What Are You Afraid of…The Love Below?: Black Female Sexual Agency and the Power/Penalty of Yes


I recently hosted a shindig with a group of 30-somethings at my home.  The group was composed of both men and women, and much of the conversation—albeit fueled by alcohol and barbecue—revolved around male/female relationships and of course sex.  One of the men present at the event put forth the premise that all women fall into four hierarchically based categories: marriageable date-able, fuck-able, and untouchable.

This statement immediately sent me to my special place.  My anger reached biblical proportions. That is a less judicious part of me wanted to smite him on sight—but instead I listened. I listened to him rationalize ad nauseam a limited, simple, and rather hurtful view of women and in particular Black women.  I may be biased, but to me a Black woman’s experience and the way she does “womanhood” is too unique and really too  divine to be reduced to arbitrary categories. Yet his premise gives us a point of departure to discuss Black female sexual agency: its power and its penalty.

The fictions around Black female sexuality are dangerous.  From the sexually repressed mammie to the wanton jezzebel, these convenient and simplistic archetypes make me nervous for several reasons.  First, they are symbolic of the greater cultural systems of patriarchy that normalize sexism and more pointedly sexual prohibition for women—and in particular Black women. Second, they subvert Black women’s sexual agency and support constructed myths of the “good girl” and the “bad girl” to the detriment of Black female sexual identity formation. Finally, they treat sex as a commodity within the relational transactions of Black women and men, thereby stripping it of its spiritual and natural origins.

For decades, Black women have had to negotiate a sexual identity against the historical backdrop of slavery that found them the victims of systematic rape and sexual abuse.  From these origins, a range of sexual stereotype regarding Black women have emerged in the larger culture.  We have been portrayed as either oversexed or sexually deficient.  Sadly, the Black female voice has largely been left on the margins of such discussions, particularly when it contradicts mainstream ideas.   Accordingly, to assert agency over one’s sexuality may even today be interpreted within the parameters of stereotypes like the Jezebel:

The portrayal of Black women as lascivious by nature is an enduring stereotype. The descriptive words associated with this stereotype are singular in their focus: seductive, alluring, worldly, beguiling, tempting, and lewd. Historically, White women, as a category, were portrayed as models of self-respect, self-control, and modesty – even sexual purity, but Black women were often portrayed as innately promiscuous, even predatory. This depiction of Black women is signified by the name Jezebel.2

Jezebel Stereotype

In the song “She Lives in My Lap”, by Outkast, a breathy Rosario Dawson’s whispers the lyrics: What’s wrong?/What are you afraid of?/The Love Below. I thought this line was very telling about the power differential that sex can cause in modern male female relationships.  I believe that many men are equal parts attracted to and fearful of a sexually confident woman.

All too often, a women’s sexual ego is equated to her ability to please a man— rather than her ability to derive sexual pleasure for herself.  However, if a woman outwardly expresses her desire for sexual pleasure and moreover asserts agency over her sexuality, she is often reduced to the “jump-off, “the  provocateur”, or ” the heaux”.  Categories and stereotypes become a way of managing common fears men have around female sexuality: that they will fail to please their partner, that their partner might commit adultery, or that they will erase men from their sexual experience all together.

The good girl/bad girl construct is another fall out of patriarchal thinking.   Steve Harvey’s Act like a Woman, Think like a Man is an artifact of this construct.   What’s the difference between a lady and a woman?  Patriarchy.  Western society promotes so-called sexual purity in women as a desirable quality for a mate.  On its face sexual purity isn’t a bad thing; I would simply argue that its value is applied inequitably across the sexes.   Black women are well aware of the “boys will be boys” mentality that governs sexual power structures of our community and for that matter larger Western society, but I believe we have been downright complacent, if not content to uphold and even perpetuate this norm.  We see and define our own value within these constructs: be sexually desirable—yes, desire sex outside the norms of society—no.

Categorizing or stereotyping women along lines of their collective sexual behavior is not only damaging to the female psyche, but I would argue equally dangerous for the greater society.  Ironically, as I type this, I am watching the documentary Love Crimes of Kabul. It traces the story of Afghan women who face prison for adultery and premarital sex.  While worlds apart from my reality, I would argue that the sexist ideology that governs such practices is very real in Western culture  and in the African-American community.  Listening to women talk about their lack of power to define their sexual behavior is an apt metaphor for the power struggles Black women face in defining, owning, leveraging, and embracing their sexuality.  Pain and pleasure interplay in this long running narrative.

Ever since Eve and the apple came into our cultural consciousness, women’s power over their sexuality has been compromised.  Women and men need to collectively take the power struggle, and manipulation out of our sexual relationships, in order to get back to its purest state. Sex is natural, spiritual, and beautiful.  When Black women and Black men confront each other honestly about what they are both seeking, the categories become extinct, the myths are debunked, and the stereotypes are confronted.  Love becomes free again. 

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Balls and Strikes: Boy versus Girl in the World Series of Love


Single Ladies: it’s cold outside and as the Celsius drops you might find your stock going up. Seemingly out of nowhere, men you have not heard from in months are contacting you  just to sayhello”, “what’s up”, or “would you like to accompany me for a week-long, all expenses paid vacation to the Cayman Islands” (seriously dude I haven’t talk to you in like 5 months…we are not going international…that is how people end up on Snapped).

Basking in the glow of this onslaught of attention, you might assume that you suddenly got more gorgeous, intelligent, and charismatic than you were in say July or the fella(s) in question finally wised up to how awesome you are.  However, sadly this is not likely the case.  This time of year many men are simply looking for—and I’ll put it delicately—a winter cuddle buddy.

All my professional daters know that  the end of August through Thanksgiving represents peak hunting season for the men folk.  I will guess that first chilly nip in the air marked the return of some long-lost friends for many of you ladies.  That said, this sudden shift in your dating fortune may present some challenges for the choosey lovers among you—those who have no real desire to jump from bed to bed, but are seeking intimacy and daytime activities along with the passion filled nights of winter.   So how do you keep your winter snugfest alive through the holidays and past the darling buds of May?   Suffice it to say, you are going to want to be strategic about whose tree you tinsel this year.

Men want to have sex.  Women want to have sex too.  However, women often prefer a relationship to provide a context for the sex. Accordingly, we seek them out to accommodate this desire for security and essentially love. I mean there are exceptions.  There are many women who are perfectly content to engage in relations with a man with no strings attached; however, a large percentage of us are looking for more.  Accordingly, the idea of casual sex particularly among élite and well-educated Black women is a sensitive topic because so many of us feel bound by our sexuality, when we should feel empowered.

Being a choosey lover is  your prerogative and saying “no” or “let’s wait a while” is a real option. A quality man will actually find this appealing and may even pursue you because you are a challenge.  That doesn’t mean get all Doris Day on them; men are driven in many ways by sex.  Yet, I urge finding a happy space where you are being true to yourself and your needs, while respecting those of your potential partner.

One of my favorite stand-up routines is Dave Chappelle’s women killed chivalry bit.  He humorously posits that as a collective women have devalued their self-worth by being overtly sexually accessible and even promiscuous.  In this way, we have essentially put our sexual agency in a box, wrapped it in Christmas paper, topped it with a bow and turned it over men.  Chappelle states, “if p***y was a stock it would be plummeting because women give it away to easy”.  Touché.

Our society allows our male counterparts to penetrate ad nauesem every trash-box rocking a cheap Forever 21  Herve Leger knock-off  without penalty or judgement, while we women often feel bound by certain rules—rules from the Bible, the Koran, Steve Harvey, or whoever.  The extent to which this reality is a result of patriarchy is important, but nonetheless it remains a reality.  While shows like Girlfriends and Sex and the City worked to subvert these rules; they are woven in our Puritan cultural fabric.  And it is within this context, men and women become like two nations caught up in nuclear brinksmanship, rather than impassioned lovers caught in an intimate embrace.

Because women are aware or even perceive that men have many options for copulating— particularly in our large urban cities (like D.C.), we feel a pressure to engage in this kind of relating early on to attract or keep a man. Society tells women to play the game to get the guy by either being sexually inaccessible or overtly sexual.  Both of these behaviors are imposed constructs and I would argue not aligned to really connecting with another person.  Many times the internal pressure to give it up is almost as bad as the external.  We have needs too.

Quite frankly I know many men and women I have talked to are exhausted, by this whole tango.  They are fed-up with checklist, game playing, timelines, dreams deferred, minimal treatment,  and manipulative tactics that we use on each other to get what we want or need.   Essentially…

Men want this…..


Women want that and this…..

 

Both wouldn’t mind this ultimately…

 

but as a collective we often end up like this…


Frankly, I find the term casual sex sort of misplaced. The fact that an act so connected to the universe and the God within us can be reduced to khakis and a polo is odd to me.  Yet, I cannot accept the whole puritanical wait until marriage construct as natural, healthy, or realistic for most women and men.  While I know some choose to live this way, many of us heathens cannot.   For instance, many people are not looking for marriage.  Companionship—yes, but marriage—no.

So what happens to those of us in the badlands of dating purgatory where we believe in the possibility of love but are stifled by the dual desires to keep self-respect and dignity and yet find unbelievable passion?  How do we negotiate and balance love and lust in our life?  How do we connect our mind, bodies and spirits to another’s?   How do we begin respecting the God within ourselves and someone else and stop using each other as a means to an end?  Essentially,  I asking how do we make love and not war?

If I Were A Boy….: Is Chivalry Dead and Did We Sistahs Kill It?


My so-called dating life is often a platform for improvisational comedy, so I am careful not to extend my romantic foibles and fouls to the whole of Black sisterhood.  Yet listening to my gal pals has revealed a pattern that I cannot ignore.  It seems chivalry is dead and according to Dave Chappelle women killed it.  In general, many guys—not all mind you—are not interested in courting us anymore and this saddens me.

First, I recognize this is not entirely the guys fault.  Why buy the cow when you can have the milk for free? Frankly, it may simply be more efficient in today’s economy to skip the wining and dining.  Yet, I yearn for the days of flowers and chocolates.  A little romance would go a long way for the scorned and broken hearts out there. In fact, there are some real incentives to be had, if Black men and women decided to kick it old school style in terms of relationships.

You see I like classic  R&B groups like the Dells, Heatwave, and the Mighty, Mighty O’Jays.  These cats knew how to woo a lady.  The lyrics of love songs like “Stay in my Corner“, “Always and Forever“, and “When a Man Loves a Woman” illustrate what relationships should look like.  There was a time when a man would sing about taking the stars out of the sky for his girl, and now what do we get: “Blame it on the a a a a a alcohol” and “Why Would You Wanna Break-Up?

The once cultural norms of the guy paying for dinner, driving, and generally putting in work to get a ladies attention has been replaced with us doing all the work. We are chasing the guys down like the last pair of size-7, heavily discounted Tory Burche’s at a Nordstrom Annual sale. I see women driving around men.  I’ve been there.  I see women paying for meals.  I’ve been there too.  This role reversal does not feel natural to me and I think it emasculates men to the point where they no longer feel a desire to be the provider. Frankly, they do not put in work because there is no need.  The marriage statistics treat good Black men like a commodity on the dating market, while they simultaneously devalue  Black women.  Moreover, a lot of guys in my generation did not grow-up with  their father’s in the home.  These momma’s babies are so often ruined that by the time they get to us ladies, they simply expect to be catered to.

There is also the matter of the nookie and the cookies.  Guys will tell us, if you want to be chased then don’t give it up too soon.  Noted.   Yet, the sexually liberated among us will argue that we have the right to get ours, just like the fellas do and there is nothing to be gained by waiting.  Their motto: “if you don’t give it up, another girl will”. Yet if you subscribe to the anthropologically  proven notion that men are by nature hunters, then you must acknowledge there is a strategic advantage as well as a valuing of self that comes from resisting sex earlier on in a relationship.  All of us take an L in this arena every now and again, but when it gets tough I like to think of Anne Boleyn.

History buffs among you will know Henry the VIII became so enamored with Boleyn that he went on an unrelenting  pursuit to make her his mistress.  Yet she steadfastly resisted his attempts to seduce her.  He became so obsessed with Boleyn, he broke the entire nation of England from the Catholic Church to have his marriage to Queen Catherine annulled, so he could then marry Boleyn.  Moral appraisals aside,this man seceded his entire country from an entire church, and not just any church the entire Holy Catholic church, thereby changing the annals of history forever…and all because one chick would not give up the cookies.

Only thing guys will break-up nowadays is the dinner bill for us to pay our half.

I find myself sitting in the car watching my dates walk all the way into the restaurant only to find that I am not beside or behind them.  Many are shocked when I insist they not only open my car door but hold the door when I walk through the restaurant, as well. Most cats have so much swag there is no hand holding; or public displays of affection.  Moreover, they also want you to call them and text them, and we run the pace with a smile on our face because hell, a half a man is better than none…right?  I’d venture to say no.

I think there is something to be said for letting a man feel like a man.  This of course does not mean unwittingly meeting his needs—  i.e. cooking and sexing ’till the cows come home without acknowledging your own needs. It does, however, mean raising your level of expectation from what think you can get to what you truly deserve.

All of us deserve to be the princess sometimes and sure we will kiss some frogs, but when true love comes a knocking and you walk through the door, chances are he’ll be holding it for you.

Come Here Baby: You Sexy Motherf%#$@


Maybe it’s because growing my hair out makes me look like Frederick Douglass or because I have been feeling just a bit unpretty lately (need to get my eyebrows waxed), but I was all fired up today when I stumbled  upon a post entitled “Let’s Wait a While” on Sister Toldja’s blog The Beautiful Struggler.

The  talented and—please note—extremely attractive blogger was addressing her dismay at being referred to as “sexy” by a man she just met. In the post, her basic premise was that the term—as an immediate moniker—was too forward and a bit too tawdry for her taste.  She suggests the brothas need to slow the sexual innuendo down until a real connection is made.  To affirm her opinion, she asked her Twitter followers, “if they were cool with being called  sexy by a man shortly after meeting him.”   Many responded that they were in fact not comfortable with the term sexy after an initial meeting.

Guess I am an outlier here, but I love being called sexy.  And the closer I get to thirty, I notice this becomes a less frequent occurrence.  So now when it happens—call me a trash-box hooker a la Ne Ne Leakes to Kim Zoliak—but I am flattered.  Many men in the professional circles in DC are either so politically correct,  taken, disinterested, or otherwise neutered that good old fashion cat calling has gone the way of the 8-track. Quite frankly, you have to go to the hood to hear the long forgotten “heeeey seeexxxy” or the somewhat refined alternative “aaaay shawwwwty”.  I guess it’s just the DC in me, but I am not offended, insulted, or otherwise put off by the term sexy.

I’m the cutish funny girl in my group, so the late bloomer in me cannot tap the resolute feminist part of myself when it comes to this question.  Many of my far more gorgeous sister friends were really put off by the idea of a virtual stranger calling them sexy.  They suggested that it was too forward or made the guy seem like he was after one thing.  One friend suggested that a guy who called her sexy of the top could not get any play at all.  Yikes,  brothers I feel sorry for you because these girls are playing hardball, so chose your words carefully.

However, a few equally divalicious gal pals suggested they had absolutely no problem with the term “sexy”.  They considered it a compliment.  To them I say here, here.

The  informal poll among my friends based on Sister Toldja’s  question on the acceptability of “sexy” was about an even split between the ayes and nays. Yet, my suspicion is that the real answers for both groups lies somewhere not in the black in white but in that ever-present gray area.

Now…..if this guy calls you sexy after the initial meet; your probably going to be a little put off:

But somehow I suspect your tune changes, if this guys text you “hey sexy”:

Sister Toldja argues “sexy” is inappropriate on the jump because as a potential suitor  “sex is a space you should be invited into”.  On its face, I agree with that point.  Many of us have long grown weary of having are hands or worst yet behinds grabbed in the alcohol drenched atmosphere of a bar or club.

Nevertheless, part of me feels with the “sexy” bruhaha that we are being just a tad bit overly analytical ladies. I highly doubt most guys who refer to you as sexy are looking to bed you in side of a minute–albeit the exception for the nasty uncle types.  I mean most of the guys are insecure and probably think they are being flattering, when the acknowledge your desirability.  That is of course not to say that men are not carnal, sexually driven, visual creatures by nature; yet I’m not convinced at least for me slowing down is the answer.

Over here, as thirty is getting the reach on me and I get a little more sore and a little less sexy each day; I will take all the sexy I can get.  Bring sexy back, as far as I am concerned fellas.  We rock are “very sexy” Victoria Secret under armor, stilettos, and any number of sexy enhancing accouterments to bring the guys to the yard.  Yet, when they get there we have a lot of rules and hang-ups about what they say. In its everyday use,  I’m not convinced sexy is not necessarily  synonymous with wanting to lay it down.  In contrast, I would argue that the term has become increasingly innocuous over time.

So what do we think ladies?  Is “sexy” off limits or does it matter who is saying it?  If your boothang calls you sexy is that cool?  What about the guy at the bar or bus stop?  Please take the poll below.

Black Barbie Dressed in Bulgari: Cleavage Baring Doll Draws Ire


As a child, I was an avid Barbie collector. Apart from my collection, Barbie dominated my everyday play. My friends and I would create fantastical scenarios for Barbie and her gal pals to act out.  A sanitized, multi-racial Sex in the City, the dolls became the celluloid extension of our imaginary adult selves; they dated, partied, shopped, and kicked it with the girls.  Perhaps this is why a recent story on the evening news about a collector Barbie drawing criticism from parents caught my attention.  The African-American Barbie is part of the Barbie Basic collection.  The doll is clad in a tight black sheath dress that features a plunging V-neckline, displaying plenty-o-cleavage.  While according to the Mattel website, the doll is intended for the adult collector, parents our outraged with the sexy figurine.   For her part, the designer—Stacy McBride—defends the look and says the dolls she designs are intended to be a positive influence on young African-American girls.  Criticism of Barbie’s anatomically—if not proportionally—realistic frame and oft sexy wardrobe is not new.  However, I would suggest this Black Barbie is uniquely problematic at this cultural moment and for that reason deserves critique.

Michelle Obama, our sophisticated, elegant and graceful First Lady, was recently criticized for displaying too much décolletage at the White House State Dinner for Mexico’s president Felipe Calderon.  The criticism—mounted by Glenn Beck and others—was unwarranted.  Lady Obama was stylish, modern, and fashion forward. I suspect much of this criticism reflects a general distaste in certain circles for the Obama’s, but also reeks of an attempt to marginalize Black female sexual agency.  

In the same way, I wonder does the uproar over the Black Barbie purport a general distaste for Black female beauty and sexuality.  Such a critique could be found within and outside the Black community.  The Black feminine in the American narrative either highly sexualized or rampantly sexually negated; she is often subjected and without power or agency over her body or prostituting herself for money, cars, and clothes—See For the Love of Ray-J.  The lack of a realistic portrayal of Black female sexuality in the mainstream makes this Barbie issue more complex. For example, the modern black feminine is highly sexualized in hip-hop culture, as Black video vixens are surgically manipulating their bodies to become Black Barbies.  Nicki Minaj—self-proclaimed— Harajuku Barbie is an immediate example of this ironic trend. 

The blonde-haired, blue-eyed Barbie represents the idealized standard of American beauty.  Her buxom proportions and cinched waist line have informed and reflected what America considers beautiful.  Yet, Barbie has evolved over the years to be more ethnically diverse and inclusive.  Vogue Black from Italian Vogue features a lovely online pictorial and printed a catalogue of Black Barbies, in celebration of Barbie’s 50th anniversary.  However, the incarnation of the first African-American Barbie is storied:

 “Colored Francie”, first issued in 1967, was the first doll in the Mattel line with a truly dark complexion. However, the doll did not have genuinely African American features, since it was made with the same head molds as the Caucasian Francie doll. Because of this, a doll named Christie, first issued in 1968, is often considered the first true African American doll in the Barbie line.[1]

-Wikepedia Francie (Barbie) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francie_(Barbie_doll

Black Barbie was launched in 1980 but still had white features. In September 2009, Mattel introduced the So In Style range, which was intended to create a more realistic depiction of black people than previous dolls.[21]

-Wikepedia Barbie – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbie

All of the dolls in the Basic Barbie Collection are sexy.  They look like a cast of America’s Next Top Model.  They are racially diverse with an Asian, Latina, and two dolls of African descent. 

One of the Black dolls even sports a textured short ‘do—very uncharacteristic for Barbie who is known for long, flowing, straight locks.  The same doll is very darked-skinned, a nod to Mattel’s efforts to include more diverse skin tones for African-American dolls.  They are more expensive than a traditional Barbie, but remain accessible at a retail price of about $20 each.  If the dolls are being sold in the toy section of the local Wal-Mart, I would argue that perhaps the cleavage is a bit extreme.  However, I have noticed that the press photo of the doll is far more exposed than the one on the Mattel website.

With the preference for white beauty standards still being illustrated in doll test today, some 60 years after Jim Crow, one can see the value of beautifully diverse Black dolls.  If the dolls can indeed help a little Black girl feel more beautiful about herself than they can be useful teaching tools.   For instance, the Barbie So in Style line features African-American dolls with broad noses and full lips, more characteristic of African-American phenotypes.

In March, a Walmart store in Louisiana caused a stir for selling a Black Barbie at half the price of White Barbie. The Black Barbie was $3 and the White, $5.93. Walmart representatives said the dolls weren’t selling well, thus the price cut.  This suggests to me a devaluating of Black beauty that has long been the tradition of this nation. It is the problem that lies at the heart of this Barbie cleavage debacle.  “Black is Beautiful” has been decidedly up for interrogation from within and outside the Black community.  Therefore, expressions of Black beauty are uniquely exposed to critique and bound by a tortured historic context. 

The cleavage baring Barbie is absolutely “sexy”, but is she a “jezebel because she is Black?  Or can a sexy, beautiful Black doll be a change agent for American beauty conceptions?   Is such a such a doll marketable to the mainstream or does it remain the doll of last resort.

Discuss.

I’m A Highly Educated Single Black Woman and No I’m Not Lonely


I should be depressed.   Why? I’m newly single and everywhere I turn I keep reading, hearing, and seeing so-called consensus couched as definitive evidence that as a highly educated black woman, I may be that way from here until eternity.   The lonely black girl narrative is being embraced with very little interrogation in this cultural moment and I for one am ready to put the Kabosh on it.  So, here it goes:

I AM YOUNG, BLACK, HIGHLY EDUCATED and NOT THE LEAST BIT LONELY.  I’M SINGLE AND HAPPY!

I mean sure, I would like to go to Applebees and have some nice conversation with a gentleman suitor, as much as the next girl; but I am not the least bit desperate or disillusioned at the prospect of not marrying again.  I’m leaving that  aspect of my life up to God’s providence, which means not settling, accommodating, rationalizing, or rearranging to fit into someone else’s context.  No sir. Imma be me.

Any questions? 

However, I digress.  I can certainly acknowledge that the startling statistics on the state of the Black marriages and the overall decline of the Black family are culturally and economically significant, if not a sign of the Black apocalypse.   Hence, why I found a recent article sent to me by a sistah friend worth sharing. Found in April’s Economist Magazine—the latest mainstream media outlet to foray into the now well tread ground of the lonely black girl narrative—the article entitled How the Mass Incarceration of Black Men Hurts Black Women takes a look at how the mass numbers of homies on lock down results in declining marriages in our community.

I encourage you to check out the article in detail.  It has all the oft quoted statistics on single motherhood, black male incarnation, disproportionate educational levels etc. etc.   We know this story.  We live it every day.  We live it when our dentist girlfriend gives the blue collar brother a chance, even though they have next to nothing in common, aside from melanin; or when our aunt, the professor, settles for being the other woman, “just to have somebody”.  Accordingly, the part of the article that stood out to me is captured below:

“I thought I was a catch,” sighs an attractive black female doctor at a hospital in Washington, DC.  Black men with good jobs know they are “a hot commodity”, she observes. When there are six women chasing one man, “It’s like, what are you going to do extra, to get his attention?”

Bing. Bam. Boom and preach. As a native Washingtonian and current DMV resident, I can testify that this woman is speaking nothing but the God’s honest truth.  I haven’t dated in the last really ten years and I can tell you that it is viscous out there.   There are many successful, Ivy-educated, community service doing, church-going, peach cobbler baking, supermodel good looking women in this area and accordingly  it’s a man’s paradise.

Therefore, while being single does not sadden me, seeing my sistahs compromise in the name of love does.  The competition is so fierce that you have Rhodes Scholars dressing like cocktail waitresses to get attention. I’ve found black women are losing the unique expressions of our beauty, becoming carbon copies of this video model aesthetic with mythic long weaves, skin-tight ultra-short spandex dresses, and stripper platform heels.

I do recognize that men are visual and you have to show a little skin to bring the boys to the yard, but as of recent the hemlines and push-bras are getting out of control, not to mention the butt pads and felatio classes.

I for one refuse to play.  I’m almost thirty.  I don’t have the energy or desire to compete for a man who probably won’t even take the time to call me anyway.  I’ve learned they only text now. I’ve been out of the game a while.

Perhaps I’m content in my singleness because I’ve been there and done that with the whole marriage thing and realize that once the gardenias are wilted, the marital union is probably the most challenging endeavor one will take next to raising and child and battling a terminal illness.  It is more important in this life who you are becoming not who you have.  I believe when you tap into that; the right person will be revealed, regardless of race.

I am not a marriage hater; I’m just a singledum embracer.  The guys get it.  The 25 – 35 years old men I know do not seem to be rushing to jump the broom.  Most are keenly focused on reaching their professional goals and dreams, chillin with the boys, traveling, partying, and when and if they have time, they may get up with you. Maybe.

So where does that leave us ladies?  Do we keep playing the game?  Sacrificing, compromising, and exploiting ourselves in the pursuit of love?  Or since most of these dudes out here think they are living some real life version of For the Love of Ray-J, do we change the game up?  I’m advocating saying goodbye to the getting caught in the thick of thin relationships and focusing on the real purposes of our lives.  I’m saying don’t settle for crazy. You are worth more.  The good news is the right one will come along.  Providence will step in, when you are fully loving you, growing your character, and embracing each tomorrow with joy and exuberance, whether single or not.

Chastity Chic: Can Celebs Like Lady Gaga Make Celibacy Cool?


The word of the day is CELIBACY.  Yes kids; you heard me correct: CELIBACY.  From Lady Gaga’s  recent promulgation on the benefits of chaste living to public demands to free Catholic priests from the ties that bind, celibacy is becoming an increasingly  important component of this cultural moment.  So  let’s talk about not having sex, those opting out and those that may want to think about opting in.

This week both CNN.com and the Washingtonpost.com are featuring stories about celebs abstaining from sex.  In addition to Lady Gaga, celebs who have gone on the record about their chaste lifestyles include: Adriana Lima, Lenny Kravitz, Jordin Sparks, and Miley Cyrus.   Gaga’s celibacy contradicts her sexualized image and lyrics.  Her music video for the hit dance single Telephone  features a full frontal crotch shot; a move that does not exactly inspire modesty. Gaga, who is Catholic, often invokes Madonna in her styling and image, an artist who wrote the book on “Sex“.  Ironically, early in her career Madonna riled the Vatican faithful; her erotic videos were laden with symbols of her Catholic childhood.  I wonder if Lady Gaga’s pledge of celibacy will result in a Papal endorsement:

It’s OK to be whomever it is that you want to be,” she said. “You don’t have to have sex to feel good about yourself, and if you’re not ready, don’t do it.

Celibacy’s place in the modern Catholic church is also under scrutiny. as the massive domestic and international sex scandals dominate recent headlines.  Many critics suggests that celibacy within the priesthood has led to this institutional problem of child sex abuse.  However, research as shown sexual abuse rates in the Catholic Church is not higher than in society, other public institutions and other religious denominations.   However, one must wonder if the vows of celibacy have a place in the modern world?  The more progressive Episcopal church allows priest to marry and have recently allowed gay clergy to serve in the memory.  Is such an approach more aligned to this cultural moment? 

Whether pledging purity out of religious, moral, health, or any number of motivations, I hope abstaining finds a place in the world of gratuitous sexual exploitation.  Perhaps Gaga’s advice may save a few more teenage girls from starring appearances on MTV’s Sixteen and Pregnant.

So what do you think?  Is abstinence the new sex?  Does celibacy sell?

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