Why The Value Of Women Should Not Be Based On Sex

Every woman in Nigeria has at one point in her life; maybe some more often than others, received the sex advice which sounds more like warning most times. We’re told from an early age to preserve our virginity so that our husbands would value us, we’re advised not to have sex on the first date…

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Every woman in Nigeria has at one point in her life; maybe some more often than others, received the sex advice which sounds more like warning most times. We’re told from an early age to preserve our virginity so that our husbands would value us, we’re advised not to have sex on the first date so that the guy won’t see us as sluts, not to be forward with our sexual desires even when we’re married so that the man wouldn’t wonder how we became so experienced,  to hold off on having sex till after marriage so he’ll marry us quickly, and other warnings along this line that has more to do with being valued by a man as opposed to making the decision because we shouldn’t displease God. Then deep in our subconscious we believe that our value is tied to sex and the decision we make about our sex lives, and that somehow this decision affects the outcome of our relationship and marriage.

That’s why you hear some women say that because they got married as virgins, their being virgins all through their single lives made their husbands have a high level of respect for them and values them greatly (maybe they’re right, I don’t know). And some slut- shame the ones who are sexually active before marriage because to them those women are immoral, irresponsible and deserve all the bad experiences they get from men. It’s as if being treated badly by the opposite sex is reserved for non-virgins alone; not even minding how the virginity was lost. At least that is the indirect message you get when a friend or relative asks if you slept with a guy who you just ended a relationship with and when. Men are also told or given the impression from boyhood that virgins are the good girls and the one that closes her legs and refuses sex before marriage is the one to be cherished. I once had a friend who told me that virgins are his kind of girl; he claims that he would never marry a non-virgin; maybe I should call his type of woman a female unsullied. According to him, he can’t bear the thought of another man having touched his wife before him, so he prefers them innocent and brand new. His preference would have been easy to stomach if he’s also keeping himself for his future wife but alas, he’s not a virgin – in fact, he sleeps with whoever would allow him.

This makes me wonder a lot about the value of a woman and how it’s linked with how much sex we’re having or have had, whether or not we do it before or after marriage, and why our ultimate validation as a good woman, woman of virtue or a woman who should be honoured and respected should be tied to sex. The first time I read the passage in the bible that talked about the proverbs 31 woman, I felt intimidated by her, I didn’t like her very much, in fact I resented her a little because i was nothing like her and I felt that the idea of her was another confirmation to me that God doesn’t really like women. This woman as we’ve all come to know her can do it all; she’s a great wife, a great mother, she manages the home, she runs a business, she cooks, she sews, she gives to the poor, she has it together and what she doesn’t seem to do is get tired! She seems absolutely perfect. No wonder my reaction to her was indifference, I just refused to believe in the possibility of her.

But then as time passed and I wondered what the value of a woman is and how it can be measured, I became curious about her, I wondered why she doesn’t have a name, but most of all I wondered why her sex life and sexual history was never mentioned. Did she get married a virgin? Did she have a long or short list of sexual partners before her husband? How is it that her husband praises her and is known in the city because of her with no mention of sex and what role it played in who she is and how her marriage turned out? Did he care about that part of her life? Does what he thought really matter?

I think that the reason the proverbs 31 woman doesn’t have a name is because every woman is and can be her, and the reason her sex life wasn’t mentioned is because her value is placed on substance, strength of character and the depth of her heart. I would like to believe that whatever choice a woman makes about her sex life and for whatever reason, or whatever led to the outcome of her sexual history doesn’t sum up the totality of who she is and it shouldn’t determine what her value is.  It’s obvious that men are no saints; they’re on the same journey as we are of figuring out who they really are, what they’re capable of, where they can make their mark, and what truly matters in life. This kind of disqualifies them from the role we’re made to believe and they’ve been made to believe they should play in our lives, especially as it relates to sex, that role belongs to God alone as He judges both men and women equally. So what do you guys think? Why are women always at the receiving end of the sex shame culture we have?

Image via Straight From The A

Responses

  1. MISS SHAGALOT
    Absolutely luvly piece. when i was younger, i got the whole sex talks/ advice and warnings even to the point where i was told if i sit on a man’s lap, i’d get pregnant and no man will look at me again but the truth is, all that only made me more curious. Some times i wonder why some men say they want to marry a virgins but still want to sleep with the”virgin” before the promised marriage and thereafter say she’s got attitude problems or she is not fine enough or just some flimsy excuse to leave her. Whats the point of her being a virgin? I don’t believe the value of a woman should be placed on her sex history, thats just not fair! why don’t we also place the value of men on their sex life/history than we would know the men that have no worth or value at all.
    1. Priscilla Joy
      It’s important that we not only know the truth but believe it also, but more importantly we need to change the conversation we (our generation as parents) are having and will have with our own children so they can grow with a better understanding of where their worth truly lies.

      Thanks for reading.

    2. Don Flowers
      You can actually decide to judge a man based on his sexual too, it’s a personal decision.

      Sometimes I think those who are fighting for the right not to be judged and the right to make their own decisions end up trying to foist their opinions on the very group from which they are seeking independence.

      I personally think a person’s body does matter, be it male or female.

      Sex on a 1st date is somewhat eerie unless someone is paying for it, in which case, we waive as a professional job and the person offering the service is a professional sex worker, strictly so called, male or female.

      Virginity is a virtue, it doesn’t guarantee anything in life, there are no prizes to be awarded for it but it doesn’t make it any less advisable for both sexes.

      And while I will not judge a woman by the things she did before she met me, I think I will find it somewhat unnerving to discover that I met her when she was 23 and her body count was already 29.

      Sex is important, we shouldn’t trivialize it to the point of a handshake

      1. Priscilla Joy
        The question still remains, why judge? Who gives anybody the right to? Is it ever going to be possible to separate sex from a woman’s identity? Who made that rule? Why are women taught to make decisions about their sex lives based on what a guy would think at some point in her life?

        And this thing about sex on the first date, you know she isn’t having sex on her own….all by herself. Why is it somehow ok for the guy but the girl is the one that gets shamed? Isn’t there more to a woman as a human being than what she does with her body, a part of her that is hardly a sum total of who she is?

        1. Don Flowers
          My dear, too often we quote the part of the Bible that says: judge not that ye be not judged” and we ignore the part that says: “for whatsoever measure you judge with, so shall you be judged”. The Bible says it is the same category / criteria we used in judging others that we will be judged.

          Seryxme has said it all, nobody deserves to be judged superficially without trying to know them.

          Women get the most flake out of sex on the first date because they choose to give to themselves. I don’t think anyone should be having sex on a first date irrespective of the connection the individuals claim to have, unless Ofcos somebody is paying.

          Konji does not kill, let’s not trivialize sex

      2. SeryxMe
        This is my favorite comment so far. I like that you pointed out that it’s both sexes that need to take these things seriously, a point which I think Priscilla missed in her reply.

        “Sex is important, we shouldn’t trivialize it to the point of a handshake.”

        This is where it is going with all what is happening around. I mean, Priscilla’s post makes the most important point of not judging women on their sexual experiences but what many people will take away from this (I don’t know if it is the actual direction of this post) is “just have sex anyhow you like, you should not be judged on that.” Basically, sex is becoming a handshake.

        The thing is that no one deserves to be judged superficially without knowing who they really are or what they have to offer but we all do it anyway. If it’s not sex, it’s appearance or how much money s/he has or how fine s/he is. The thing is, despite all the societal branding most people are fighting against on here, there have always been people who don’t judge by these standards. I remember very vividly a ‘Charly Boy Show’ I watched in the 90’s where he interviewed people on the street asking if they would rather marry a virgin. The number of people who voted that they preferred a sexually experienced woman was overwhelming. That was when I first understood that men actually prefer their women with some experience, and I am talking to get married to.

        No one gives anyone the right to judge anyone based on anything, but at the same time, no one should take away another’s right to have what s/he takes as priorities. If too much sex worries you, then, by all means leave that guy/girl alone. We don’t need to deceive ourselves that we also don’t judge others by other standards. At the end of the day, I think it always boils down to personal decisions, whether shaped by society or not.

        Like I always say, I like to keep things in context. In your reference to the woman in the Bible, not mentioning her sexual status does not mean it is trivialized. The book is big and you’ll find that the general doctrine in the Bible is really against ‘promiscuity’. It doesn’t need to be mentioned in a particular sense for it to be considered an important virtue. I think the real idea here is, like the woman who was about to be stoned and was rescued by Jesus, understanding that it is something that should be in the past. If you bring the Bible in this discussion, you should understand that not getting judged by your sexual experience means you’re leaving all that behind and in the past. You probably should read Frances’ post – http://thenakedconvos.com/virgin-or-not-you-have-every-right-to-keep-your-body-chaste-in-christ/

        1. Priscilla Joy
          this post wasn’t written to trivialize sex even though I think sex is overrated, but I believe that it is wrong when little girls are raised to believe that the decision they make about their body and sex lives should be based on what the man they marry in future will think about them. There has to be another way the message to abstain from sex until marriage or even sex education for girls as a whole can be done without the message that being sexually active or not somehow determines how much value a woman has, because at the end of the day a woman’s sex life is only a part of who she is and marriage/husband, or even boyfriend/fiance is just a rite of passage, there’s so much more to a woman as a human being.
      3. Sharon
        Sex is important, yes. But her body count being 29 at 23 doesn’t mean she’s not very smart, or she hasn’t got a good heart, or that she could be the best thing that ever happened to you. It just means she made some poor decisions in the past. What if she has turned a new leaf? It’s not fair to hold her body count against her, because she really can’t do anything to change it. Water under the bridge. As for asking about body count, I’ve found out that it’s best to not ask questions you’re not sure you want to know the answer to. Has she been sexually active? Yes. Leave it at that. Your reaction would be just as bad if she told you 2 or 29.
  2. Mayree
    I honestly could not agree more. The first article I ever read that did the woman some justice. Society has placed the woman on a pedestal and therefore made her to live her life in fear of what might be thought of her.
  3. Olushola
    “I think that the reason the proverbs 31 woman doesn’t have a name is because every woman is and can be her, and the reason her sex life wasn’t mentioned is because her value is placed on substance, strength of character and the depth of her heart.”
    nothing else to comment.
  4. Morenike
    Wow…………. really love this article, sometimes i sit down and i wonder if am strange, because i think i could be judged by my sex life, but after this article i don’t care and i feel like my questions have been answered. Thanks to Priscilla Joy.
  5. pearl
    Why will the value of a woman not be placed on sex, when every average lady wants to or presents herself as a sexy doll. I mean when will the woman define who she really is and stop confusing herself.
    Many ladies place different values on the men folks too. We all know that been a virgin does not guarantee one to make a gud wife, but please my respect still goes out to the virgins who are still keeping it even till now with all the temptations around.
    As for been on the receiving end of the sex shame act, well…TNC fam are creating awareness, we’ll get there someday
    1. Priscilla Joy
      It still always comes down to marriage and being a wife, but could there be more? What if there was nothing like marriage, what then? What would the decision about our sex lives be based on? What would you teach your daughter about her body and about sex? I also applaud women who are still virgins in our time, but please can the same applause also be given to the woman who has never stolen anything in her life, lied, committed murder, or raped a boy/man?, etc
      1. pearl
        Hi Pricillia, you see this sex thing, I for one don’t believe it should be used as a yardstick for marriage, I careless about that, my problem here is with women who don’t want sex to be used as a kind of rule to judge them, yet their outward apperance and what they say speaks differently. C’mon! We need to define who we are and how we should be regarded, that’s all I’m saying.
  6. Nelo
    Hmm. ..The virtues of the virtuous woman are attainable by any woman who places premium on them. As for the guys, they are not free o! Any guy that is lazy has lost value in my eyes o!
  7. Hamydarh
    I’m a lady and this has always been a tricky conservation to me. First of, it’s unfair to measure the value of a woman using sexual standards, but again It depends on how the ladies present themselves for heavens sake. With or without a hymen place value on yourself first. We all know that we are addressed by how we dress, you dont put your boobs out there save the nipples and expect not be tied to sex! Truth is we all love our gifts well wrapped up. No matter what certificates you’ve got, when you dress like a whore you gon’ be addressed like one. A little modesty doesnt kill And ladies cant always talk dirty, lets not forget the Bible says “out of abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks”. Honestly, I think we should first place value of ourselves then we watch the societal views shift from sex to brains, character, hardwork and all. I personally would teach my girl to honour and value herself.
  8. Sharon
    Fam. You took the words out of my head. I can’t count the weird looks and silly questions I’ve gotten because I’ve decided not to have sex till I get married. And for some reason, people expect me to judge those that are sexualy active (when it obviously isn’t any of my business). My decision to be celibate was based on a number of factors: 1. God 2. Health 3. My ability to form attachments anyhow. 4. The fact that I’ve seen people have sex for all the wrong reasons and regret it.

    What most people don’t realise is that sex has little or nothing to do with who you are on the inside. A lot of good women and men have made mistakes when it comes to sex. If we forgive other mistakes, why can’t we forgive sexual ones? In fact I don’t talk about my decision to be celibate unless I’m directly asked, because it had little or nothing to do with anything.

    We need to stop justifying ourselves to people, because, in the end, you are only answerable to your God and your conscience.

    As for why a lot of people put the burden on women, I think it’s because it’s a lot more invasive for us than it is for men, but then, since it takes two to tango, why don’t we split whatever blame equally? Or the ones that think men can’t control themselves, so women should be the ones to do it for them. Rubbish.

    I’m honestly tired of people taking active interests in other people’s sex lives. Let’s all collectively mind our businesses and live in peace.
    Whatever your choice, society will talk, so just do what you feel in your heart is right and leave society to take panadol on your behalf.

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