Let’s face it, sex sells everything from haute couture to Doritos.
Pop culture’s influence is tightly wound around every aspect of our lives – especially our romantic relationships.
If you spend even a moment perusing the pages of beauty magazines, blog surfing, thumb hustlin’ on Instagram, trying to outrun your DVR’s max capacity or engaged with media in any way, you’re receiving a top-notch Sex-Is-Bae education.
The article “No Neutral Ground: How Media Influences Us” in the September issue of The Ensign Magazine asserts that media’s powerful influence literally produces explicit, step-by-step instructions on how to conduct our lives. This subtle dominance consumes our thoughts and ultimately shapes who we become.
The lessons are very clear.
If you want a shot at being considered a viable sex partner, you’ll need to stay fly and maintain a five-star sex connoisseur rating. Sex is the only way to get the relationship you desire and great sex is the only way to maintain it.
Apparently, there’s no place for abstinence in pop culture. Society’s beat is considered much more listener friendly.
Its daily pose is also one of my favorite Jagged Edge jams, ‘What You Tryin’ to Do for It?’ The question is less about the ‘what’ and more about the ‘how much’ it implies. Good girls, in the traditional I’m-not-having-sex sense, need not respond.
They’re talking exclusively to girls who are good at it.
But alas, good girls have not been silenced. In fact, they’ve responded in a big way and the foundation of their stance looks and feels a lot like empowerment.
These women are redefining labels; they are special girls, real good girls because they take real good care of themselves – mind, body, and spirit. In some cases, a supportive partner supported their journey, but equally noted, is the ability of women like Jenna, the main character on TV One’s Born Again Virgin, to travel these terrains alone.
Brelyn Bowman shocked the nation when news that her wedding celebration included presentation of a purity certificate (verification that her hymen was still intact) to her father went viral.
In her interview with People, the 22-year-old admitted that the struggle was very real during the three years leading up to her wedding day. She and her husband, gospel star Tim Bowman, who also remained a virgin until marriage, agreed that they survived ‘temptations to touch’ because of a shared respect for their priorities and personal values (Calderone, 2016).
For Ciara, maintaining abstinence during her engagement to Russell Wilson was not a difficult feat at all.
In a discussion with Christian Today Magazine, she confirmed that adjusting to the lifestyle was easy and surprisingly fun. Managing sexual urges required shifting attention to their romantic life which became hotter than ever.
Like Brelyn and Jenna, Ciara emphasized the role confidence played in designing the life the couple wanted together. This self-awareness reinforced every effort to remain sex free.
Meagan Goode had the same resolve when she and Oprah discussed The Wait, the bestselling novel she co-wrote with her husband, Minister DeVon Franklin. For Meagan, waiting deepened the connection she already had with DeVon.
They saw each other’s truths. The transparency fostered their ability to consider, with complete honesty, if a lifetime commitment to one another was truly in their best interests.
It seems that there is another way to achieve the relationship of your dreams. Learning how to achieve relationship gold – no matter what side of the fence you happen to be on right now, is a very real possibility.
Lean on the teachings of Paolo Freire. He asserts that given the right tools, everyone can utilize their critical consciousness, the ability to critically reflect on and transform their lives.
One thing is clear, a distinct level of maturation is required. An ostensibly different state of womanhood made sitting in sex-free sexuality comfortable. Ownership became non-negotiable.
Whose was it? Theirs.
A revelation that completely redefined sex and more significantly, abstinence. Pop culture’s noise no longer influenced the ranking of either. And just like sowing and reaping, sacrifice cultivated growth.
Jenna said it best during the closing scene of Born Again Virgin’s premiere episode: “All I’m trying to say sweet little girl, please don’t wake up in your 30s and realize that you were something worth waiting for. Because you are.”
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