Let’s Talk Sex: Weirdos, Freaks, and Prudes.

“You’re weird.” Ouch. Who knew two little words could hurt so much? When it comes to sex (or anything vaguely sexual), a lot of us have been made to feel, well, ashamed of it, which is total bullshit.

When was the first time you were made to feel weird because of your sexuality? What was your first encounter with slut-shaming (or prude-shaming) like? Why do you think it happened?

I distinctly remember being made fun of as a teen for my enthusiasm regarding making out. Making out. Apparently in “normal people world” one should never, ever act like they’re enjoying anything vaguely sexual (especially us ladies). I had an ex-boyfriend who told my friend I acted “way too excited” when we’d get our mack on. When my friend told me about it she said, “You’re weird.” Ouch. What was I supposed to do? Lay there like a dead fish while he jammed his tongue down my throat? How fun for me. I felt so embarrassed whenever the subject was brought up; I was made to feel like a total freak for kissing. How fucked up is that? Come to think of it, when I finally started having sex, I was actually called a “freak” by a male friend because he heard I “liked having a lot of sex.” Well, excuse me, mister, for not adopting a more Victorian-esque sexuality.

The other side to this coin: Being made fun of for not going far. That’s right, I was both a weirdo for loving a good make out session and a total prude for not letting some dude feel me up in his van. I just couldn’t win in high school, I tell you.

What say you?

Another question I’d like to throw out for consideration: Persephone parents (or future parents), do you plan on teaching your kids about not judging others’ sexuality? Will you address the topic of slut shaming? How? (I ask because how awesome would it be if we could raise an entire generation to not give a fuck about other people’s consensual sex lives? Very awesome, and if I ever have kids I’d like to help do just that.)

33 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Sex: Weirdos, Freaks, and Prudes.”

  1. The time my mother learned I masturbated. Slut shaming galore a la Chinese mom style. It’s a bad part of our culture.

    It was so internalized, my guilt towards sex, that when I decided that I would marry a proper candidate (read: Chinese or Japanese nerd yuppy) I was resigned to having a mediocre sex life.

  2. I recall a very awkward conversation with my best friend when she complained that she needed a boyfriend so badly because she hadn’t had an orgasm in six months. I said why not take care of yourself, and not have to go through all your relationship dramma for the chance to get an orgasm? Make it a sure thing!

    She told me that only losers who can’t get dates masturbate. Duh. Pretty sure I’ve had way more orgasms than her in my lifetime just because of that philosophy.

  3. I’ve been on both extremes of this for sure. I’ve had a couple of “friends” who were intent on “fixing” me socially when I didn’t date enough (one of whom, when my partner and I got together, asked me no questions about him or our relationship but just said “you fucked right? Good, you needed it.”) But the worst has been with guys. I was really uncomfortable with my sexuality and my body in high school, and it was something I was working on really consciously when I went to college. My freshman year I met a guy and we were friends, hung out with the same group. I really liked him and since we were friends I felt like I could trust him and let myself go a little bit, but he still wanted a lot more than I was willing to give without taking baby steps and actually dating each other. It resulted in sexual assault, but the emotional and psychological parts were the worst because he made me believe that I was defective for taking his hands off of me and refusing to just fuck him already, and that if I would just stop being such a prude about it then maybe he would’ve dated me. It took me a few years to process this, accept it for what it was, and move past it.

    Then I got together with a guy who was a casual boyfriend. He was fun to make out with and I finally started doing sexual stuff, and we progressed to oral. I asked about sex one day and he said he didn’t want to if I wasn’t on BC, so I went on BC (something I’d been toying with for a long time anyway) and when I brought it up again, he got really weird about it and went on about how that was a really big deal, but oral wasn’t, but “we” weren’t ready for sex. It made me feel like a stupid slut which was ridiculous because he was the only person I’d ever more than kissed. Plus oral was always sort of a bigger deal for me than p in v sex because of the vulnerability of it so his reaction (and subsequent half-assed phone called of “I still want to see you, just not as often and I don’t know when” bullshit) really hurt.

    Fortunately now I’ve moved past these and am with my wonderful fiance. I still have a few hang-ups and can feel really uncomfortable initiating things, I think because of both of those situations, but my partner doesn’t ever make me feel stigmatized either way. He’s constantly enthusiastic about my sexual desires, or, when I’m tired and stressed out, my desire to take a night off.

  4. My first sort-of-girlfriend (POOR DECISIONS ALL AROUND) told me, when I was coming to terms with the fact that she had had sex before when I had absolutely no experience whatsoever and wondering what that meant in terms of whether we could be a viable couple, something along the lines of “I don’t want that from you; you’re too good of a guy for that.” I get that her Catholic-school upbringing is probably responsible for seeing Nice People and People Who Have Sex as some kind of mutually exclusive dichotomy, but that is some fucked-up shit to say to someone who just admitted he liked you five minutes ago.

  5. I asked what the difference was between a clitoral and a g spot orgasm at a sex toy party, thinking that someone could tell me the specific differences.

    Two women laughed at me and one of them said, “if you don’t know, you haven’t had both.”

    I mostly felt pissed off, but also, embarrassed and ashamed.

    1. @dorilys I hate that condescending shit. I wrote a FF post about it a few weeks ago, how I think all of that “if you have one you’ll know” stuff is really crappy (and while it may be true for some people is not true for everyone) and made me feel bad about myself for years. Everybody’s orgasms feel different, not everybody just magically knows all about them.

  6. Though it wasn’t the first slut-shaming I’ve ever encountered, far from it in fact, I remember listening to a friend of mine talking to a guy friend of ours (whose roomie I’d been shacking up with for several months) saying that everyone in their house (frat) thought I was complete slut because I could just have sex without relying on a relationship. That stung…but what stung worse was my friend saying “that’s just how she is”. At that point I realized that I was being judged not just by all the guys, but by all the girls as well. And because I’m a willful little snot, I just made sure I was even more blatant in my “sluttiness”.

  7. When I was young, I felt ashamed of how sexually aggressive I was. I’ve felt this way for as long as I can remember. Felt like friends were giving me the side eye. One memorial experience was listening to two friends (one of which I’d had sex with years before) talk about how awkward and awful it was that I tried to insert myself into some fooling around that was going on at a house party and that no where there wanted to fool around with me anyway, but I just didn’t get it. They thought I was asleep. It’s still hard for me to initiate and I’ve actually walked away from sex with a partner that I wanted for a very long time because she looked scared of me when I kissed her.

    1. Honestly, I think it was just those douches. Many people, find a sexually aggressive partner very much a turn on (including myself), as long as each party is paying attention to the needs/wants/mood of the other.

      What I’m saying is that you should not be ashamed of knowing what you want and going for it.

  8. In college I was called a slut and a bitch just for flirting. Of course, this was a Christian theology school so I was also called a slut for wearing a white overshirt with a blue undershirt (…I still don’t get that one).

    By the time I actually got around to having sex I was twenty and just wanted to get it over with, and when I expressed that most of my friends were appalled. Thankfully as I’ve grown older and more comfortable with my sexuality, the people that I call friends have changed with my mindset.

    As for teaching kids about sexuality, I know that I want to take my niece aside when she’s a teenager and talk to her about it. I want her to grow up thinking of sex as a positive thing, and not something that she either needs to do at all costs or needs to stay away from at all costs. Hopefully I can help impart a healthy attitude about it.

  9. “Do you plan on teaching your kids about not judging others’ sexuality?”
    Oh, hell yeah.

    “Will you address the topic of slut shaming?”
    Absolutely.

    “How?”
    That part I’m not sure about, but my two- and four-year-old daughters already know that sometimes boys marry other boys, and that you can have a baby without being married, although it’s harder then if you get married first. They also know how babies are born, and the older one has a general idea about how babies are made. She’ll get all the details probably in kindergarten.

    I suffered from terrible slut-shaming my freshman year of high school, after a single unpleasant date with a guy who told all his friends in our very small school that he got me to blow him–which was a total lie. It was an excruciating year of being ogled and having obscenities flung at me by guys who were 17 and 18 years old, when I was 14 and terrified. If I can help it, they’re never going through that shit, and if it does happen, at least I can try to prepare them for it and help them through it so they won’t be alone.

  10. I didn’t like it when I was being sexual with a guy and he didn’t like it if I was more into it or liked it to be rougher, and saying something like “Most girls don’t like it like that.” Or when something he was doing wasn’t working, going “It usually works with most girls I’ve been with.” He later regretted saying those things, but I felt like a freak at that moment, like I was too weird for my interest in things that weren’t unusual.

  11. I’m having to deal with the shaming right now. I’m at the point in my life where most, if not all, of my friends and acquaintances are sexually active or experienced. I am neither and my naivete has tripped me up a few times in front of them and, while they have never said anything blatant to me, the uncomfortable silence and meaningful glances between them make me feel like a total weirdo.

  12. There are a few particular situations that stick out in my mind as times that I felt ashamed or awkward about my sex life.

    One is when I was talking with a few friends, both of whom started having all different kinds of sex before I did; I commented that I was really interested in having a threesome at some point in my life, and they both laughed at me and told me that I needed to have sex with one person first.

    Another is when I was playing some drinking game with a group of friends my senior year of college and I had to say when the last time I had sex was. I was in the midst of a serious dry spell, and I asked whether they meant PIV sex or other kinds, like oral sex. (At that point in my life, I’d had much more oral sex than PIV and found the former much more effective, orgasm-wise, than the latter.) Everyone laughed and said that they meant real sex, as if that was obvious and I should have known. I actually felt more angry than ashamed, but I just felt generally shitty that they totally disregarded an act that I found very intimate and very pleasurable as not being “good” enough or “real” enough.

    The last time was when I wanted to get tested so that future Mr. and I could stop using condoms, the summer after I graduated college. I was still on my parents’ insurance and knew that I could get it all done for free, so I bit the bullet and told my mom that I wanted to get tested. SHIT. She was already unhappy because she knew that we were having sex, and she immediately began questioning me about if I thought I “had something” and if he was being faithful. To me, getting tested was just a very basic thing that you do when you decide that you’re only going to be having sex with one person for the foreseeable future (and that you do on a regular basis regardless), but she obviously didn’t see it that way, and our relationship has never been that tense and unhappy as it was then. I love her and respect her, but we have very different perspectives on sex, and even though I didn’t feel bad about having had sex with various people, I felt judged and upset.

  13. When I was in college, I was hanging out with these “cool” kids, and someone brought up the question “Why do people have sex?”.

    “Because it’s fun,” I said.

    There was a five-second silence, and then they burst out laughing. I was flabbergasted and embarrassed.

  14. I definitely think that people are made to feel weird because of their sexuality from a very early age. I have vivid memories of middle school, where I was frequently pestered about whether I “liked” anyone. Apparently, not having any raging crushes on boys meant that there was something wrong with me. After repeatedly insisting that I never thought about anyone that way (I didn’t; I was like 12!), several people decided that I must be a lesbian. Ah, middle school logic.

    It’s amazing to me how no matter the details of anyone’s sexuality, there will always be someone who tells them that they’re wrong.

    1. Ah yes, I was frequently called a lesbian in middle school. Nowadays I think it’s because I just wasn’t conforming as much to the idea that girls should be pretty first and smart second. I was in the highly-academically-gifted program so we were all smart, some more than others, and this was the best insult they could do. Also I never really liked anyone in middle school either. My reason was simple: they were all assholes who thought they were better than everyone else at our school because they were tracked as “smart.” I wasn’t about to try to flirt and get attention from people like that. Yuck. Middle school is hell.

      1. Yeah, that sounds pretty much like my experience.But when you try to reason with 12 and 13-year olds, “All the boys at this school are assholes and I’m not interested in relationships right now” is a much less interesting answer than “I’m gay”.

        The ridiculous thing is that I would have told my friends if I was a lesbian, just like I would have told them if I had a crush on a boy. But I was a girl who wasn’t interested in girls and wouldn’t be interested in boys for a little while, and there was nothing to tell. Most middle school kids don’t know what to do if they can’t put people in categories.

        I’m still not sexually active and have never been in a relationship, but I recognize what I’m attracted to now. It’s just that I was 15 or 16 before I could really say for sure that, yeah, I like boys. And sometimes I still feel, at 18, that people will always judge you for putting school or other important thigs before boys and sex and a “normal” social life. It’s just infinitely easier to handle when you’re not in the hellhole that is middle school.

  15. The first time? Sheesh. There’s been too many times since then for me to really remember… I guess my first “serious” boyfriend used to shame me for not wanting sex as often as he did. He used to give me ultimatums and tell me I must not love him enough. That was when I was 15 or 16

    But this is sort of something I have SO MANY stories about, none of them good. This would get to be a long post if I recounted them all.

  16. Hmm, just ONE time I was made fun of for being a virgin? Not really for being a prude, but more for not wanting to hop in the back of some random country boy’s pick up. I’ve been told that my standards are too high, that I’m just being stuck up, that I’m a tease. I like sex, all that it implies, but having sex just to no longer be a virgin isn’t me. Which is weird to the people I grew up with.

    1. I’ve gotten a lot of flak for being a virgin too. I know that at 25, it’s definitely not the norm. And being from the South, a lot of people expect me to be a repressed, religious zealot.

      But I think the thing that’s most hurtful isn’t when people out right ask “For God’s sake, WHY?”, but when they condescendingly pat my head and give me a “Good for you,” like I’m somehow less of an adult because I’ve chosen not to have sex, when really, it’s because I don’t want to take any risk of the consequences, particularly having an unexpected pregnancy, do to my own family history.

      Which makes it even more embarrassing when guys act shocked whenever ANYthing sexual occurs and/or *GASP* I enjoy it.

      1. I started having sex about three years ago (I was 21). But I remembered that up to that point all of my friends were sexually active but me. They would talk down to me like I just didn’t know what I was missing and it made me really mad. I respected their sexual choices, why shame me for wanting to wait until I felt it was right?

        It’s funny because once I started having sex these same friends started to tell me all about their escapades. It was like all of a sudden I somehow part of the clique. I guess the personal can always be political and up for debate..even when it’s no one’s frigging business!

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