A friend of mine and I were discussing sexuality and how it ties into the lives of Black women. She brought up this particular topic because she said that it had been a cutting edge sword for some women in some of the spaces she frequents. Though sexuality is much more celebrated and blatant than ever before, casual sex still continues to a controversial issue due to the fact that many women believe that it is their right to choose what they want to when it comes to sexual intercourse.
Personally, I don’t really believe in having casual sex. My reasoning is that having sexual intercourse with another person, whether it be a man or a woman, has far more serious ramifications than it entails. When one has sexual intercourse, he or she is creating emotional and spiritual ties with that person. That is why some people still think about the person that they had sexual intercourse with days, months or even years down the road. Having sexual intercourse creates an spiritual and emotional bond because the chemical, Oxytocin is released. When Oxytocin is released during an orgasm and intercourse, bonding ensures. This same chemical is also responsible for infant/mother bonding. Why have sexual intercourse with various people and forming emotional ties if you aren’t in a serious relationship with them? The emotional bonding that occurs during sexual intercourse is why I am careful with who I choose to have sex with and whether or not I know and trust him enough with my body, mind and spirit.
Another reason why I don’t believe in having casual sex is due to the fact that I have seen the effects of casual sex amongst those close to me. I have seen various women in my family become pregnant unexpectedly or contact an STD due to having casual sex. Personally, I don’t think it is worth contacting HIV or becoming pregnant out of the blue for the sake of having a ”good time” in bed. Also contacting an STD and becoming pregnant unexpectedly has very detrimental effects on women’s livelihood especially Black women’s. Statistically, Black women have the highest rates of baring children outside of wedlock and contacting STDs from their partners. It is not my intention to shame single mothers or women with STDs but I believe that more of us should use protection and better judgment when it comes to sexual intercourse.
Additionally, Black women are still seen as Jezebels and sexually lascivious. Black women aren’t given the same benefit of a doubt when it comes to sexuality that White and even other non Black women are given. Societal pressures and pressures within our own community shame Black women, that flaunt their sexuality openly. Other races of women have protection from their communities and aren’t as harshly scrutinized for their sexuality.For Black women, it is assumed that the average Black woman has two or more children with different men and has numerous sexual partners. She doesn’t have anyone in her communities or allies outside of her communities to defend and protect her. A Black woman engaging in casual sex is seen as a ho and relegated to future ”baby mama” status. And a Black woman that engages in casual sex with her significant other and becomes pregnant, she is automatically blamed for her own pregnancy. Add the plague of generational poverty and lower economic and political power to the issue of casual sex, many Black are slowly realizing that the same sex liberation White women trout doesn’t necessarily apply to them. Though, I am firmly against respectability politics that polices Black women’s sexuality, I believe that the racist and sexist stereotypes of Black women’s sexuality should make us think about ways to counteract them.
Last but not least, I was raised attending Christian schools. I graduated from a Catholic high school two years ago. What I was taught about sex in parochial schooling was that sex was only for procreation and pleasure between a man and a woman. So my views of sexual intercourse does come off as a bit conservative and strict. Since I graduated from high school, I have distanced myself from organized religion. Nowadays, I identify as Agnostic. But what I have been taught about sexual intercourse has stayed with me. However, I did do my own research on sex, birth control and the importance of knowing the consequences that comes with having sex. Though I am not under the belief, that a woman has to be a virgin at her wedding night any longer, I do believe that it is important to choose wisely when it comes to having sexual partners. Using birth control and condoms during sexual intercourse is also another must to protect one’s physical health as well. As I get older, I realize much of my training in parochial schooling is based on old and outdated, patriarchal beliefs about sex, purity and womanhood. Though it isn’t easy to shake off everything that I was taught about sexuality in parochial schooling, I do believe that women should be cautious when it comes to having sexual relations.
Why do some women think it is okay to have casual sex?
Opposing viewpoints on casual sex is another segment that will be analyzed and critiqued. Some women are more free when it comes to expressing their sexuality than others. I am not one of those women. Some women believe that there isn’t anything wrong with casual sex because sex is just sex. Or they believe that having casual sex is not a huge deal. Many of these women believe that those who condemn casual sex are somehow puritan in their views of sex and want to control women’s sexuality. There is some truth to this belief because there are many people, especially those in Washington, who try the best to restrict women’s access to appropriate forms of healthcare needed to protect their health. There are the same people who use old, outdated forms of Madonna/Whore complex to shame women out of having sexual intercourse or embracing their sexuality at all. Due to my own experience, there is some truth to such claims but I believe that there are much more risks involved in engaging in casual sex.
Another argument for casual sex is rooted in second wave feminism, ”Women’s Movement” of the 1960s and 1970s. Back then, many young, middle classed White women were dissatisfied with their lives. Many of these young women were relegated to being housewives, teachers and other positions that were predominately dominated by women without having the same stronghold as White men. Abortion was illegal and access to appropriate contraception wasn’t accessible. Casual sex especially premarital sex was immoral and sexually defunct. Women’s sexuality and position was strictly moderated by a patriarchal society. Fortunately, all of that changed in 1960 when the pill came out. This pill was a pill that helped reduce pregnancy. The latter 1960s saw the beginning of the Vietnam War, Civil Rights Movement, Hippie Movement and Women’s Movement. However, second wave feminism spawned the women’s movement and was influenced the Hippie Movement. The Women’s movement was a movement that demanded that women be paid equally to men, have the same rights as men and their sexuality be respected on par with men. The influence of the Hippie Movement played a role in shaping women’s sexuality because the movement helped encourage middle class, White women to embrace their sexuality even if they came off as vulgar. Many of these women refused to wear makeup, burned their bras and tried to normalize sexual relations outside of marriage. Thus the term, ”free love” came out of it but much of the ”free love” of the 1960s and 1970s led to the insurgence of STDs like HIV and many others to come on the scene. Since the influence of the hard partying, drug fused 1960s and 1970s, casual sex, cohabitation and women having numerous sexual partners has become the norm in society regardless of the views of others.
Furthermore, many Black women and other women of color have also felt the burnt of sexual politics rearing it’s ugly head. Black and other women of color are deemed ”Jezebels”, spicy and lascivious even before they can disprove it. Many communities of color particularly the Black collective monitor their women’s sexuality because they don’t want the women to be seen as ”loose”. That is why many Black women have experienced elders trying to police their sexuality by telling them not to wear that dress, not date and focus on school. Unfortunately, this didn’t prevent the rising number of Black women and girls, who continued to have children outside of wedlock. Instead of telling these girls about healthy use of contraception and the ramifications of having sex, they tell them to avoid sex as if it is a dirty thing. Nothing is dirty about sex at all. Sex is natural. Yet the men in the Black communities are let off the hook and encouraged to explore their sexuality. Black males can have as many sexual partners as they want and not be shamed while Black women are shamed for performing a blow job on a man. Men aren’t held to the same standards when it comes to engaging in casual sex. Nor are these men admonished if they have children with various women and walk out on them. That is why the likes of R Kelly is celebrated in the Black collective while Ciara is seen as ”ho” for having a child out of wedlock. Policing of Black women’s sexuality in the Black collective only plays into the wider patriarchal society’s disdain for Blackness and womanhood. Though some Black women did find some solace in the rhetoric of the Women’s Movement, many Black women are still entrenched in policing their own and other Black women’s sexuality in order to cater to society and other Black people’s views of Black womanhood.
Most of all, many people who don’t mind casual sex are those who engage in it themselves. Many of the people, who engage in casual sex, haven’t gotten pregnant or haven’t catched an STD. So they don’t a problem with engaging in casual sex. Or they believe that there isn’t anything wrong with getting pleasure from sexual relations. Other people who argue in favor of casual sex believe that patriarchal standards of womanhood seeks to limit how women embrace their sexuality. Either way, I believe that there are certain ramifications of sexual intercourse despite what we feel is best fit for our sexual lives.
Ultimately, I do not believe in engaging in casual intercourse with various people. My intention isn’t to control and judge women and men, who do engage in casual intercourse. However, my intention is to show others two points of views and to encourage people to understand the ramifications of having sex. I also believe that using protection and getting protected is a must as well. Hence my argument that sexual intercourse is a serious and life alternating actions that can either benefit or cost you in the long run.