I have found that women of my generation have a variety of views on sex. Some have never had it. Some cannot wait to have it. And some cannot get enough. I love the series Sex and the City. It is something I cannot get enough of, but I find that it presents a very specific view of sex.
I went to a small southern college with a former Baptist connection. I am neither southern nor Baptist. Though I waited until my senior year of college to take the sexual leap, I had many friends who were quite experienced and shunned for embracing their sexuality. I was and am a member of a prestigious national sorority. I distinctly remember eavesdropping on a conversation during a practice round for rush in which one of my sister’s commented that she was allergic to latex and wondered if there were any other sexual health options for her.
Some of my sisters were offended that she would ask such a question. Others told her to go sans condom. That is when I stepped in to inform her of non-latex condom options and that no condom was not an option. Two weeks later I was defending myself in our standards committee for discussing inappropriate topics at a sorority sanctioned event. I was pissed to say the least. During the same year, my alma mater underwent a revision of the campus “condom policy”—whether or not the student health center was allowed to distribute free condoms to students. This was the type of sexually un-accepting place I spent one the most traditionally sexually formative periods of my life.
I knew of peers in college who got married specifically so they could have sex. I had friends who received their first kiss at the altar. I have close friends who will not engage in any form of sex until they are married. I have often felt judged by these women. I believe that our sexual decisions are our own. Sexual and mental health are tied together. I personally do not think that my relationship with God is predicated on my sex life. I doubt God would care if I am a virgin or not, but I do hope that if I was abusing myself in that regard that she would loving ask me what it is I was doing and why.
Yes, I admit it. As hard as I may try, I have judged my friend’s sexual decisions and probably will again. Some choices my friends make are so foreign I cannot conceptually understand how they come to such decisions. When one of my good friends in college told me that, as a high school junior, she engaged in anal sex because it was “not really sex” I laughed at her. She laughed at herself, and we became fast friends. I have been concerned by some of my friend’s sexual decisions and in this regard I believe I have judged. But only out of love. I fear that many of my friends are making choices that could cause irreparable harm. One jumps into bed with nearly anything that moves. Another sleeps with the same set of men because they are safe, and she fears rejection. Yet another is both mentally and physically ready to take the leap, but fears her family will disown her if they were to ever know that she engaged in sex. I only want these women to be happy and healthy.
My mother was always very honest and open with me about sex. She told me that someday I would know when I was ready. She was right. When she was younger, she was very modest and conservative. My grandmother was not. When my mother got engaged to her first husband as a senior in college, my grandmother asked her over lunch if she and her fiancé had ever had sex. Without missing a beat or waiting for a response she continued, stating that, “you would never buy a shoe without trying it on first.” Though my mother responded by nearly choking on her tuna fish sandwich, I think my grandmother was on to something.