Using Men for Money, Sex and Self-Esteem 

self-esteemBy Adriana Martinez 

Life holds lessons. Some, you must learn first-hand.

As a young teen I had a crush on my brother’s friends. Once, when we were hanging out, my dad ordered me back in the house.

“What were you doing out there with them?”

“Just hanging out.”

“If you keep hanging out with boys you’ll grow up to be a slut.”

I was furious. I couldn’t believe he told me that! To this day, it still makes me mad.

Seeing myself as beautiful in men’s eyes

But in high school I got to hang out with my brother and his friends. It was cool. They all looked out for me, and it was like I had more older brothers.

The bad part was that, as their friend’s sister, I was “off limits.”

I didn’t understand that though and got depressed, thinking no one liked me because I was fat and ugly.

My best friend was skinny, blonde and beautiful, and all the guys liked her.

But things changed. I went to college and met hot guys who had plenty of weed and beer. They hit on me, and I hooked up with some of them.

My skinny, blonde friend said they were using me, that I was their “group hoe.”

I got mad and said I didn’t care if they thought that. Because I was using them.

I thought she was jealous that I was getting the attention now.

Assaulted yet hooking up

Finding self-esteem

Finding self-esteem

But one night one of the guys got mad at me and spit in my face. I got angry and hurled myself at him. But he was stronger and pushed me into a door. When I left he ran after me, said he was sorry, and asked me to come back. Like a dummy I did, and we hooked up as usual.

Sadly, this wasn’t the last time I was assaulted by guys who I thought were my friends.

I eventually decided that I didn’t want to be with macho men like my dad, who is Mexican. So one night when one of these guys tried to get me into a room I told him that I only like white guys. That pissed him off. He called me a stuck-up, racist bitch and told me to leave.

As I grabbed my keys he pushed me. So I scratched his face with the keys. But he had a pocket knife and cut into my right temple. Then he threw me out.

I called the police but the guys said I was drunk and fell on a table. Since I was hysterical, the police believed them and let them go.

I was traumatized, especially since the one guy I had been hooking up with for almost three years didn’t try to stop his friend from attacking me.

I became isolated and depressed.

And I was pregnant. The father called me one day to yell about how I’d acted at “his boy’s” house (the one who stabbed me).

I told him that I was pregnant with his child at the time it happened.

He called me a liar, said it wasn’t his, and said I’d better get rid of it. So I did… It still brings me to tears.

Lessons learned

Now I look back at lessons learned. Like this one: Don’t judge an entire race (including my own) by the actions of a few. And don’t say insulting things to people.

I also see that my dad’s attitude – “hanging out with boys will make you a slut” – was limiting me to a sexual thing. I’d wanted to prove him wrong, but in the end I wonder if I sexualized myself.

Having sex with guys who treated me poorly was definitely a bad choice.

I also wonder if I had sex with those guys because I wanted to use them? Or if I did it because my self-esteem was based on being seen as sexually attractive?

Did I have sex with those guys because I wanted to “be one of the guys,” act like a “player” and use them? And if I did, was that a good thing? Is that a good thing for anyone, regardless of gender? Now I think not.

Actually, using men for money and sex and self-esteem was never something I wanted. I just told myself that, so that I could feel in charge of my life.

Now I know that there are a lot better ways of being in charge of your life. And whatever I was doing then, it wasn’t that.

This was written by one of my students who asked to use a pen name.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on August 19, 2015, in body image, feminism, sex and sexuality, women and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. This could be the story of any other girl, around the world, with some variations…

  2. Hopefully on the way to a healthier perspective.

  3. I hate to say this, but I feel bad for her, for having such an asshole father. What a dbag. Men in our culture with thoughts like this and that. But I don’t know while there might be men who have stereotypical views of girls being careful and guys free to be promiscuous. There are also plenty of men and fathers who love and repect their daughters and don’t view their daughters in such a bad, macho, just stupid way. I just don’t understand that. It’s sad that girls maybe or conditioned or taught how to handle thier feelings or take shit from people or d bag dads and take it.I mean there’s a good part in that it’s maybe why women are less violent that men.

    But seriously, it’s probably because I’m a man, and I’ve had arguements with my father and stepd father and I love them and wouldn’t do anything. But seriuously, if that was my father and my father was callous like that to me and disrespectful and like that about the abortion something life changing and such a dick and lack of care. Seriously I’d punch him in the fact. Obviously I’d have to be a girl to deal with something like aborting a child. I’m saying if I was going throuhg like what that girl went though from my father, but as a man, seriously, I’d drill him in the fact as a man. And that’s not something I’d say, because I love my father and feel that’s not something to do, but if a father sees you like that, he’s not that great of a father. I saw a meme on facebook about just because you create a child or biologically a father doesn’t mean you’re a father or better for the child or something like that. It was an appreciation or reference to the great step fathers and step moms who sometimes are better parents than the real parents.

    • Interestingly, she was shocked that her dad would treat her that way. And I think many of us are. Because most fathers don’t act that way, or it seems out of character when they do.

      And the problem isn’t men, but patriarchy, which gives men higher status – which he was trying to fit into by doing what guys do. And which objectifies women. And which allows men more freedom than women. We often admire qualities that are masculine over feminine, but they aren’t always better qualities.

    • @ Bob,

      Your attack on her Dad is over the top…

      All he was trying to do was protect his daughter like most fathers. We can debate the approach….

      Given the cultural background, I can certainly understand his position….

      How can you stand in judgement of how good a father the man is to his daughter?

      My next door neighbor once said to me: ” I guess I have to admit that my daughter is a nymph.” His daughter at the time was a troubled (drugs, alcohol, boys) 16 year old…She eventually was “sent away” to Utah to a fancy rehab facility..So, is he a bad father too?

  4. This is a very introspective look, and to have one of your students write about this so opening is helpful for everyone to get this topic out in the open. “Having sex with guys who treated me poorly was definitely a bad choice” and bad choices often happen until the right perspective of life is reached (sooner the better for everyone).

    • As young girls first enter sexuality and social hierarchies that favor men, things can be pretty confusing. Maybe seeing how this young woman navigated (as she admitted — poorly) yet learned many lessons in the end, will help others as they contemplate their own journeys to adulthood.

  5. “I also wonder if I had sex with those guys because I wanted to use them?”

    No. You had sex with them because like all humans you are a sexual being. It is very sad that young women have to ask themselves these kinds of questions for simply being human. We men never have to remotely entertain this line of thinking.

    Sorry you had such horrible experiences. It was not your fault you were assaulted and injured. The men who did this to you were classless and spineless. Your father genuinely had your best interest at heart with his advice…He was being realistic.

    Unfortunately, as a woman you cannot “damn the torpedoes” in life. It is not fair. It is not right. But, it is something women have to deal..

    Obviously, now you can make better choices. The real challenge is just how does a young woman navigate life when it comes to sexuality. Not just young women but all women.

    L’Chaim!

    • Thanks for your thoughts.

      Her father may have had her best interest at heart. But it’s still sad when we think about women has been all about sex, So that they can’t even have guy friends — a perspective that is changing. And he could’ve used words that were less insulting. Meanwhile, we must keep working for change.

    • Both of your comments are sensible. I appreciate that and thank you for the wise words. I have a daughter too and I feel the same fear at times. And self-doubt, lots of it – would I turn out to be a good father or not? etc

  6. I feel bad for her , I think that our society makes us believe that we cant do what guys do to us women. They use us all the time and when the tables are turned we are sluts or whores. It is just unfortunate that these things happen to women. And i feel like she may have gone searching for love somewhere else because maybe her father wasn’t giving her the fatherly love.

  7. This is a sad and heart breaking story that many young teenage girl’s today can still relate to. The saddest part is that her father objectified her just like how those young boy’s did to her. The father calling his daughter a “slut” if she hangs out with those boys can be considered the same as telling her she is just a sex object for boys to use. The father was trying to protect his daughter, but instead ended up labeling his daughter as a tool. The daughter reacted and put in effort to prove him wrong due to the need to be accepted as more than such.

    The unfortunate truth is that these boys in the future will most likely treat and tell their daughters the same thing when or if they ever become fathers. This cycle by parenting and the media will only become stronger unless change takes place in how we see gender.

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