to be horrible. I think male doctors are capable of being kind and sensitive when they do pelvic exams and Pap smears, just as I know some women doctors are insensitive and cruel when they do them. Doctors who are treating teenagers should be mindful that teens aren’t always in a position to say no when their parents demand to be there for an exam. Deyjah Harris probably didn’t feel like she could refuse to allow her dad to supervise her gyno exam. BuzzFeed notes that Miss Harris liked several tweets criticizing her dad for not giving her appropriate privacy. My guess is that she would have preferred that T.I. not have inserted himself in the exam room and demanded a “hymen check”. And shame on the doctor for not telling T.I. that hymen checks are not a “thing”!
Now that Deyjah Harris is eighteen and in college, she is legally an adult. Why her father is still so interested in her virginity is beyond me. I truly hope someone understanding talks to her and lets her know that her body belongs to her, and that her self worth isn’t tied to virginity. It’s extremely inappropriate, possessive, controlling, and just all around fucked up that her dad cares so much about virginity, even pointing out that “virgins are no fun”. I just can’t stand it. It’s just totally creepy and misogynistic. Yuck.
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