Women and Sex:<br />
Damned If You Do, Dammed If You Don't?

Rihanna and Lori 'Lolo' Jones

I’m not the biggest sports fan, but dating my first true sport’s fanatic is learning me a thing or two.  One show that I’ve always enjoyed watching, even before my new-found interests, is HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” -where Gumbel, longtime media personality and awesome examiner, provides an intimate gaze into the lives of our favorite sportsmen and women.  In a recent interview with gorgeous, famed track star (and near winner of the gold in the 2008 Olympics) Lori “Lolo” Jones, the stellar athlete opened up about how difficult it is to maintain a long term relationship because, at twenty-nine, she is a virgin and plans to maintain her virginity until she marries.

I immediately thought “bravo, good for her”, when she unapologetically made that statement.  As much as I advocate that women should explore their sexual selves, I equally uphold women who steer their own ships when deciding who and when to sex- even if that means not sexing at all.  A woman who chooses not to have sex is on equal footing with a woman who chooses to have loads of sex, in my opinion, because both women understand that their sexual agency should only be determined and explored by them- which is the exact opposite of how we are socialized to think as women and of women.

I was quite taken aback by how the public ridiculed Lolo for admitting that she was a virgin, though.  With the recent attacks by right-wingers on women’s bodies, and a move to bring America back to the days of yore (read women without reproductive, voting or any rights), One would think a stance of chastity by a celebrated, talented and gorgeous athlete would be good news.  I was wrong, clearly.

Slate Magazine writes: " Apparently, an adult woman’s choice to remain a virgin is such bombshell news that it makes next-day headlines on People.com, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post. As evidenced by an incredibly unfunny TMZ segment that implies the Olympian should be humiliated by her chastity, there’s certainly a stigma attached to being a virgin in your late 20s.

Lolo is a prude, a goody two-shoes, and possibly a fraud if one subscribes to the ideas presented at TMZ and other media outlets.  With her, here we stand again at a cross-roads, with neither road leading to acceptance for our choices to sex or not to sex.  If people ridicule Lolo for waiting to have sex, they should applaud singer Rihanna for publicly shrugging when men from her past claim that she is getting it in with everyone inside and outside of the music industry.  I mean because not sexing is scornful, so sexing is… wait. 

Both women are the objects of derision because they make choices about what to do with their bodies.

There have been many a social media message sent, and posts published, in cyber-space geared towards muddying Rihanna’s reputation because she…has sex. Actually, according to her ex-lovers (including one who faced –not enough, in my opinion- public outrage for viciously attacking her), Rihanna has had multiple sexual conquests, which, if she were a guy, would make her quite the champion lova. 

I love what Michael Arceneaux writes here: "… as for everyone else so fixated on this notion that there’s a problem with the way Rihanna carries herself and brought this attention on herself: grow up. She could have Mother Teresa’s sex life and would bring about the “starlet or streetwalker” debate from any man with a certain attitude about women and sex.

The hard truth is this: both women are the objects of derision because they make choices about what to do with their bodies.  It matters not if they never have sex or have sex every minute of the day, in this place of patriarchy, women are not to negotiate sex- they are to succumb to it- that is the only viable option that is absent of ridicule.  So in order to be liked, to be toasted, Lolo Jones needs to admit that although she really wants to wait until she get’s married, if the “right guy” comes along she may let her guard (and panties) fall.  Similarly, Rihanna needs to play the victim and express how much she loved all of the men that she has sexed and how heartbroken she is that those relationships didn’t work out- because she gave them her all.  Yup.  Reprieve only comes to women who have sex because they just aren’t strong enough to say no and they really, really want to please the men in their lives.

Sound off!  Do you think Rihanna and Lolo Jones are being ridiculed because they are making choices, on their own, about their bodies?