A little known fact among abstinence-only educators: Women have sex drives.
I know. Shocking. You might want to take a moment and let that sink in (…that was probably bad word choice, considering the topic. Ahem. Moving on…)
Honestly, though, let’s talk about this (cue necessary Salt-n-Pepa soundtrack). I am a Christian, and I grew up with abstinence only education (you can read more of my thoughts on that here). This is what I learned about my sexuality growing up:
MEN want to have sex with you. You have to be careful, or MEN will trick you into having sex. You have to dress modestly so MEN don’t lust after you, because that’s what MEN do. When you get married, you’ll have to let your husband have sex with you if you want to be a good wife, because MEN want sex.
What I learned from my abstinence only education was that men were raging rivers of sex hormones, and that women were the sexually apathetic flood gates. I wasn’t supposed to be a sexual being. I was just supposed to direct traffic. I’m not sure where this blue print for sexuality came from, but it is not Biblical, it is not realistic, and it is not healthy.
As I stated earlier, women have sex drives. We don’t have to be ignorant, “grossed out,” or afraid when it comes to sexuality. We were not made simply as passive receptors of male sexuality. We are active sexual beings. We can enjoy and desire sexual things as much as men can. This is normal and natural. When we ignore this part of our being, problems start to pop up.
Though the feelings I had about sex were quite normal for the average teenage girl, because I grew up in a sheltered Christian environment I felt like an island. The Christian church is a regular archipelago of women who think they are alone when it comes to sexual feelings and struggles. In college, when I first began breaking taboo and talking about sexuality with other women, I learned many things that confirmed this.
Abstinence-only teachings on the subject of porn are always aimed at men. If anything, a side note is thrown in to the women about “emotional” porn (that’s Christianese for romance novels). Yet, I know many women who struggle with pornography addictions. You could go into a Christian book store and find dozens of books written for men that talk about masturbation, and find maybe a couple for women on the same topic. Yet, (based on a Google search that I just did) about 60% of women masturbate (and I’d like to think that the other 40% are lying…hah! Kidding). These things apply to both genders! Ignoring female sexuality gives women a disadvantage when it comes to understanding and enjoying our sexuality!
It is difficult for many women who grew up in abstinence-only programs to understand and be thankful for God’s (or evolution’s, or whatever you believe) perfect design for our bodies. We are afraid of our desires. Embarrassed of the way our bodies react to certain things. Ashamed of the effect we have on men. Yet, they are all essentially good things.
When these women become sexually active, they often have a difficult time enjoying themselves. They still felt guilt and shame. I don’t know for sure, but from stories I have heard, I’d venture to say that many of these women never get over this stage. They spend their lives viewing sex as a “duty,” because they were never given the opportunity to embrace their own sexuality.
Let’s not be that way anymore, ladies. I have a sex drive. You have a sex drive. Let’s talk about it. Let’s make taboo nothing more than a silly board game! Let’s talk about sex, baby (Sorry. Couldn’t resist)! .