Disclaimer: While I think that this article can be helpful to women of all colors, black women are my intended audience. I am having this disclaimer now because I have never pretended that I not speaking to a specific audience, although if other women find this article helpful that is great. This post is also part of a pair and I will be posting the second half either today or early tomorrow morning.
Further this post may be LONG so if need be I suggest reading half now half later.
I believe that young black women, (and a lot of other women) have been sold a false bill of goods. Although one commenter raised the idea that casual sex culture and shaming of women who seek out sex in relationships/marriage is NOT a caveat of modern feminism, I think that it is pretty apparent for those of us with eyes (or who have been on the internet lately and are NOT putting their heads in the sand) that casual sex has somehow been paired with modern feminism and has now sold women a GIANT false bill of goods. These women (around 18-27) have somehow been taught that casual sex and “hooking up” are “empowering” or “exploration”.
Further, this commenter who was skeptical of the shaming of young women who don’t engage in casual sex, mentioned that the reason why the disadvantages of casual sex weren’t spoke of in the feminist community was because it wasn’t “Relevant”. I believe that if feminists believe that talking about the ups of having casual sex (and like a different commenter mentioned are never actually pinpointed) then equal attention should be given to consequences. Especially since the claim of feminism is to give women choices. Further for black women, it is especially dangerous to apply behavior that my work for white or other raced women, when intersectionality comes into play.
So without further ado I will give you what is pertinent information regarding sex and why black women should NEVER be casual about their sexuality.
Here are some Fast Facts given out by the CDC
- African Americans are the racial/ethnic group most affected by HIV.
- In 2009, African Americans comprised 14% of the US population but accounted for 44% of all new HIV infections.
- Young African American gay and bisexual men are especially at risk of HIV infection.
Further the CDC states that black women, in 2009, accounted for 30% of NEW HIV cases. It also stated that 85% of black women who contract HIV and AIDS contracted it from heterosexual sex.
Further Womenshealth.gov states that compared to white women, black women have
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) affect people of all backgrounds and economic levels. Yet African-Americans have high rates of many common STIs. Compared to white women, African-American women have:
- Chlamydia (kluh-MID-ee-uh) rates that are more than seven times higher
- Gonorrhea (gon-uh-REE-uh) rates that are about 16 times higher
- Syphilis rates that are 21 times higher
For herpes 1 in 6 people between the ages of 14-49 in the United States has it. Black people were most likely to have it and black women had a prevelance rate of 48 PERCENT!
HPV- Is the MOST COMMON STI, and it passed most often through vaginal and anal intercourse. Further women are more likely to get this disease than men. According to the CDC many people do not even know they ever have it and it can be years before they realize it.
What does this tell you?- Well I think it’s obvious that black women are taking terrible risks when it comes to having casual sex. Forget that it is your “god given right to have as much sex as men” and look at the facts. The facts are that STD’s are being passed around at an alarming rate. The facts are that especially in the “black community” the irresponsibility of many men and women to EVER use protection when it comes to intercourse and the DL phenomenon( if we’re honest we’ll acknowledge its there) can HURT you, if you’re not keeping yourself safe.
Keeping yourself safe doesn’t mean hoping that the person you’re with is being honest with you when they said they were “clean”. (For starters in some cases the person may not know or show any symptoms of having any illness) Being safe means that you minimize the potential to get in this situation. It means avoiding having casual sex at all. Further if the men black women are having sex with aren’t taking responsibility for themselves (and read Men’s statistics and you’ll see its bad too) black women are committing suicide by engaging in behavior with them. Maybe in other communities where women are infected at lower rates than black women can “afford” to have casual sex (though I highly doubt it) black women can NOT allow themselves to be a victim of this too; Something that can be taken down to 0% risk simply by NOT engaging. We already have enough on our plates.
Out of Wedlock Births:
In the “black community” 73 percent of births are out of wedlock meanwhile for Latinos the rate is 53% and for whites 29%. Considering the fact that black people are only 14% of the US population that is troubling. Forget for the moment that black women “shouldn’t be abandoned by deadbeat men”. Obviously black women shouldn’t be abandoned, (DUH) but for it is doubly obvious for anyone who has escaped Blackistan that black women are ON THEIR OWN. I have said this a trillion times. Black women can only depend on themselves in the BC, especially when everything goes south. So for black women intentionally put themselves in a situation where they will be have 18 years of heart ache where they have to raise a child alone (especially when that wasn’t their choice) it is madness.
Marriage- This is specifically a problem for black women because black women especially are having the most problems trying to be able to finding suitable marriage partners. Black women also complain about how the dating market is not in their favor. Black women have not been told that they should try and find suitable partners while they are and may have an edge. For all of the complaining about a “man shortage” it is inconceivable that black women should spend their time having casual sex during their 20’s and then somehow confused and bewildered when they hit their 30’s, after all of their failed relationships and wonder why they can’t find anyone.
Emotional Toll- This is the thing is one of the most important aspects of casual sex/hooking up that I find that virtually nobody ever seems to consider. In fact, what should be the first thing that people consider before black women engage in hook up culture, it is always the last. In fact most people like to pretend (and it is pretending) that is the least important aspect. Women are also told that this is not important and buzzwords like “exploration” “empowering” and “getting to know yourself” are thrown around without giving a thought to the downside. Emotional responsibility is everywhere. If you read accounts of a lot of women who have hooked up or had casual sex afterwards the majority of these women end up feeling bad afterwards and have very negative feelings about the experience.
Even the women who when they were in their early twenties and said they were enjoying themselves and didn’t have any emotional problems, when retrospective studies were done, it was reported that these women found that they found these experiences regretful. Another theme that I continually see catching up to women is that these women who spent their time hooking up and having casual sex found that they engaged in the relationship because it was going somewhere they thought it would turn into something more. Turns out these women felt duped when the men they were with didn’t want anything more than a hookup. Another theme I always see is how a lot of women say that while it was easy to have a hookup by time they wanted to get serious they didn’t know how. Meaning while they knew what they like sexually they had absolutely no idea how to have a meaningful relationship later. Basically there has been a sharp interest on sexual identity there has been not enough interest on a relationship.
Reputation- This is something nobody wants to talk about but it would be insane if I didn’t mention it. Maybe for white women, they can afford to be promiscuous and have casual sex, because they are privileged enough that they will be seen as less damaged in the eyes of society. But it would be impossible to say that black women are granted the same. Indeed most black women (who have admitted the truth) know that in 2012 a lot of society sees black women as hyper-sexual, angry, jezebel baby mammas who can’t get enough sex. This is the same reason why I didn’t cosign SLUTWALKS because for black women to willfully call themselves slut, knowing that because they are black they are already stereotyped as hypersexual is just ignorant. Black women just can’t afford the hit to their reputation by being promiscuous, even if they wanted to. Yes in a perfect world people would see black women in a positive way without having to change perception themselves, but we don’t live like that and society is unfair.
Sex Workers- On one final note I wanted to talk about the black women who support pornography and prostitution, because this one is important too. In the feminist community there is the trope of sex positivism. ( The feminists who support pornography and prostitution because they see it as freeing). What black women aren’t told is that the majority of prostitutes are POOR, YOUNG (underage) and BLACK. See these women are saying that prostitution should be made “safe and legal” and yet these are the same women who claim that they know somebody who is a prostitute by CHOICE. These women are the 1% and it pisses me off to no end to hear from women who voluntarily get to choose. They are not forced and they can walk away at any time. Black women cannot afford to cosign behavior that is predominately going to affect them. They also can’t afford to cosign the objectification of women when they already know their reputation is in the gutters, as black women.
Reading this points I just made I don’t see how it is responsible or smart to promote or encourage (or at least blindly sit by and tell women that being promiscuous is A-okay) when women know that it can potentially hurt and/or ruin their lives. For black women, it is downright suicide to cosign/engage in behavior that has risks that can potentially hurt you, especially considering black women are the MOST likely to be affected by all of these things. If women want to engage in behavior like this of course, they can do whatever they want, but I am not going to cosign, laud or accept promiscuity as good (for men or women). Especially when I know how much black women are hurt by it every day.