Stop #PrudeShaming: If You Can F*ck Anyone, You Can Also NOT F*ck Anyone

by Candice Jalili

If you want to take a trip to pound town with eight different guys tonight, you should feel free to do that.

But a lot of people wouldn't say the same thing. Unfortunately, slut-shaming still happens. We make girls feel bad or gross for their “numbers," calling them “dirty” or “unworthy." They're meant to feel bad for sleeping with a number of guys.

However, we know we're taking a step in the right direction by the number of campaigns that aim to stop slut-shaming and encourage women to embrace their sexualities. These groups want us to forget the shame and pound away.

But, by this same token, if you DON’T want to go to pound town with anybody tonight -- or any other night -- you shouldn't feel pressured to do that, either.

What about the girls who are NOT having sex? What about the ones who are saving themselves for marriage or would just rather develop a certain level of comfort with a guy before deciding to have sex with him?

I've found that the people who are so vehemently against any sort of #SlutShaming are often the ones calling other girls "prudes."

Ironically, I thought of this while I was having a conversation with my own mother. She had just attended a wedding for a woman who had saved herself for marriage. And my mother was mercilessly making fun of her ("Can you believe it?! SHE IS A 26-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN!!! What a loser.").

My mom is not often wrong, but she was wrong here. This woman is not a loser at all. She’s just someone who decided that she wanted to wait until she got married to have sex.

Nobody made that decision for her. She made that decision herself. Feminism is about celebrating choices.

We shouldn’t be shaming her, just like we shouldn’t be the shaming the girl on the altar who slept with a new guy every night before she met her husband.

We should end shame about a girl's "number" even when the number is zero.

My number is not zero, but it is relatively low. In the past, this has embarrassed me immensely -- not just in front of guys, but in front of friends who absolutely have way more experience with sex than I do.

The problem was that I was seeing my sexuality through the lens of every single person but myself. This guy is going to either assume I’m lying or that I’m really bad in bed. This girl is going to think I’m a loser because I'm a "prude." 

But what about me? What do I think about myself? How do I see my own sexuality?

For me, sex is enjoyable only if it is with someone who makes me very comfortable. My low number does not make me a liar, it does not make me bad in bed, and it absolutely does not make me a loser because I'm a "prude" (why is this an insult in the first place?).

It just makes me me, and I'm pretty happy with myself. That's what matters.

Your sexuality is just one part of who you are; it does not define you.

Someone who has never had sex is a virgin -- a word that people often use as an insult.

But the fact of the matter is that virgins are SO much more than their sexual history.

I mean, seriously. Think of yourself before you had sex: Were you just a walking, talking, breathing “virgin”? No, you were you -- minus a few notches on your belt.

And then, once you’re no longer a virgin, your attitude toward sex changes depending on your mood.

Sometimes you will go through a “dry spell,” when the thought of sleeping with somebody physically repulses you. Other times, you will wake up and find yourself a ravenous sexual being filled with lustrous desire.

Neither mindset is better than the other. Neither one defines you as a human being.

At the end of the day, what matters isn't how many people you’re sleeping with or not sleeping with. What matters is if you are having sex for yourself. Every time you have sex should be a win for you. 

You should not be having sex with someone to make that person happy, just as you should not be holding out to keep someone interested. Your sexuality is not a reward or a tool.

We have forgotten that sex is a private thing.

Two completely naked and vulnerable people putting parts of their bodies inside of each other is pretty much as private and vulnerable as it gets. But something has shifted in our society, and the conversation about sex has gotten into the public sphere.

Heck, just yesterday I wrote an entire piece on blue balls.

This openness can be a good thing. It fosters an awareness about sexual health and sexuality that didn't exist in any generation before us.

But it also has one fundamental flaw: It makes it seem like everyone is having tons of sex all of the time.

Just turn on the TV and flip through the channels to find up-close and personal cameos of couples doing the nasty everywhere from the shower to the bar bathroom. Even someone with the most bumping sex life -- let alone someone with no sex life at all -- can't help but feel inadequate.

What we need to do is remind ourselves that there is no “normal” when it comes to sexuality. Your sex life is your business and your business only. What feels “normal” to you is what’s right for you.

If you have faith in your own choices, other people's opinions won't bring you down.

What you do with your own sexuality should be a decision you make for yourself. And just like any other decision you make for yourself, you should be confident in your choices.

You haven’t slept with a lot of people yet because that was your choice -- and that is OKAY.