Consent, Religion, and my issue with “waiting”

Image result for consent and sex

Anyone who knows me or has read my blog should know by now that I was raised in a very conservative religious household. If you don’t, or even if you do, let me introduce myself:

I am a 28 year old female who’s been married twice, been with two men, and am still learning about my own sexuality and the idea of “firm and enthusiastic consent” is still new to me.

A little backstory: when I was growing up, there were 3 stages of Sex Ed in the school system: Elementary, Middle, and High. When the class was pulled from the main classroom in 4th grade to learn about sex, my parents signed off that I was not permitted to go, so I sat alone in an empty classroom clueless. The rest of the class came back giggling and with all these inside jokes and terminology that I did not understand. When I went home and asked my mom what sex was and how babies were made, I was handed a kid’s biology book and told to figure it out. I still remember to this day staring at a drawn picture of a naked male and female and asking myself “but how does the sperm get in there?? I don’t get it!”

By 7th grade, I entered mandatory Sex Ed class clueless of the basics. We had an anonymous question jar, and I would almost always put questions in, to which the teacher’s answers were never quite sufficient, because I missed Sex 101. When I asked, honestly, why kids giggled at the number “69” and the question was read, the class burst into laughter and the teacher just kind of shook her head with a smirk, let the class laugh, and went on to the next question. I don’t think I figured out what it was until my 20’s.

That was my education experience.

My religious experience was simple and direct: Wait til marriage.

Period. The end. That’s it. Sex is bad unless you are married. Oh, and by the way, don’t masturbate or touch yourself because the only person who’s supposed to make you feel good is your spouse. Little fuzzy on the oral/anal line but the unspoken assumption is that that’s wrong and vile too cause that’s not how God made biological sex to occur.

By the time I found someone to marry (who was Catholic, naturally) and got to Pre-marital counseling, all I was taught about sex at that point was the radical idea that a woman can initiate sex too, and you don’t have to both climax at the same time. Kind of shows you what most Christians think sex is supposed to be if that’s something that is taught in pre-marital….

So here’s the framework: Girl isn’t taught the basics of sex whatsoever other than pictures of STDs from school and what a sketched penis and vagina look like and knows that she can do this sex thing on her wedding night.

Where’s consent? Does she sign away consent completely when she gets married? She is swearing herself in “complete devotion and servitude to her husband,” so can she say no? She’s never taught she can, so she doesn’t. Besides, her body is now her husbands wholly and completely. Divorce isn’t an option, she is now his and as long as he doesn’t strike you (and even sometimes if he does, see Focus on the Family’s sermons on this) that’s all there’s to it.

So, again, where is consent in this framework? Can you see the problem?

I try, very hard, to listen to people who say waiting til marriage is a beautiful thing, but everything in my gut tells me that there is something very wrong with it. You’re telling two people they can’t even touch each other sexually until their wedding night and that they can never leave each other. What choice do they have? Without choices, is there really any consent to be given? Without the option to say “no” and leave, is there really consent?

My experience isn’t, by far, the norm in religious upbringings, but it is neither uncommon. There are gradients for sure. But personally? I can not see how the monogamous “waiting” perspective is anything but consensual.

Without choice and options, the idea of consent is a farce.

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Slut Shaming

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Let’s be clear before I tackle this dead horse ( or is it dead if people still think it just? ): dishonesty is an awfully icky trait to have. I do not endorse the act of “cheating”, but the concept of possessiveness in the entire created restriction on another human being of ” cheating”.

Difficult to put into its proper words when it’s not a concept widely held in our present society.

We still seem to hold great regard and respect for those who maintain a monogamous relationship. Those who seduce, flirt, and “play around” are seen as the lesser. Sexual promiscuity bears a negative connotation or at the least, immaturity. Settling down, that is, obtaining a restricted monogamous relationship , is a goal to be reached.

That there is such a think as shaming or even using the word “slut” anymore is mind blowing to me. Why can not people do as they wish with their lives without judgment? Why see it as a cry for attention? Perhaps, some seek affirmation from others by sexual acts. And perhaps, that is not optimum in it’s depth of implication… But it would not seem that outward judgment aids anything.

Ultimately, love and honesty in all things. If one isn’t honest with him/herself, no matter how they live and act sexually and otherwise than they are cheating only themselves.

But alas, my words always fall short of what I wish to communicate. Discourse aids that. So:

Penny for your thoughts?

Confession: I judge you

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Forgive me, largefamiliesonpurpoae.com people. But I hate you.

Hate is such a strong word. But when I see Christian families with 3+ children, I have this evil reaction inside of me. I can only call that boiling of blood, gall, and stomach acids hate.

Oh, I also hate you young Christians with your happy little virgin weddings. I judge you and think you are retarded.

Phew. That’s off my shoulders.

OK, so there are most likely personal reasons that I just impose onto everyone else as my own blind biases, so before the flaming and hurt from Facebook and church friends ensues I will name my biases, cognitive dissonance, and mirroring out front. Perhaps it will be cathartic and I will stop cringing every time you announce you are pregnant, again, or engaged to your lovely pure wife:

1. Did that whole virgin marriage. It sucked. I look back on it like “wow was I dumb” and do the same to all of you. As magical as you think your wedding night will be, in the sheer reality and statics of “I don’t know what the hell I’m doing” logic, you will hate it. (Ensue “intimacy arguments below. You know you want to.)

2. I miscarried my only pregnancy and have trouble conceiving. Therefore, I hate you and your 5th baby. Share damn it.

3. Idiots populate way too easily, and the smartest people I know are refusing to populate the world. Ever seen ” Idiocracy”? Yeah, it’s what I think.

So sorry. Not sorry if you’re either dumb, or on the Jesus-freak no-logic/reason train.

I know I’m not alone, and I know also a lot of flame and personal examples will ensue. Soooo….

Penny for your thoughts?

8% of women keep Maiden Name?

Oh, Pat Robertson... how you make us giggle!

Oh, Pat Robertson… how you make us giggle!

In March, the wedding website TheKnot.com surveyed nearly 19,000 women who got married last year. Of those women, 86 percent took their husband’s name. The practice of women keeping their last names, first introduced in the U.S. by suffragette Lucy Stone in the 1850s… By the 2000s, only 18 percent of women were keeping their names, according to a 2009 study published in the journal Social Behavior and Personality. Now, according to TheKnot, it’s at just 8 percent….*

Attention world: I’m that 8%!

It is already disheartening to me how few females have chosen Philosophy as their career path, but only 92% of women are still taking their husband’s names? Why is it assumed of me that I have taken his name at all?

Why? For what purpose? Tradition? A sense of belonging and faithful wifery? The reason for me keeping my born name is simple and logical:

  1. I don’t want to change my name on every document and institution I’m a part of.
  2. I like my last name, it kicks ass.
  3. I do not like his last name.
  4. Why should I change it?
  5. I’m an individual, not a wife. I get tax breaks and my man and I work well together and care for each other, so fuck it – we got married. That’s all.

As with all my posts, I’ll reiterate in case those who venture herein think I’m creating an argument: there’s no argument, just choice. I made mine and I am happy with it. I am more interested in the thought process of others.

Why marry? Do you plan to? If so, would you change your name, or want your S.O. to change his/hers? If you are married, what did you chose and why? Do you think this tradition is still rooted in religion? Is it a possession/property issue? What are your thoughts or reactions?

Penny for your Thoughts?
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* http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/15/women-changing-name-after-marriage_n_927707.html

Re: To Wives: Before you Were “Mommy”

Stock photo, not me. ;)

Stock photo, not me. šŸ˜‰

 

This is a response to another blog and blogger titled “scissortail silk.” You can find her article, and please do so, here. Be forewarned, some use of strong language and criticism to follow.

We researched together, shopped together and made every choice surrounding the arrival of our new baby together. Iā€™m talking right on down to the discussion of which wipes would represent the Thompson household.

I opened this blog article with open arms, ready to hear some insight into relationships and wisdom pertaining to motherhood and marriage. With such an easily connectable hook, I had to continue reading. I smiled at the shared experience of the “doing everything together” aspect of relationships. Even before parenthood, many giddy new-couples experience this and many a older couple still practice as a reality of togetherness. It can be fun to do things in pairs, and to glean opinions from another concerning choices affecting the household you both share.

So, I delved in expecting another bullet-point blog of things a couple should not forget while the wear and tear of parenthood drains them of their romantic energies. I could already see most of them in my mind’s memory, but every perspective and individual experience sheds new light and wisdom onto something countless couples experience. So, I continued reading….

Until, something started feeling wrong. Not in the message. Not in the words. It was deeper than that.

It started here:

Ladies, there will come a day when your husband walks in the door and you do not turn around. You will be preoccupied with filling up sippy cups and wiping booties. You will shout over the running bath water….

I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something felt off. I shrugged it off and nodded along with the general message that many of these blogs towards new parents presses: Don’t forget each other when it gets hectic. I’ve already seen many of my friends and co-workers go through the sleeplessness of baby-toddler reeling. I had seen what the 3am feedings can do, it can be slightly repelling to a child-less woman not presently in the “last egg” days quite yet.

Ladies, there will come a day when you spend every last ounce of yourselves on your children. The demands of life and the babies will come before any other priority. What little of yourself you have left at the end of the day will be used to crawl into bed before someone is awake to need you again.

There it was again. I tilted my head to the side as I read this and thought good and hard. I read and gleaned through the last of the article until certain words, phrases, and inbetween-lines started to pop out:

The husband that once completed your heart….

When you arrive home after meeting the demands of work, you will be expected to meet the demands of your family…

Remember that you are his wife….

Men, remember your bride. The care and love that she has given you will soon be spilled over to your children.

Repeating over and over again…. what is that? What is that feeling deep down in my stomach…? That itching against the inside of my skull?

Oh right.

I’m a fucking baby machine. Right? I cook, clean, and stay the fuck at home where I belong while my husband goes to work to provide for our family that is apparently trapped in the fucking 1940’s.

You know what WAS repeating over and over again in this article to the female reader? Two labels: Mother, and wife. There is something horridly wrong in that dichotomy. I do believe I am a woman and a human being as well, and am more than my vagina and my uterus.

I am absolutely baffled that this article speaks to the pre-child woman with such prophetic words, as if all women are going to be stay at home moms with husbands that work full time. I had to scroll up and make absolutely sure that this blog was written in 2014 because I could not believe it.

I have nothing against women who do this, nor would I ever tell a women what to do with their life. It’s theirs is to chose. Work, don’t work. Get married, don’t. I really don’t care. I would honestly hope that you remember that you have a mind of your own and that you are more than just a mom to your children, but I understand the demands get hard and if it makes you happy and fulfilled, by all means do it and do it hard.

BUT

This is not real life for the majority of women in our world today. More power to the women who become full-time stay at home moms,if that is their choosing. But… it’s not real life. Not anymore. Not today.

And that’s not a bad thing! It’s fantastic that a man can walk out on a woman when he gets her pregnant, and her be ok. It sucks, and he’s a dick, sure – but she doesn’t have to move in with her parents for the rest of her life with no hope of anything. She has hope.

Without being too overly verbose with where this is going: A woman can do things with herself other than get hitched, and get knocked up. I do not at all get the feeling that this blogger understand this, and that is what was itching against the inside of my skull.

The, of course, there was this:

“Let the Lord lead you both together. Because when the days are endless and the hours short, it will only be His love who keeps you together. It will only be His mercy that gently guides your hearts as one. Hold tightly to one another, and even more tightly to the Lord.”

Forgive me but… (or don’t, I really don’t care) I fucking knew it. This just had to be one of those conservative Christian type articles, didn’t it?
Sigh.

It’s times and articles like these, Scissortail Silk, that absolutely disgust and repel women away from religion and send us running for the hills. This is repulsive in every sense of the word to us Godless ladies. I hope you can see that. I don’t judge your life-choice, even though it makes me physically ill to my stomach, it’s yours to chose. Just… understand that it makes most real-life women want to stab themselves in the eye socket with a dull pencil.

No, we do not need God or religion or baby Jesus to have a loving, working, openly-communicating relationship. Mine has been going just fine without all that stuff. We’re actually operating worlds better than the marriage I had back when I was a born-again Christian. And the sex before marriage is just fantastic, really and truly.

I could offer multiple varying paradigms for parenthood and marriage/relationships that do not include God or the whole mommy-stay-home-all-day thing, that work for many couples. They’re all quite happy and functioning. I applaud the actual message of your article: Don’t forget each other. But everything else? Is not universally applicable. It only applies to those who agree with your life-choices. I do not