You might take away my woman card when you read this, but I’ll admit, I stopped reading Cosmo about 5 years ago. I used to aspire to meet the demographic of Cosmo’s audience. I soaked in the articles, tried the sex positions, laughed at the embarrassing stories and strove to be the workaholic businesswoman.
I actually accomplished that goal when I was quite young, 21 in fact. I started working for a fast-paced and fast-growing real estate firm that scooped me up. They romanced me with an own office with a view and jet-setting travel.
What did it get me? Stressed, panic attacks, less family ties, busted relationships: Cosmo couldn’t save me. I’ve done a lot of growing in the past 5 years and as I push 30 and my fifth year of marriage, I can see how we our society is both overtly sexualizing young women and oppressing us at the same time.
I saw Miley Cyrus at the VMA’s and I cringed, not because I was offended or because I was worried for her (the girls a damn millionaire, she’ll be fine). I was worried for the young women watching her. Those poor teenage girls who watch MTV and read Cosmo and sext to their high school boyfriends; they seek value through an image of impossible sexuality.
I believe the American ideal for young men and women is to exude an image of porn star glamour. Pop music, immediate communication through social networking and mass marketing campaigns have driven our children to believe that making your body available to anyone who wants to access it is what makes you important.
Thinking back on my young adulthood I strove for that same ideal. I cringe at my excessive behavior back then. As a still relatively young woman, I want to reach out to today’s young men and women. Without forcing safe sex on them as an ideal or a necessity or as a religious requirement, I want the message to be that, sure sex is great! Do it by yourself to figure out what you like. Do it within a monogamous relationship after you’ve taken the time to get to know the other person. Do it with someone of the same sex or the opposite sex, but most importantly, do it because YOU want to!
Sex shouldn’t be a game, or a power struggle. It shouldn’t be a requirement for a promotion or to get attention. It should be something that you use to express yourself and that you feel good about. If you don’t think you can do that with someone else then it’s OK to take a break. Enjoy yourself alone. Use a vibrator or a male masturbator. Experiment with your bum. If you’re in a healthy relationship please use protection! Condoms, dental dams, finger condoms, birth control, and so on forever.
My final word is that it’s OK to take a break from sex. Abstaining can help you clear your head and help you organize your priorities. Ultimately, you are in control, you just need to take the reins and say, “No” to society’s pressures. Safe sex will make you feel good about yourself and your partner too. So go ahead, use the Safe Alternative, and take back control of your self-image.
Play with toys, not boys!