Change The Conversation: Why Girls Get Shamed, But Boys Will Be Boys

by Meaghan Lehrer

While making love can be, for all intents and purposes, a beautiful, fun and natural act, society still places a stigma on premarital sex.

Whether your religion forbids it or your mother simply told you to keep your legs shut, there’s a pretty good chance you shame yourself when you have a little whoopsie moment and end up walking to your car with your heels in your hand at 8 am.

I mean, it isn’t called "the walk of shame" because any neighbors who see you do this are silently applauding your life choices.

But, with men getting to walk “the stride of pride” and women getting stuck with “the walk of shame,” I have to ask why, even as an adult, I still find that along with men shaming promiscuous women, women are also throwing stones at their female peers.

A study conducted at Brown University revealed that sexually-active high school girls have 2.27 times the odds of being bullied compared to boys who are also sexually active.

Girls who became sexually active at younger ages were more prone to bullying than, say, any of the boys who engaged in these acts with them.

This is not to say that sexually-active young boys are not prone to bullying as well, but with statistics claiming that sexually-active young girls are more than twice as prone to harassment than their partners, this could be an indicator as to why women are more likely to both feel and be shamed when they have casual sex as adults. They say high school never ends, right?

So, what are we teaching our young girls? Boys will be boys, but girls will be shamed.

While on a date with a very charming gentleman, whom after about five minutes into dinner, I decided I wanted to go home and have sex with, I was led to imagine the following two scenarios:

Scenario One: Guy meets girl. Guy takes girl on date. Guy has sex with girl. Guy never calls girl again. Girl is stupid and a slut.

Scenario Two: Girl meets guy. Girl goes on date with guy. Girl has sex with guy. Girl never answers his calls again. Girl is stupid and a slut… and just wanted a free dinner.

Hey, a girl’s gotta eat, right?

Have we not proven ourselves time and again to be equal to men in the workplace and in the bedroom? So, what makes a man so much better than a woman that he gets to win in either scenario? The answer: nothing. We have simply been wired to believe that is just the way it goes.

Women also — oh my gosh, this may shock you — have needs. I’m certainly not saying I went on a date with this guy just for free a dinner and to get some action.

The opportunity to have dinner and drinks with an intelligent and good-looking man isn’t something most 20-something single women often pass up. At the same time, I have sexual desires and needs just as any man does.

However, as we walked to his car after grabbing breakfast the next morning, he said something that still has not left me, "Don’t feel bad for sleeping with me on the first date."

Oh, okay! Wait… was I supposed to?

Even though it has been proven that during sex, the chemical oxytocin releases in a woman’s brain and can emotionally bind her to the man she sleeps with, that doesn’t mean she has to automatically fall in love with whomever she rolls around in the sheets.

Women get horny, just as men do, and some women want to have sex without strings attached, just as some men do.

This is not something a woman who has no desire to currently be in a committed relationship should have to explain until she is blue in the face to anyone who questions her motives.

Women can now vote and do crazy things like wear pants and be CEOs of major corporations.

A woman can run for president (although she’d probably deal with a whole mess of eye rolls and PMS jokes). Women have proven themselves capable of doing just about anything a man can do… besides have casual sex, of course.

Although I don’t believe it was an ill-intentioned thought, the man I slept with on the first date head held high the next morning, while actually believing because I'm a woman, I incapable to do the same.

If men can walk away with their dignity in tact, why can’t single women let go of what they were told is shameful behavior and start to not only think for themselves, but also allow their female peers the same luxury?

The change can only start if women begin to have each other’s backs and stand up for one another when this hideously outdated “slut-shaming” phenomenon occurs.

If women stand up for each other — especially in the company of men — when another woman is shamed or has nasty things said about her, then the opinion of whomever is throwing the stones will begin to hold much less value.

If you want to do something, whatever it may be, then do it. If you don’t, then don’t, but the decision is yours is to make.

Whether or not someone agrees with what you decide, if it holds no negative effect on his or her life, then the judgment should have no effect on yours.

Being young and single is an exquisite time in a woman’s life. As she grows older and heads into her 30s, 40s and eventually enters menopause, she is likely to acquire a spouse, a home, children, grandchildren and countless invaluable memories.

I look forward to my future, but I am in no hurry to get there.

I have the rest of my life to be settled and sleep with the same person. I have the rest of my life to live with my spouse and have the epic responsibility of taking care of a family.

For now, I see no shame in enjoying having safe sex with a man I deem irresistible, even if just for one night.

Living in an age of information and technology, we have things that protect us from STDs, unwanted pregnancy and even unwanted sex.

There’s now a nail polish women can wear to indicate whether her drink was spiked with date rape drugs. We carry cell phones and can text or call anyone at any time. We can drop a pin on our phones and send our location to 10 girlfriends if we feel it necessary.

Women can use so many resources to date safely: Meet in a public setting, tell a trusted friend, so he or she knows with whom you are going out, and only go home with someone if he makes you feel comfortable and never at any point obligated you to do so.

Ask yourself if you want this for the right reasons, and if you do, then have some damn fun. Enjoy yourself and feel like the sexy, incredible woman you are.

Whether you decide to make him wait or to rip his pants off the moment you get the chance, the decision is ultimately yours and is no one else’s business.

As Samantha Jones said, “I will not be judged by society. I will wear whatever and blow whomever I want as long as I can breathe and kneel!”

Cheers, Sammy Jo.