Why Everyone Needs Sex Education

I know, I know, I’m still talking about the issues surrounding abortion. But it’s still consuming my brain and it’s still making me angry. My big stance is that abortion really isn’t the true issue here, that abortion is a solution to a lot of larger issues that are not being addressed. I also truly believe that everyone wants to lower the abortion rate, whether they be pro-life or pro-choice, we just have very different philosophies on how to accomplish that. I’m not really interested in debating people about when life begins, but I am interested in discussing ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies before they even happen.

This week I want to focus on one particular way I believe we can prevent unwanted pregnancies, and thus lower the abortion rate: Sex Education. Last week I talked about all of the reasons why I get to say with confidence that I would not have an abortion, and one of the big ways was that I had comprehensive sex education from sixth through ninth grade.

So this week I want to advocate for comprehensive sex education in schools. Here are my top four reasons why I believe everyone, regardless of religions beliefs or sexual intentions, should have comprehensive sexual education.

Comprehensive sex education lowers the rate of teen pregnancy.

Yes I am repeating myself, but I think it’s worth driving home. You can’t prevent pregnancy if you don’t know how. Understanding how birth control works and does not work. Knowing how to get it. Knowing how long semen lives outside the body. Know the difference between mensuration and ovulation. I learned about all of these before I even reached my teen years.

One of the many reasons I have not had an unplanned pregnancy is because I knew how not to get pregnant before I was ever having sex.

Values about sex can be taught at home, but facts should be taught in school.

As a parent you have every right to educate your children on your value system. But that doesn’t mean that you should shelter them from the facts either. And learning about safe sex and contraceptives does not mean someone is going to immediately go out and have sex. Values and facts are equally important when deciding how you want to go about your sexuality.

Even if you wait until marriage, you still need sex education.

 If you ever plan on having sex, you need sex education. Even if you are going to wait until marriage, even if you only ever have one sexual partner, even if you don’t believe in birth control and only want to have sex to have babies. You need to be sexually educated. All of that requires an education. If you are going to be sexually active at all you need to know how to not get pregnant just as much as you need to know how to get pregnant. Sexual education is not just for those who plan on having sex outside of marriage.

Sex education isn’t just about having sex.

Sex Ed is about so much more than having sex. There is so much more to learn about your body than just how to have sex with it. Health and hygiene is also a large part of sex education. How to wash, how not to wash too much, how to recognize a UTI (which you can get without ever having sex), are all important things to understand about your body even if you never plan on having sex.

Again, I’m not here to tell you when life begins. I’m not here to tell you when to or not to have sex. I am here to argue that there are ways we can lower the abortion rate, ways we can prevent unwanted pregnancies that we are not discussing. And we need to discuss them. We need to address the reasons why women get abortions rather than punishing them for not having the education, resources, and opportunities that they need to prevent an unwanted pregnancy in the first place.


Ways Men Show Sexism in the Bedroom

Guys, it’s time we have a very real talk. We’ve talked a lot this year about ways that women are being treated poorly in big and small ways. We’ve even had a lot of talks about consent. But there is still one big arena that you are showing major sexism that we need to discuss: The Bedroom.

Now it’s not surprising. It is said that what happens in the bedroom reflects what happens in the real world. So if you are struggling to treat women well in your day to day life, it stands to reason you will struggle to treat women well in the bedroom as well. But you Guys have some very problematic behavior that us Ladies are getting pretty sick and tired of. Women are not sexual objects for you to masturbate with and you need to stop treating us like that’s all we are.

So let’s talk about ways you can improve your behavior – and performance – in the bedroom.

Not Bringing Your Own Condoms
It’s always best to be prepared. And Ladies, I definitely advise keeping your own stash on hand when you are single and mingling, because men are the most unreliable of people. Birth control is now available in many forms and allows us women to feel more in control of our body than ever before. Which has resulted in men assuming we will take on the responsibility of providing the goalie, and that they are off the hook. Despite the fact that condoms are still the only form of birth control that protect against STI’s, and are the only form of BC made for men, men are disturbingly unprepared when it comes to hook ups. And that is very concerning behavior! Guys, you need to be taking responsibility for your hook ups. You want to know what is crazy sexy? A guy who comes prepared. Do you know what makes a new sexual partner feel safe with you? Bringing your own condom. And take it the extra mile and wear it without being asked. Safe sex is super sexy sex.

And Guys, I get it. Sex with a condom just doesn’t feel as good as going raw. But do you know what else doesn’t feel so good? Chlamydia. You know what else sucks? Paying child support. So why aren’t you bringing your own condoms to your dates?

Step one in treating women better in the bedroom: providing your own birth control.

Receiving But Not Giving
Oral sex is wonderful. But Guys, you have gotten incredibly greedy when it comes to oral sex. Expectations for oral sex are high, pressure to get oral sex is high. But the worst of your offenses: not returning the favor.

Oral sex is a lot of fun, but if you want to get you better be giving. Everyone knows you give to get. So Guys, stop being selfish in bed and start going down.

And hey, don’t just take my advice. Lesbians know what’s up here too.



Prioritizing Their Orgasm
I could write something witty and quippy here, but this Babe.net video does a much better job than I ever could. And should be required viewing for all men before engaging in sexual activity with another person.


Sorry You’re on Your Period, Can you Get Me Off Though? 
Periods suck. But Guys, I promise they suck more for women than they do for you. There are few things more selfish in bed than asking for your partner to get you off when they are feeling the opposite of sexual. So suck it up for a few days and take care of yourself.


So Guys, try to think of your sexual partner as just that, your partner. Stop being so focused on your orgasm and your pleasure, and start focusing on your partners. Stop making sex all about you. You’re going to get your orgasm, don’t worry. Start paying more attention to whether or not your sexual partner is actually enjoying themselves too. Otherwise it’s not sex, it’s just masturbating with a body.

The rumors are true, we women do talk to each other about everything. And you have a pretty bad reputation right now.




Bathing Suit Season

I took last week off to go to Maui. Even Angry Feminists need breaks. It was divine. It was perfect. I swam in the beach, consumed as much pineapple as I could find, I went from being porcelain pale to normal person pale. I cried multiple times on our last day. And today I am very grumpy to be back in cold, rainy Seattle. I am wearing long sleeves, long pants, I have my space heater on, and I have to wear a bra again.

While on this vacation I spent a good chunk of the week sporting a very controversial outfit: a bathing suit.

Bathing suits are charged with so much drama and anxiety that honestly the simple act of wearing a bathing suit feels ambitious and defiant. From arguments about modesty, to over sexualization of the female body, to body image pressure, a joyous day on the beach enjoying the sun can turn into an anxiety filled depression spiral pretty quickly.

I’ve talked about Modesty before. Ive also talked about Sexualization a lot. And both play a major role in the bathing suit conversation, further amplifying the struggle women face whenever they go out in public to be sexy but not too sexy, to express themselves and to protect themselves. It’s a real shit show.

I haven’t talked much about body image yet.

When it comes to body image and bathing suits there are two schools of thought. Spend all winter working out and eating well to get your body “bikini ready”. Or, all you need is a body to have a bikini body. My facebook is littered with ads and articles about both approaches. Try this diet supplement to get your body bikini ready! Try this workout plan to get your best beach body! How I learned to love my body just as it is! Articles justifying bigger bodies, articles glorifying skinny bodies. Read this, try that, do more.

It can start to feel like everyone has an opinion about how we “should” look in a bathing suit. Which, if you actually put on a bathing suit and go out in public, can make you feel like everyone is paying attention to you and judging you for how you look in what you are wearing.

And it’s stressful. Terrifying. It leads to women crying in dressing rooms while trying to find their bathing suit for the summer.

But, if you finally do it, you realize something incredible: no one cares. People don’t go to the pool or to the beach to scrutinize, ridicule, or police other peoples bodies. They go to enjoy the water and the sunshine, just like you did!

I have a pale curvy body, with too much here and too much there, and no one screamed in horror at my body, no one commented, starred, or shamed me. Men weren’t losing control of themselves due to my exposed skin. I actually don’t even think I caught anyone staring at my cleavage. We swam in the ocean and the pool for hours upon hours. We had many pleasant conversations with people in the hot tub. It was a lovely time.

So I guess my take is this: live your happy. And most importantly, don’t let something as silly as a beach body prevent you from experiencing anything.


Being a Woman is Exhausting

I like to go running. I find it very therapeutic and cathartic. It’s not for everyone, but it is certainly for me. I go running for the health benefits and for the mental benefits. I like how strong I feel by the end, I like to push through everything and accomplish my goal. I like listening to my music and clearing my head. I like spending time in the sun when the weather is nice.

Running is my me time.

And yet, several of my male neighbors seem to think I run for their benefit.

To clarify, I do not doll myself up when I work out. Some women do (and that is great!). But I am not one of those women. I wear old baggy workout clothes that are neither form fitting or flattering. I turn red in the face almost instantly (#Scottish). I sweat a lot. I have horrible sinus problems so my breathing sounds strained all the time. When I run, I am not putting my sexiest foot forward. And I am not bothered by that one bit. Because running is my me time. I do it for me and me alone.

And yet, so many of the men in my neighborhood seem to think they are welcome to interject into this experience.

I have one neighbor who makes a habit of coming outside to comment on my form and figure when he sees me coming. I actually changed my running route for a while (which was difficult as he is very close to my home, so I was going quite out of my way to avoid his house) because I felt so uncomfortable.

I used to run by some local businesses near my home but too many men would get in my way to try and stop me to talk to me that I, again, changed my running route.

If my male neighbors are doing yard work they will, without fail, shout something at me and expect me to stop and talk to them. I don’t. And so they yell at me about how I am rude.

I regularly have men get in my way on the sidewalk to try and talk to me while running. Men walking their dogs, men out for their own cardio, men running errands. Men who simply refuse to get out of the way because why should they.

Every male I encounter while I go running insists on interacting with me to some degree. Some even insist on stopping me when I won’t interact with them. Every time.

However, I never have women bother me while running. Women step aside and make room, perhaps they will smile politely as we pass by one another. Every so often another woman out running will say something encouraging like “we got this!” or “way to go!” but then they go about their merry way.

A woman has never offered commentary on my figure, my form, or offered any opinion whatsoever while I was out running. A woman has never shouted obscene things at me and then shouted more obscene things when I did my best to ignore them and go about my business. A woman has never tried to stop me while I was running to force an interaction with me. A woman has never stayed in my way while I am running. I have never changed my running route because a woman neighbor made me feel unsafe and uncomfortable.

Being a woman is exhausting.

The number of times I feel unsafe in my day to day because of men, the amount of times I have changed up my regular routines to avoid men who make me uncomfortable is far too often. I can’t do something as simple as put in headphones and go for a run without being harassed by at least one man.

I am constantly calculating the danger the men around me impose. Should I cross the street? Will avoiding eye contact be enough? Is that car following me? Is it time to just change my routes and routines to avoid these men altogether because clearly this isn’t going away on it’s own? Some days I contemplate dressing differently but I know that doesn’t matter; I get harassed and ogled regardless as to how I look.

And the problem is these creeps aren’t drugged out crazed homeless people in high urban areas. They are my neighbors. They are local business owners. They are “normal” guys in my community. They have wives, children, dogs, they own homes. I actually live in a very safe neighborhood with what are considered respectable people. And yet, these men still make me feel unsafe and uncomfortable often.

As a society, we have a Men Issue. And we aren’t dealing with it. So I have to keep changing my running route to avoid getting harassed by my normal, respectable neighbors because I am not seen as a person but rather a pair of tits on a stick.

And it’s exhausting.



7 Stereotypical Challenges Women Face in Relationships That Men Don’t

If you haven’t figured it out yet let me tell you: there is a huge disparity between the expectations placed on women vs men. In every aspect of life, the expectations of women are greater than men. From the workplace, to the home, to any relationships at all. We expect so much more of women, and cut men so much slack. We ask, we expect, we demand so much of women in all corners of life. And believe me, it’s exhausting.

So this week, let’s explore some of the ways we unfairly challenge women in romantic (hetero) relationships that we would never place on men.

  1. Why are you single in the first place?

Society expects women to settle down and applies much more pressure to women than to men. There are plenty of misconceptions about single women (single women are spinsters or cat ladies, single men are bachelors), and they all stem from the sexist idea that marriage is the ultimate goal for a woman. We no longer live in a time when women have to partner up with a spouse for security (because women can now have an education and a career). And yet we still expect women to marry much earlier than we expect men to. Whereas our culture is much more comfortable with the idea of a single bachelor who isn’t interested in settling down.

  1. Why a woman would want to pay on a date?

As dating becomes more “modern” many elements are challenged about dating culture. One of the big debates is who should pay? Should you split the check? Should the person who initiated the date pay? Should the man always pay? The whole tradition of men paying on a first date stems from old sexist ways (women didn’t used to have income, after all), and it burdens both men and women now.

There are lots of studies on what people actually think about who ends up paying (Match.com found that 71% of men find it attractive to split the bill). But what I found most alarming was that 74% of women offer to pay to avoid obligations for anything on the date – physical intimacy or another date.

  1. Making more money.

And to bring the issue full circle, now not only can women work and earn their own income, they can actually earn more than their male romantic prospects. And while we would never be concerned, or worried, or warn against, or find it problematic in a relationship for the man to earn more than the woman, it seems it is highly problematic for the woman to be the higher bread winner. Women earning more is approached as an obstacle, something the couple will need to “manage”. Some statistics even suggest women earning more are less likely to get married.

  1. Not being interested in living with their significant other.

Moving in with your SO is a significant milestone in a relationship. And similar to the stereotype that all women want to be in a relationship, women are also expected to want that peak commitment milestone much sooner than men. Men can have their “bachelor pad” but women are expected to “nest”. You see endless articles about “How to get your man to want to settle down” because it is just assumed that the woman is always ready to settle down. Wild oats and living alone is for men, women are supposed to be in constant committed relationship mentality (though who are these men sowing their wild oats with then?).

  1. Why are you so dressed up if you already have a significant other?

Let’s be honest, women’s bodies and appearances are constantly being policed in ways that men are not. And obviously the only reason a woman would ever doll up is to attract a man, so what are you looking for if you already have a man? It couldn’t possibly be because you like that dress or your hair done a certain way or enjoy putting on make up for yourself. Clearly all of this is for attracting a husband.

  1. Why are you not dressed up?

And the opposite side of that coin: are you letting yourself go? And of course the implication is the same: you should always be dressing to please the men around you. Meanwhile, the “dad bod” is totally acceptable. Women are either too exposed or too conservative; too attractive or not attractive enough. There isn’t really a happy medium, no matter how a woman presents herself someone will be upset. And it seems to be impossible to convince people that a woman dresses herself for reasons other than to please a man.

  1. Why aren’t you married yet?

Or better yet, isn’t your biological clock ticking? Men can have children at any age, so they can be single and ready to mingle for their entire lives. But women only have a few decades to be baby machines. And women only have two purposes in life: pleasing men and making babies.

Being a woman is hard. There are higher expectations and a lot less grace. More judgements and more shame. Every accomplishment is fought for, and then seen as a threat to the men in our lives. Everyone has an opinion on every choice a woman makes, and it’s lose/lose across the board.  We can’t even fall in love in peace. As women gain more rights, more equality, a louder voice, there will continue to be a disparity between how we used to think about women and who women actually are. Women aren’t just baby making machines put on this earth for the pleasures of men. We are humans.



If You Don’t Want to be Sexualized, Why Do You Get Dressed Up?

It’s the age old question: if women don’t want to be sexualized, why do they spend so much time making themselves look so enticing? Are men just supposed to not notice women?

This “logic” get’s used often when women bring up issues of mistreatment and injustice almost exclusive towards women. When woman try to fight against catcalling: it’s just a compliment! I wish I were catcalled. When women accuse a man of rape: well but what were you wearing, are you sure you weren’t asking for it?

I know this is a hard one to comprehend, and I know it’s taking a long time to drill into everyone’s head, but believe it or not, women don’t do everything they do for the pleasure of men.

I’ll pause for a moment while you process that.

Crazy as it seems, women actually make themselves attractive for reasons other than to sexually entice men. They dress well to feel confident, to earn social capital in a culture that prizes beauty, because they like the outfit, because they enjoy how they look.

It’s not a contradiction to want to look and feel attractive and not want a man to masturbate in front of you. It’s actually that simple.

So why is this so hard to comprehend?

It’s so hard to comprehend because in every corner of the world women are not presented as people. Women are vessels. We use women to defend our political arguments about reproductive rights, health care, and even bathroom safety. We use women on billboards and magazines and television to sell beer and burgers and cars and liquor and shampoo and beauty products and plumbing. We use women in porn and strip clubs to get the blood flowing to all the right places with no emotion or effort required.

We have detached women’s bodies from women’s humanity so frequently that it is common to forget they are actually humans. We don’t remember, as a culture, and so we believe women’s bodies are ours for the taking.

Why do women make themselves more attractive? It’s called self care.

No one takes you mowing your lawn or washing your car as an invitation to then rob your home or steal your car. Self care is no different, and it has nothing to do with pleasing your dick.

We understand that we should not burgle or steal from people, but we are still struggling with harassment and assault. We still think there is this “gray area”. We are not quite ready to consider a woman’s body her own.

Powerful, predatory men are dropping like flies. It’s a beautiful reckoning. This has, unfortunately, lead to other powerful men to speak up about the injustice behind the #MeToo movement, how it’s unfair for men. Inevitably women are being blamed for their own violation still. That somehow thousands of women suffering through harassment and assault is acceptable. Men don’t want to give women unconditional, unassailable agency of their own bodies, and therefore acknowledge their humanity, because that might lead to rejection. And what’s worse: women being continuously sexualized, harassed, and assaulted or men facing rejection?

When will we finally examine the biases that keep women from having autonomy over their own bodies, and why are we so reluctant to dislodge them?

That is what we should really be asking.




Why We Fear Empowered Women

When a woman is shown in a sexualized way – no depth beyond her appearance, perhaps to sell beer, cars, burgers, razors – we call it advertising. You see it everywhere. Television, magazines in the check out stand, billboards, buses. We are bombarded by sexualized women attempting to sell you everything, and hardly anyone objects.

When a woman is shown in a overly sexual way – nude photos, videos, on any device – we call it porn. You won’t see these in public spaces, but we all know where to quickly and easily find porn. You have a phone that you can open porn on right now. And as a culture, we look the other way. We excuse the excessive consumption of porn with “boys will be boys”.

When a woman shares a sexualized image of herself, to any degree, we shame her. Call her “slut” or “attention-whore” or just “whore”. When a woman is active in how her sexuality is expressed, we reject it.

It’s OK to sexualize women for the purpose of selling something. It’s OK to look at porn. But it’s NOT OK for a woman to be in control of her own sexuality.

Men like the women in porn because the women are presented as passive to the male gaze. They are unyielding, with no complication of a personality, no danger to the male ego because a woman in porn will never say “no”. Women in porn exist purely for the pleasure of men. Women in advertising are simply body parts – belly buttons, cleavage, endless legs, booty – they aren’t people, they are objects. Women in porn and advertising are a non-threatening sexual encounter, where consent isn’t even a factor.

Advertising and porn are times when a woman’s form and sexuality are acceptable. When a woman’s sexuality is purely for the consumers purpose, and they can’t threaten rejection, we are comfortable sexualizing women. And with this bombardment of sexualized women in every corner of our day, it leads to us forgetting that those aren’t real women.

Stolen or leaked celebrity nudes or sex tapes? Have at it! But if Kim Kardashian wants to post a nude selfie all of her own accord then she is a slut and we don’t want that being an example for our young girls! If a woman feels good about herself and feels like presenting her sexual energy exactly the way she wants to, she is condemned and disrespected. Maybe even threatened, assaulted, or even killed.

When a woman feels good about the way she looks – empowered, beautiful, sexy, confident – and expresses this by sharing a photo of herself (clothed or nude) we punish her. She is a “slut”, “trash”, “seeking attention”. But if her photos are stolen, well she deserved it.

Porn is fine, advertising is great, and taking a woman’s control away from her expression is totally cool. Right?

The message is this: it’s OK to commodify a woman’s body, it’s OK to co-opt female sexuality, as long as the woman in question is passive in the expression of sexuality and it is for the gratification of men. If the woman is actively in control of her sexuality, and god forbid, she is receiving satisfaction in her expression, we want nothing to do with that.

Women are set up to lose. Whether it’s ignoring their sexual assault claims, calling them names, or sending middle school aged girls home for wearing clothes too distracting for boys – it’s all connected. And none of it’s really about sex.

It’s all about controlling women. Taking away their right to power, autonomy, confidence, control. You can enjoy our bodies, but we can’t. Our culture upholds a norm that women’s bodies are for being used, and demand her self-ownership and choice. When a woman’s choice comes into her sexuality, that’s when it’s a problem.

Women are told from birth to cover up, to be modest. Because men cannot control themselves, and therefore have no ultimate responsibility for their actions, but rather woman do. Men are enabled to desire sex, domination, and power over women. And they are bombarded all day every day with the message that they should. Men are encouraged in their objectification of women, women are held responsible for any unwanted encounter because women are just too enticing, and neither are taught to respect women.

Modesty is presented often as a form of protection, a defense against men’s impulsiveness. But not only does “modesty” fail to protect women, it’s actively harmful. It perpetuates the idea that respecting women is dependent on what the woman is wearing, or not wearing. It perpetuates the idea that men have an inherent right to sexualize women, and no consent is required for that. Modesty isn’t intended to keep women safe, it’s intended to justify men in their disregard.

Advertising, porn, modesty, they are all socially acceptable ways to sexualize women. They are all ways we communicate to women that they are to be passive in their sexual experiences, and they are to submit their bodies for male gain. And when a woman dares to defy these controls, dares to take command of her own actions, dares to make her own rules, we ridicule her. She is dangerous. We have become so used to the passive sexualized woman that we fear the active sexual woman.

An empowered woman is dangerous because a women who can say yes is also a woman who can say no.