As I’m making these I’m realizing exactly how much of my life and development was pushed towards being desirable to men.

Keeping my hymen intact until my wedding night (or no one will ever want me because no one wants damaged goods, a broken teacup, a scratched up sports car, or a glass of water with a drop of milk in it) never having crushes, only ever loving one person – all this emphasis on keeping your heart pure and safe and intact by actively not loving people until you know they’re the one is more damaging than the people making money off of this want you to believe (I’m looking at you courtship proponents).

I’m also realizing, as I’m making these, it’s no wonder I felt inadequate, it’s no wonder I felt like a failure – writing these down as the lies that they are, exposing the dissonance (must be stunning and modest, so as not to attract attention and be raped, but so men will also like you. Try living trying to balance that – actually most of you probably have, it’s wrong. It’s victim blaming, it’s rape culture, and it’s the silencing of people who’re raised female.)

I’m noticing a lot of themes and overtones, exactly how concerted the effort to keep women in submission, to keep them below, to keep them down is and has been my entire life. Having been out of my parents house for 5 years (on the 28th!), I’m realizing that a lot of this isn’t just relegated to them like I hoped, but rather also a huge part of the culture. I feel like I can’t escape it.

All the courtship proponents tell us it’s better to wait until you’re married to have sex because 1) it’s what god wants and 2) the sex is better if you’re a virgin 3) no one regrets waiting.

Well, I waited, and I regret it. I waited and learned that I have a condition that makes penetrating impossible. I waited and felt like a failure because I was married and supposed to be having AWESOME sex (also, sex is awkward and takes energy and it was super stressful for the first year and a half because I hadn’t come to grips with aforementioned condition), and I wasn’t. I was also told, explicitly, that in order to keep my husband, I had to have sex whenever he wanted all the time, so imagine being unable to actually do that, after waiting and not knowing or being able to treat this condition until after marriage while carrying this weight of my-husband-will-leave-me-if-he-can’t-get-in-my-vagina.

It is bullshit and I am a rage ball. Your worth does not depend on your virginity – have (safe!) sex when you’re ready (I was ready before we were married but then all of the pressure to wait and the reiteration of the sacredness of sex just, it’s not healthy), purity culture is bullshit created to keep everyone feeling bad about their sexuality when it’s nothing to be ashamed of.