It just occurred to me that I am very similar to the people I was supposed to look down on ‘in love’.
(snipped from http://alanagkelly.blogspot.com/2009_02_01_archive.html)
A person who stays a virgin or does not engage in sexual activity can have way more in common with a person who is promiscuous.
Both of them could be motivated by a feeling of not owning their own body or not having enough self-worth to decide what they really want or need.
A person in an evangelical Christian community may refrain from sex for terrible reasons. I had the feeling that I did not own my own body. God owned it, and I was his property. The reason he didn’t want me to do anything sexual was because it was assumed my body would then become property of another man- a husband, who presumably wouldn’t want his wife to have any experience in knowing her own body or anyone else’s.
I was so afraid of disappointing the invisible them, that I didn’t really like my body, but was ashamed of it. Many evangelical leaders delight in that self-disgust and are glad that shame keeps people from doing certain things. I don’t know how many times I was told what a priceless gift virginity was and that I would be stealing from God and my future husband if I ‘messed around’.
Stealing. from. THEM.
Because they owned me.
How different is this from someone who does fool around because they have no self-worth? Someone who doesn’t say no because they don’t feel they have the right to. A girl in Zambia talked about how she always gave sex to the older men in her village when they asked because they were older men.
They had the right to her own body that she didn’t have.
(When she learned she could say no, and that boys her own age would support her, the whole village went into uproar. )
Conversely, a person who does not have sex because they don’t want it or are waiting for a healthy relationship has a lot more in common with someone who is ethically promiscuous. Both of them are motivated by a sense of ownership and self-respect.
Nothing is going to happen if they aren’t enthusiastically consenting to it. Because they own their bodies, they don’t feel shame in exercising them.
There is a world of difference between a girl I used to hang out with who was promiscuous because she hated herself and another friend who is non-monogamous but has huge respect for herself and her partners.
I used to have more in common with the first young woman. We felt ashamed of ourselves. Our behaviours were very different, but shame and fear were strong motivators.
Funny, I thought if the first young woman would just get more fear and a stronger feeling of being god’s property instead of her own person, her behaviour would change. It didn’t work. Finding a healthy community of people who respected her did.
Now I have more in common with the second woman. My behaviour hasn’t changed but my values have. For the better.