Maven's Guide to Living Guilt and Child-free.

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I Am Done Being Ashamed.

You know what I’m tired of hearing?  

“I have no problem with sex… In the confines of marriage.” “I have no problem with sex… In a relationship.” “I have no problem with sex… As long as it’s purely for procreation.” “I have no problem with sex… Oh, wait, yes I do.” 


Slut Shaming starts in high school (or earlier, with parents dubbing pre-teen girls as “prostitots”) and continues as a meme throughout what I can only imagine is the rest of my adult life. 


To be clear, I was not a “prostitot”. I never mimicked Brittany Spears or Miley Cyrus. I was modest, and proud of it, and if there was any Slut Shaming it came from me. But, having sex is an eye-opening experience. I didn’t get pregnant. Nothing bad happened. It was good. Awesome. Magical, even. And since experiencing it myself, I stopped. I even apologized to the friends I bullied- yes, BULLIED- over sex. Because, as it turns out, sex isn’t a bad thing, and most of us now know this.


I think it’s basically understood that the vast majority of young adults have had sex(whether they call it that or not).


So how does Slut Shaming continue? Is your sex life superior because you waited until marriage? Or is it better because you’ve been on X many dates, or kissed X many times?  Are you morally superior because you’re still a virgin? Is an intact hymen a requirement to be a Good Person? 


I don’t think so. Call me a whore, but I don’t think getting naked with a guy makes me less moral. Even if that guy isn’t my Monogamous Mating Partner. Even if that guy isn’t The Love of My Life. Hell, even if that guy isn’t a guy. 


I’ve heard a lot of interesting things concerning Sex and Love. Conservatives (and Conservatives-At-Heart, make no mistake) almost always preface their Slut Shaming with “I don’t hate sex,” or “Sex is a beautiful thing, but,” And you know what? I’m tired of hearing it. 


Sex may be a wonderful thing between two people in the confines of marriage, but it’s also a wonderful thing between five men in the confines of a dance club bathroom. And if you’re disturbed by the imagery there, Get Over It. No one says you have to be involved, so mind your own damn business.


You know what I’m tired of hearing? I’m tired of listening to other people try to police other people’s sex lives. A close friend of mine walked into a free clinic for birth control, and the woman at the front deskcried. Over her losing her virginity.


Another friend of mine told one of her best friends that she had sex (in a monogamous relationship, no less) and her friend also cried. And then her friend spent weeks berating her, trying to make her feel guilty about having sex. Because they aren’t married, or haven’t been on X many dates, or haven’t been together for X years. 


Hell, a male friend of mine- a few of them, actually, seem to just love policing the sex lives of women. Does she wear short skirts? She probably has lots of casual sex, and that’s Bad. Does she wear perfume? She must be trying to seduce me. Does she have sex outside of a monogamous hetero-normative relationship? What a whore! 


There are men, today- and not fundies, mind you, but intelligent, thoughtful men- who cannot STAND the sight of a woman wearing anything more provocative than a burka. These men are not religious, or otherwise misogynistic. But for some reason, a woman wearing a nice skirt and heels is automatically a Slut, and should be Shamed. For some reason, there are intelligent, thoughtful men who can’t stand the sight of skin.


This is not okay. I shouldn’t have to toe the very thin line between Attractive and Shameful Slut. Men don’t have to walk that line at all- why should I? 



Fun Fact: Sex means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Most people ( In my culture anyway) have this Fairy Tale idea of One Man and One Woman and she’s a virgin until her wedding night, and they have to be madly in love, and it would preferably result in a child.


In some other cultures (like India for example,) they scoff at the idea of marrying (read: sexing) for Love. Marriage is an exchange of goods. My daughter, for your cattle. Sex is seen as a means to an end (that end being reproduction, and lots of it.) The Quiverfull Movement has a similar stance. 


(Note: I’m not saying “Look How Backwards Some People Are!” I’m saying “Some People Approach Sex Differently.”)


However, for a lot of people sex is a form of recreation. Sex feels good, and that’s all there is to it. No emotions, no reproduction. It can happen between friends, or acquaintances, or exes- it doesn’t matter, because that attachment isn’t necessary. 


Here’s the thing, though. You can attach whatever meaning you want to sex. If having sex means exchanging souls, whatever. But don’t look at me like I’m trading my soul simply because you see it that way. 


My bedroom, my rules. And you don’t have the right to look down on me for them. If you don’t like my rules, then get the fuck out of my bedroom. 


You can approach sex in whatever manner you see fit. But when you expect me, and everyone else (especially women) to follow your very narrow definition of acceptable sex, THAT is where I draw the line.


So, in conclusion, I’m done with this. I’m calling out Slut Shaming wherever I see it- and I’m sure I will see it, because I’m not going to tread the paper-thin line between Sexy and Slutty. If corsets offend you, don’t look. If short skirts upset you, avert your eyes. But don’t you dare think you’re better than me because you still have a hymen.


Virginity is a myth. It’s a non-thing. It is merely the Absence of knowledge and experience. And ignorance is not something to be cherished. 






Being ignorant doesn’t make you better than me. It just makes you ignorant.

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An Open Letter to my Female Friends.

I don’t know about you guys, but I know that I hardly ever feel awesome about myself. It is a brisk day in Hell when I can look in a mirror without a sadface. So what I am about to tell you will sound a lot like hypocrisy, but please, bear with me.


I know it’s really easy to try dieting. It’s really easy to think, “Being pretty is as easy as basic math!” and start counting calories, or eating nothing but bananas, or cutting everything that tastes good out of your diet. But here’s the thing. I’ve tried that, and it doesn’t actually work. Because:


1. It’s not sustainable. Eventually, your biology will backfire (as it does every month) and you’ll find yourself with a craving for something other than granola. Or you’ll just end up severely malnourished because you’ve been eating nothing but bananas for months on end.


2. Nutrition facts aren’t that accurate anyway. I mean, what the hell is “spices”?! Food companies sneak shit into food all the time. “All-Natural”, “Organic”, “Real”, it’s all meaningless.


And finally…


3. There is NOTHING wrong with you. I know you hear this all the time, and you never believe it, because it’s drilled into us, all the time, by “unbiased” sources (TV, Magazines) that thin = hot.


Guess what. It doesn’t. Television is lying to you. Magazines, Fashion Models, The Media is lying to you. You don’t need shinier hair, perfect teeth, and a metric shit-ton of eye shadow and airbrush to be beautiful. You already are.


Sexy isn’t a number, or a diet plan. It’s an attitude. I can’t tell you what exactly, but I can tell you what it isn’t: Sexy isn’t “Does this make me look fat?”


Sexy isn’t starving yourself. Sexy isn’t exercising until you feel sick. Sexy isn’t throwing up after every meal, and Sexy isn’t trying to be something you’re not.


Sexy is loving yourself, fat-rolls and all. And you know what? I find that when I truly, absolutely, love myself (fat-rolls and all) I treat myself better. And I don’t mean I stop biting my nails so much, and tugging at my fleshy parts in disgust. I mean that I eat less, and more importantly I eat healthier. I’m more prone to exercise. I give myself permission to laugh more, I have a lot more fun. I’m generally healthier, inside and out. I wake up earlier, I go to sleep earlier, I smile in the mirror, and Satan freezes his ass off. And I don’t need to force myself to break a sweat to do it.


Sexy, and being healthy, is ALL about LOVING yourself. And if you don’t believe me, then I have two words for you: Beth Ditto.


I’m tired. I’m tired of forcing myself to live a lifestyle I don’t enjoy. I’m tired of eating tasteless “health foods” and things that are hard to chew because “This is supposed to be healthy, right? I think?” I’m tired of closing my eyes and wishing away my fleshy parts. I’m tired of my friends telling me, “you shouldn’t eat that, you’ll get fat” I’m tired of looking in the mirror in disgust.


So I’ve decided not to. And you should, too.


The One Love… To Rule Them All?

Love is one of the most basic and extraordinary phenomena that have captured our collective imagination and our hearts. People love love, as fiction shows us time and again.

Cinderella always ends up with Prince Charming.
Aragorn always ends up with Arwen.
Simba always ends up with Nala.
Romeo always ends up with Juliet (unless she dies, I guess. [Spoilers!])

And so on and so forth, ‘till the end of time. Because love is Meant to Be, and there can be only one! Right?
Well, not exactly.

The chemical cocktail that we call love is an accumulation of endorphins, dopamine, adrenaline, serotonin, and oxytocin.

Some might say that reducing the romantic feelings of love and lust to chemicals and hormones takes away the beauty of it. Some might prefer to see their relationships as “The One True Love,” a “Special Snowflake,” a connection that no neuroscientist or scholar of the brain can understand. Perhaps it helps some people to see their primary or current romantic relationship as a cocktail of flowers, rainbows, valentines and just a hint of lingerie.

But I think this outlook does more harm than good. I think there’s temptation to stay in relationships that are ultimately harmful under the impression that “This is my only shot at True Love.” Or to keep a relationship monogamous when it may be better suited to polyamory because “This person is my Soulmate.”

I think it’s important that we know and understand that what we describe as Romantic Love is a chemical cocktail that your brain will produce, no matter what, in almost any circumstance. Mr. Right isn’t some guy you’re fated to marry but haven’t met yet. Prince Charming isn’t out there looking for you. Your Soulmate doesn’t exist. And the cake is a lie.

Relationships take work and compromise. Relationships require constant communication and everyone is ever-changing.
The truth is that you could end up happy with almost anyone.

And I think the truth sets you free.

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Feminism is Relevant

“Feminists hate men, don’t they?”

My boyfriend and I are lying in bed, having one of those conversations we have before falling asleep.

I look at my boyfriend, bewildered. It’s too dark for him to see, though, so I have to communicate verbally.

“I always thought that Feminism was about how women are better than men.”

That makes more sense, but it’s still pretty sad. “That’s not what Feminism’s about at all.”

“Then what is Feminism about,” he asks.

I think for a moment, articulating my view.
“Feminism’s about equality. Feminism’s about women and men being equals.”

“But men and women are equals. So Feminism’s irrelevant. Everyone’s Feminist by that definition.”

I shrug, not sure how to counter that.

A few days later, after doing some reading, I come back to the topic.
“Women, on average, make less money in their lifetimes than men. Women can obtain low-level jobs, but are promoted less and less the farther up the career ladder you go.”
“Feminism is not irrelevant.”

The more I read, the more I research, the more I realize how relevant Feminism is. The wage gap still exists.

In Ohio, a young girl goes to a party with two football players. She gets drunk, passes out (because it’s a party, and that’s what people do at parties). The football players rape her.
And while covering the story, all CNN can talk about is “those poor boys, had such promising futures”.
The internet explodes with rape apologetics. “Anyone would have done that,”
“What was she thinking, dressing that way?”
“That’s what she gets for getting drunk.”–steubenville-high-school-football-players-found-guilty-of-raping-16-year-old-girl-164129528.html

At North Carolina University, a student is sexually assaulted. When she speaks out about her attackers, the school threatens to expel her.

Stories like these, are why Feminism is still relevant.
I wish it wasn’t.

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No Pets Allowed

My apartment has a “No Pets” rule.
 It’s somewhat understandable, I guess. I mean, sure, dogs and cats can be annoying and noisy. They can cause property damage over time, and the fluffy ones shed like crazy in the Florida summer. And I might not object to these rules, except for the fact that most of my neighbors have children.
And not quiet, play-video-games-indoors children.
Wild, noisy, destructive, run-in-the-streets-all-day children.
Children that are far more noisy and messy than my cats could ever strive to be.

And, while I wouldn’t mind a “No Pets or Kids” rule, obviously the “or Kids” part wouldn’t fly. But then, I have to ask, why is “No Pets” okay? Infertile couples, Tokophobic couples, and Child-Free couples have a drive to nurture, too. And the need to nurture is exactly that: A psychological need.  It just so happens that humans can’t trigger mine.

My cats do more for me than a human child ever could. My cats give me a reason to get up and go to work. They need food, and shelter, and attention. My cats are my comfort when I’m sick and sad. My cats love me, unconditionally.
And when I say unconditionally, I mean it- I can’t count the number of times I’ve accidentally tripped over them, or stepped on their tails or paws.
My cats always forgive (and probably forget; Banshee’s not very smart).

My cats are my family.

Love knows no gender. Love knows no race, or breed. Love knows no genus or species.
Love doesn’t give a shit.

So why does my apartment?


The Need to Breed

There are over seven billion people in the world. That’s 7,000,000,000. That’s thousands of millions of human beings.
And yet, for some reason, there are a lot of people lamenting the U.S.’s (and other wealthy countries’) declining birthrates.

I understand that the will to reproduce is strong. If it wasn’t, no woman in her right mind would willingly follow through with pregnancy and childbirth. But with seven billion (again, that’s 7,000,000,000,) people in the world, and with that number morbidly rising, you’d think we’d say, “you know, 7 billion is enough for right now. Let’s take a break from reproduction and feed the starving, or something.”
But we’re not doing that. Instead, people are freaking out as if they think humans are going extinct.
And the underlying rhetoric through this Call to Breed is this: If you don’t have biological children, then you must be living a selfish, hedonistic lifestyle.

And this underlying message is horrendously offensive.
I contend that it is, at the very least, more selfish to have biological children while so many others are homeless, orphaned, or abused. If the urge to parent in you is so powerful, the least you can do is adopt a child who already exists.

With 7 billion people in the world, and nowhere near enough resources to care for them all, it is selfish to add to this problem. By choosing to procreate, you are taking food, resources, and jobs away from everyone else, effectively putting your drive to breed above the needs of literally every other human being on the planet.
And somehow, I am the one who is labeled selfish.