Repression Shutting Down Sexuality
I’ll start with my own experience.
As I was just entering sexual consciousness — and this was before puberty and before I had learned that sex was bad, dirty, nasty and that it just might send me to hell — I thought sexuality seemed pretty cool. Pretty pleasurable. I mean, I didn’t even know what intercourse was, but as much as a kid could appreciate it, I did.
But as I grew older I learned this: sex is bad, dirty, nasty (for unmarried women, in particular) and it might just send me to hell. Or get me named-called and shamed.
As a little girl, my mom complained that my “wild” cat, Frisky, constantly got pregnant. Back then it didn’t occur to mom to spay her. The aptly named Frisky just needed to gain better morals, I guess.
TV shows like Three’s Company were banned at my house. Anything suggestive made mom squirm. Her sister once told me that, “I watch movies and never notice the sex in it unless I watch with your mom — and then I see everything I’d missed before.” Been there, done that.
When I turned 16 dad asked if I’d started dating yet. He was relieved when I said, “No.” Because that would help keep me “pure.”
My church youth leader warned,
It’s better to die than to “let yourself” get raped.
Who’d want a chewed up piece of gum? That’s disgusting!
See this beautiful rose? But what if a bunch of cars ran over it? Not beautiful anymore, is it?
I should have asked how that rose would have fared if just one car had run over it.
My teenaged church friends, who were the kids I usually hung out with, ranked sex outside of marriage the greatest sin ever, next to murder.
Through middle school and high school I saw the punishments that female sexuality drew: name calling and ostracism and guilt and shame. Eventually, I was slut-shamed, myself. Even though I’d never had sex.
So I did everything I could to push “dirty” thoughts from my head. Every temptation got squished down until, eventually, they pretty much disappeared. Along with pretty much any sexual interest.
I was much more interested in sexuality at age 10 than at age 20.
And then it took A LOT to get me AT ALL interested. In fact, I came to feel asexual. Something I’ve worked through the years to overcome. I’m better now, but still damaged.
I’m not alone. I will be writing about other women’s experiences with this from time to time, in a series of posts on this topic.
Posted on December 14, 2015, in feminism, psychology, sex and sexuality, sexism, women and tagged feminism, psychology, sex, sexism, sexual repression, sexuality, women. Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.