A woman’s sexual life is her own business, not something to be scrutinized by others

Learning about sex at an all-girls Catholic high school was quite an experience, one that left me rather jaded. 

The sex education program utilized by my high school, particularly, seemed fun and interesting, at first. My classmates and I were juniors at the time and many of us were completely taken by the cute, charismatic speaker; he joked around and related to us on a personal level. 

He told us about his struggle with sex addiction and how he eventually overcame the disorder. After some deep conversation, he began to tell us about the consequences of unprotected premarital sex [heterosexual sex, specifically]; he educated us about Sexually Transmitted Infections and the chances of having an unintended pregnancy. 

For the majority of the lesson, the information being recited to us didn’t seem too absurd, especially for a sex education program taking place at a Catholic high school. At the very end of the lesson, however, the speaker did something that I’ve never been able to forget. 

Using a flower as an analogy, he began to explain what happens when one has too many sexual partners. 

According to him, each of us was a flower and every time we slept with a different person, we lost a petal. Of course, the more people we had sex with, the more likely we were to end up a petal-less flower. And who would want such a thing, after all?

He assured us he wasn’t suggesting that we had no worth if we slept with numerous people; after all, he, himself, had had multiple sexual partners in the past. He simply wanted us to understand the emotional damage that can go along with promiscuity. 

And I believe that he believed this.

But even if his intentions were good, the fact of the matter remains: that’s a seriously messed up message to send to young, impressionable girls.  Basically, he was slut-shaming.

This is a perfect [albeit unfortunate] real-life example of the stigma that remains in regards to female sexuality, even to this day. And it doesn’t just exist for teenage girls; even in adulthood, women are met with rules and guidelines for how they should behave sexually. 

There’s a certain number of partners we can have before we’re deemed “sluts,” if we choose not to have sex we’re “prudes” and anything we wear is scrutinized. Despite years of progress, the catch 22 remains when it comes to our sexual lives. 

And that’s why I think it’s important for women to do whatever they want, regardless. If you want to have sex just for fun, go for it. If you’re doing it with someone you deeply care about, great. If you choose to remain celibate until you’re married, fantastic. As long as all parties involved are consenting to the activity, there shouldn’t be

a problem. 

The stigma may remain, but that doesn’t mean we can’t fight it. And one of the best ways to do so is simply by not caring what other people think. Eventually, society will catch up to us. 

Meanwhile, let’s stop teaching girls and telling women that their worth is tied to their sexual behavior. A woman is worth more than who she sleeps with and how often and her sexual life is the concern of no one but herself, her partner(s) and her doctor. 

We’re human beings, after all; not flowers. 

And to those people out there, both men and women, who feel the need to regulate the sexual activity of others: why don’t you just mind your own business?