The Shadows & Shame & Stigma of Sex

DISCLAIMER: I am angry, and this will likely be a rant. If this post offends you, I urge you to examine your own views of sex, how you use or don’t use it, your own comfort level and how you communicate and/or act in your day to day life.

If I had a penny for every woman and girl who felt some shame about sex and her own sexuality, I could retire immediately. Even women, like myself, who feel very comfortable in their own skin and embrace their sexuality, carry some semblance of shame.

As I walked the dog this morning, I was still feeling tired, but as in usual fashion, sought out the beauty of the day.

Like most weekend mornings, I often run into a few of my dog walking neighbors. All of us typically sport bedhead hair, mismatched clothes and flip flops. This morning, I was wearing a shirt that had the second button down, unbuttoned. I was unaware of this until one of my male neighbors made mention of it. There was absolutely nothing to see. NOTHING. My neighbor was absolutely respectful, but then made an off the cuff comment about others possibly getting the wrong message because I’m “so darned cute.”

yosemite sam
I felt like pissed off Yosemite Sam

This infuriated me. I’m still angry.  I simply responded to my neighbor, (while breathing deeply), “I call this shirt, my Hefty bag shirt. If anyone gets the wrong message from this or any other piece of clothing I wear, or because they think I’m so darned cute, they need to spend more time checking themselves, and less time checking me out.”

While any human being likes to be thought of as attractive, this type of thinking is totally unacceptable. If you know me well, you are aware of my fierce dedication to doing all I can to help break society free of rape culture. My perfectly nice neighbor, who was just trying to protect me and give me a compliment, (I think), was giving rape culture some breakfast.

I nearly apologized for my response to my neighbor, but really, I 100% believed in exactly what I said to him. I even wished I hadn’t made an excuse about wearing my “Hefty shirt.” It doesn’t matter what I’m wearing!

I walked on and took some lovely, serene photos. There was fog, sunshine and the intoxicating smell of autumn.IMG_20170903_063439834Still, I couldn’t fully shake my fury. The beauty of the morning did a pretty good job of upstaging my grumpy mood, but not entirely.

I thought about my eldest daughter and how boys and even grown men harass her with great frequency. When she talks about this with others, (and sometimes with fear), more times than not, the response is, “He just likes you.”  (smile/lighthearted chuckle)

And yes, I have zero tolerance for this response.

I spend as much time as is necessary communicating to my daughters that this is complete and utter bullshit. “If a boy likes you, he invests in you.” Naturally, a lot more is said about how these types of responses are not okay in any way, shape or form. I’m fairly certain my daughters can’t wait for my diatribe to be over, but I will never stop telling my daughters the truth.

My shame is this –  I am ashamed that I even think about whether or not I can wear something when I’m getting dressed for the day. I like to feel attractive as we all do, and certain items, make me feel attractive and even sexy. Please note that I dress for me and not for you. If I am dressing for you, I promise I will let you know.

When women show their cleavage, or their midriffs or their legs, etc. This doesn’t mean you have any say on the matter. If a woman writes, reads or discusses erotica freely or loves nude photography, it isn’t an invitation to be intimate with her. It isn’t as if your chances increase because a woman is sexually comfortable with herself. Quite the opposite, in fact.

The anger I feel about any individual thinking they have to edit themselves or hide their bodies or tamper their beautiful sexuality because others just don’t get it, strengthens my resolve. I am more committed than ever to correcting what needs to be corrected.

So please… Think before you speak. Think before you act. And when you ruminate over a woman, think of the whole woman, warts and all. THIS is what will give you a fighting chance with her.

Whew. I am on fire.

Thanks for reading this and if what I say matters, wakes you up to your part in feeding the beast and creates a shift, all the better.


Author: PKW

Writer, Speaker, Facilitator, Trainer, Fundraiser, Strategist, Listener, and Lover of Humans. My love for humans and relationship building are a part of every single thing I do, except for maybe using the bathroom.

3 thoughts on “The Shadows & Shame & Stigma of Sex”

  1. Bravo! Your daughters (and readers!) are lucky to have your example. Unwinding the shame around sexuality and body image that’s been passed down to me is exhausting and confusing work. I’m grateful that I’m breaking free now, but I’ve lost a lot of time and done a lot of damage to myself. I’m hopeful that ripple effects like the one you’ve created here will turn the tide toward sanity and wholeness.

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