We hear a lot about "slut shaming" and how wrong it is to make women who happen to have had multiple partners feel bad about their sexuality. And yet it is not just those who have been with "many" who get shamed. There is also a certain shame that comes with only ever having been with one or less partners.
This "prude shaming" is no less rampant, especially among young women who grew up after the sexual revolution in educated families. There is often the sense that every young woman ought to sow her wild oats (but not sow too much!) or else miss all that life has to offer.
Writer Julie Kuenneke addressed this issue in XO Jane with her piece about only ever having been with one person. In it, she says she has been shamed about that almost more than those who are "slut shamed." I feel her pain.
My number is not quite one, but it is pretty darn close and I have certainly had my fair share of comments about how low it is. But I don't care.
The fact is, whether you have been with 40 men or 4, it says nothing about you or how you are in bed or how much you enjoy sex. People have sex in a variety of different ways and for all different reasons.
A woman who has only had sex with one may have met her husband young (like I did and like Kuenneke did) or she may only have sex with those with whom she is in love. A woman who has been with 40 may have just as well loved all 40 men. We just don't know and we can't judge. A woman's number means very little except how many people she has had sex with.
In the end, that number does not define us. It is not WHO we are or WHAT we are. A woman who has been with one is no more a prude than a woman who has been with 100 is a whore.
It's time we get past these notions. It used to be that women who embraced their sexuality and had sex with many men were shamed. Now women who have only had sex with a few are accused of not embracing their sexuality. The pendulum has now gone too far in the other direction.
Sexual freedom means having the ability to dictate what we want from our sex lives. My couple of partners are mine just like another person's 32 partners are theirs. Neither number defines us or says who we are as people or are as sexual beings.
It's just a number, baby.
Have you ever been "prude shamed"?
Image via whatleydude/Flickr
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