A Woman’s Sexuality Should be Hers Alone

BY STEPHANIE BERTOLO

On International Women’s Day last Tuesday, we highlighted the accomplishments of countless women throughout history and called attention to the desperate need for continued progress towards gender equality. There are so many issues that women face on a daily basis solely because of their gender. One that I have personally faced time and time again is the constant control of society over a women’s sexuality and the ways in which it affects all other aspects of a woman’s life.

The persistent sexualization of my femininity was especially apparent during my time working as a gas station cashier since I was sixteen years old.

“Smile,” exclusively men would say to me and my female coworkers. This was often followed by a comment like, “You look prettier when you do.” To them, my emotions had no value in the face of my aesthetic appeal. Some people have suggested that perhaps these customers were just trying to be cheerful. But the fact of the matter is that if a woman is not smiling for whatever reason, it unsettles some men so much that they have to tell them to alter their behaviour. Why? Continue reading

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My Virginity is Mine

It was in a shopping mall bathroom.

Two girls, about 16 or 17, fixing their makeup in the bathroom mirror. One of them stops mid mascara-swipe and says excitedly to the other, “We did it last night.”

The other girl stops, lip gloss wand still in the air. “You had sex with him?”

With a nod, the girls begin to hug, smearing their makeup. But in the moment, it doesn’t matter. They are both celebrating something special, a milestone into the magical world of love.

At 19, I have only had two steady boyfriends – one of which I had never even kissed while we were together. In many ways, I could be called reserved, demure, and conservative my rituals with a boy. Hand holding first. Short hugs. Then long hugs. Pecks on the cheek, arms around the waist, and maybe, when the time is right, a first kiss. A long kiss. On the lips.

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When ‘Yes’ Means ‘No’: How to Identify Rape

By MindfulAide

Trigger Warning: themes of sexual assault

I knew him from my group of friends in high school. He was in university, he had drugs on hand that I had never heard of, and he loved to dance. One night while smoking weed with some friends he innocently asked me if I had ever been to a dark rave, and would I like to go dancing with him and his girlfriend? She seemed cool, and I would have loved to get to know her more, so I said yes. I was barely fifteen, and they were well into their twenties. We all ordered in pizza, ate, and then started drinking magic mushroom tea. Then we dropped acid. Then we popped MDMA. It is at that point things get a little fuzzy around the edges.

I remember being at the club – no idea how I got in – and eventually not being able to stand anymore. His girlfriend  disappeared; were they arguing? He gave me another alcoholic drink. I remember not being able to walk properly outside the club. After that there are flashes of some sexual acts, but I was really out of it. I remember puking into a toilet for a long time afterwards.

I woke up the next day naked in his bed. He had his clothes on. He told me that he wanted me to get out, so I got dressed and left still somewhat buzzing. I knew I had sex with him, my clothes were everywhere, and I did remember doing it. I just felt incredibly guilty. I felt as though I had cheated on my boyfriend. I felt I did something wrong. I knew I must have agreed to it because I was enjoying what I could remember… didn’t I? I never said no, did I? I must have agreed. I must have.

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VVS (Vagina Very Sensitive)

By CHelsea ricchio

All my life I’ve never been able to get my lady parts to work properly. If it wasn’t one thing it was another.

As a teenager, I could never really envision myself having sex. I think I just knew implicitly that it was going to hurt like a bitch, because how could it not? For a while I just wasn’t interested at all, but in my later years I figured that my high school boyfriend and I should do it, because that just made sense. I planned it out (very poorly, in my head) but it never happened because he broke up with me.

Post-graduation, I started dating someone new, and on my 18th birthday he decided that, as my gift, we should have sex. You know, to make me a woman and all that. We’d been dating for about 2 and a half months, which to me at that time was nothing. I didn’t really want to, but I felt pressured and I wanted to ‘get it over with’ so I agreed.

Big mistake.

I will never forget how painful it was those first few times we tried. I’m not even kidding you, we were not even CLOSE to being successful but I screamed so loud you would think that I was being stabbed to death. Which is exactly what it felt like.

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I Feel Pretty, and It Means Nothing

By CHelsea ricchio

Originally posted on tumblr here on June 26, 2014.

Lately I’ve felt very comfortable in my own skin. Most days I even feel pretty. Part of this is simply due to finally perfecting the art of making myself look good. I know exactly which clothes flatter my body and personality, I know exactly what kind of makeup looks good on me, I know exactly how to do my hair, and I rarely stray from that path. But when I do that I feel prettier than I used to. Like I am “enough”. I used to feel like it wasn’t enough to just be kind of cute – I had to be cute and pretty and beautiful and hot and sexy all at once, and I was maybe only two of those things at best.

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