A few of you may remember a couple months ago when I wrote an article about the necessity of making safe sex instruments available for teenagers. On the whole, the response from the community was largely encouraging. Many people agreed with my root meaning, if not with the way I hoped to implement the distribution of condoms in schools.
One particular response from the community worried me though, not just for what it said, but for the larger implications it carried about the way society thinks in general. The response I’m discussing was about the “culture of instant gratification” among young people today. The comment was about how the media and other factors contribute to young people having sex instead of waiting until marriage, and how, in the author’s personal experience, waiting until marriage was a much more beneficial experience. Listen, I have nothing against the concept of waiting until marriage. Personally, I think it’s a very beautiful way of expressing your love for someone or your devotion to your religion. What I do have a problem with is the way that this concept is often used to shame young women.
The idea that a woman is somehow dirty, or worth less after having sex is wrong and inherently misogynistic. Yes, our past relationships do affect who we. Yes, we do always carry them with us. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Past relationships can make you wiser and stronger, they don’t diminish you as a person. Saying that you should “resist the urge to give yourself away” not because it’s for your own empowerment, but because “your dream guy may not want to be the last in a line of guys who got to you before he did” just reinforces all of these horrible ideals of feminine purity and innocence. Besides, it’s just not realistic to assume that everyone will wait until marriage to have sex. In fact, it’s high risk teenagers that are most likely to have sex younger, and these are the kids that we most need to educate about safe sex and provide with materials for safe sex.