Sex Don’t Make A Woman

by Jamilah Lemieux

I recently thought back to some of my earliest “serious” conversations about sex, which took place in the halls of Whitney Young Magnet High School. My girls and I debated the qualifications that a boy would need in order to be bestowed with our precious V-cards and lamented the fact that we really needed to focus on college guys, because they were so much more mature and you know girls mature faster than boys, so we were really 18 in spirit anyway. We spent as much time agonizing over the future boyfriends and romances that may lead to sex as we did the little courtships we actually had going on.

Alas, I was the impatient one and cast out my virginity like a pair of rundown shoes the day before homecoming my sophomore year. A college guy (who I later discovered was likely a high school student like myself) enticed me to take three buses and a train to his house during the school day with the promise of my first cunnilingus; somehow, a Jodeci tape (this makes me sound older than I am; reality is, he just didn’t have a CD player for some reason) and the loss of my cherry were involved in this. All I remember was “Huh, the blood thing isn’t a myth” and taking the piece of paper next to his phone that had my phone number written on it, because I didn’t want to talk to him again.

I was largely unaffected by the whole thing. I bought a little bean pie to eat on my long ride back and went to get my hair done for the dance, praying I’d done a good job washing up. I entertained the “I’m a woman now” foolishness for about two seconds, before deciding that I would keep this little experience to myself and would share a more “special” story with my girls. Unfortunately, dude told a friend from my school and one of our boys aired me out on a field trip. Yet and still it was not a big deal to me.

A little later in my Young days, my friends had a convo about what we thought our number of partners would be prior to marriage. With the start date of fifteen in mind and the age of thirty being the end, I threw out “fifty.”Even though I immediately backtracked (math has never been my strong suit), my girls fry me about that until this day. Though i went a bit too far in one direction, they had numbers that were also a bit questionable: three, four, five. Nearly ten years later…we’ll just say everyone’s numbers were off.

Sex has never been a source of agony for me in the way I’ve seen it be for some other women. I either wanted to sleep with someone or I didn’t; in situations of the former, I weighed the pros and cons and made a choice. Did I always make the “best” choice? Probably not, but I haven’t suffered any real consequences or pain as a result of sex, because I always put my safety and happiness first before any man’s ego and before concerns about what people may think.

I think that when some folks hear people talk about women and sexual liberation, they get an image of bra-burning feminists walking around with no panties, ready to hop on any and every available wang out there. That’s silly. The goal is for women to feel comfortable enough with sex to manage their physical affairs as they see fit; the amount of worry some of us have when it comes to “should I or shouldn’t I?” shows us that comfort is quite often a lofty goal.

My attitude about sex hasn’t really changed much over the years. While it would have been nice to lose my virginity in some sort of ‘rose petals and candles on prom night’ fantasy, the emotional detached nature of my first time reflects my overall feelings about getting physical: it can and never will define who I am as a woman. As I approach the point in which I intend to stop adding new notches to the bedpost when I utter the “I’s married nah” that will rock the souls of those who believe that sexual empowerment sentences women to a life of singledom, I’m glad that I never let it take a toll on my self-esteem or self-image. I can only hope that more women can find a space to feel the same way.

  • Apple Pie

    So you took 3 buses and a train to have sex with some boy right? You were 15, 16 correct?? This is what I always talk about. Young girls are very “fresh” and do not value themselves like they should. What if the boy raped you? I bet you would be crying and playing the victim card. Young girls need to be taught how not to put themselves in certain situations. Stop trying to be grown too soon. Not trying to come off brash or anything but consider yourself fortunate.

  • Apple Pie

    So you took 3 buses and a train to have s3x with some boy right? You were 15, 16 correct?? This is what I always talk about. Young girls are very “fresh” and do not value themselves like they should. What if the boy raped you? I bet you would be crying and playing the victim card. Young girls need to be taught how not to put themselves in certain situations. Stop trying to be grown too soon. Not trying to come off brash or anything but consider yourself fortunate. I know inexperience and curiosity can lead to young girls behaving in this matter, but mothers seriously need to teach their daughters the dangers on this world especially when it comes to the opposite sex.

  • I don’t necessarily believe that women should have this, “its not a big deal” attitude toward sex. Trivializing it like that is just kind of sad to me. Also, I think (to and extent) the “should I or shouldn’t I” thing is good for women to have. Some may disagree but IMO having some common sense about who to sleep with can save ppl from a lot of trouble (even though the author claims she has had no consequences PLENTY of ppl have).

  • TFH

    I think some of the writer’s point was missed here. She made a point to say, “I think that when some folks hear people talk about women and sexual liberation, they get an image of bra-burning feminists walking around with no panties, ready to hop on any and every available wang out there. That’s silly. The goal is for women to feel comfortable enough with sex to manage their physical affairs as they see fit; ”

    As always, figure out what works for YOU. But why beat yourself up over a bad decision? Learn from it and move on. That’s what she did. And why chastise 15 year old her after she acknowledged it wasn’t the best decision? You can’t necessarily blame that choice on her mother. I don’t know her upbringing but I do know of plenty of people with “idealistic” ones who have put themselves in much more dangerous positions.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    i remember reading this story somewhere else a time ago….

  • Pat

    So many women lose self-esteem or self-image especially during their dating years. I think this is a very inspiring story that you held onto that within your sexual liberation and prior to meeting your husband. You will never lose yourself; even though you are one. Thanks for sharing. This was a great article and a great message to pass along.

  • Orange Starr Happy Hunting

    I read this and had to gather my thoughts to leave a comment.
    While having sex does not a man or woman make, such a flippant attitude about an act that can create or take life is off putting.
    Sex ideally is one form of communicating love, becoming one flesh has many spiritual aspects and consequences as well, even for those that are not in love.

  • talaktochoba

    a very strong daughter, all a father could hope for;

    however–and i hope i am not the only father who wishes this for his daughter, i would hope for my daughter that whatever the circumstance, for her first time I’m hoping that a substantial amount of honest love is involved;

    whether it is a lasting love is not is not as important as her having the experience of the supercharged feeling of an intense emotional exchange that precedes and thus amplifies the physical exchange–because absolutely no kind of sex, however depraved or Olympic, can come close to that;

    then she will have that experience to compare her future potential liaisons, the better to find her most suitable life mate;

    obviously, this daughter missed out her first time, which this father finds most disheartening–i’ve made it a point to teach my son better than that;

  • dbsm

    good post. the only time i beat myself up about sex, is when i missed out on an opportunity due to my lack of aggressiveness.

    maturity is in owning your sexuality–whether that means sexing it up, or abstinence. either way, your journey is your own and if you have qualms about it due to other ppl, religion, whathaveyou, and u feel bad about it, then it needs to be reevaluated. if you change your mind when circumstances present themselves differently, then take another stance. we do not have to be immutable.

  • Velociraptor

    What’s wrong with traveling for sex? Grown folks do it all the time. It’s called a booty call. And no woman has enough time in her day to be constantly afraid of sexual assault. That is so self-defeating.

  • Velociraptor

    I feel you on this one. I stayed a virgin up until the first few months of my freshman year in college. When I was a teen all I heard was preaching about how important your virginity is and I ate it up. When I finally had sex it was not that big of a deal. I didn’t feel like I needed to walk around wearing a scarlet letter. I don’t understand why women have to be so cognizant of their sexuality but men can go on about their life as they please.

  • ….

    She was fifteen and it was during school.

  • Anthony

    I agree that it was not smart for Jamilah to travel such a distance to be with a boy at fifteen, but the reality of life is that she could have met a boy a block from her house, or behind the gym at school and have been raped.

    Being “fast” is not permission for rape!

  • Anthony

    Sex is a huge deal for men. I was slow and nerdy coming up. When I finally got some, I thought I was cool for maybe a week. After that, I realized I was a slow and nerdy guy who finally had a sex partner other than his right hand!

    We are who we are, and sex does not transform us.

  • BettiePAge

    there is a lot of minus’s on the comment but she is right- what if the dude assaulted her- or it didnt turn out right- apple pie is right this is no bueno

  • BettiePAge

    no its not – but young girls and women need to learn certain things lead to rape- and young girls and some women need to stop teasing and toying with men- rape is wrong but yes someone women are like the bait dangling in front of a fish daring the fish not to bite.

  • Apple Pie

    Thank you Betty Page. Like I mentioned, I wasn’t trying to be brash, but let’s not forget that many put themselves in harms way. If the boy really wanted some and was a decent guy, he would’ve picked HER up. Everyone is allowed to as they please, but people still need to be cautious (especially young ones) of what they get themselves into. As we see on a daily basis, many girls do not come out fortunate.


    How would you feel if you found out that your daughter took a a 2 hour journey to meet a boy she barely knew for sex?

  • Laneé

    I was dating a nice guy who picked me up in his car for a date when I was 17 and he tried to rape me. I didn’t have to travel far to get assulted, taking a train has nothing to do with it. Her traveling for some dick at a young age is just an example of what young people (men and women) do to have sex. That’s life. Of course we need to have better sex talks with our kids and tell them what to do when it comes down to the nitty gritty, but the reality of it is…MAJORITY of young people aren’t going on magical dates with rose petals everywhere & prince charming to lose their virginity or to have sex. Most are doing it in the back of cars, sneaking in someones house, at a friends house, outside, etc.

  • dtafakari

    LOL. Yanno, I was just thinking that Clutch had already published this piece by Jamilah before. No shade, just glad to know I’m not crazy.

  • Anthony

    Apple Pie, I already said that going that far away from home to have sex with a boy, especially one she didn’t really know was not smart. I thought I was pretty clear about that. I would not be happy if my daughter did such a thing.

    I just do not see how you and Betty Page see what Jamilah did as teasing or leading the boy on. He promised to perform a sex act on her, and she came looking to be serviced. If anything the boy lead her on because he wanted intercourse all along.

  • Anthony

    It’s funny how we grow up and suddenly forget everything we did!

  • binks

    Bingo! I never gotten why people have this blasé attitude either there is nothing wrong with being cautious and examining your choices critically especially when it is something as intimate as sharing your body (whether people want to admit it or not sex is intimate whether it is casual or committed sex) so you should stop and think about it. Because like you I hear to many people say after the fact of “I wish I never slept with so and so…”

  • JS

    I agree with what you are saying but I don’t think the author was trying to trivialize the dangers of sex. The “should I or shouldn’t I” decision when made by a woman in this context was referring to will she be shamed because of it, who will find out, will people think less of her, etc. I took away from the article that women need to feel sexually comfortable in themselves enough to not cling to the “virginity” card because society bases a woman’s worth on her “purity.” If a woman wants to have responsible safe-sex, and is informed, let her have sex if that is what she is comfortable with. The article I felt like was about being comfortable enough with your own sexuality not to let anyone dictate or make you feel bad for having sex.

    Plenty people have gotten STDs/Pregnancies from having sex with multiple partners, just like they have from just having one partner. Shit happens, no matter how safe you think you are being with sex nothing is 100% guaranteed. However this article isn’t about that its about women not feeling defined or slut-shamed if they enjoy sex, have more than one partner, or do not wait for marriage.

  • GeekMommaRants

    Why are there comments railing against rape? When a young girl promises a young boy sex acts and then traveled to his home to perform promised sex acts. The chance of rape is non-existent as they planned to have sex. Why he think of raping her, if she promised to have with him in the first? Geez

  • GeekMommaRants

    It is so refreshing to read a story that takes sex out of the bible belt and places it squarely on women to make their own way wisely, safely and with confidence of the consequences they choose. I was raised in the Baptist church and sex was for consummation of marriage, procreation and submission. The power of religion has socialized women to feel shamed and uncomfortable with our own sexual expression. Thank you so much for the clear and doable perspective.

  • talaktochoba

    this is a common, and rather strange interpretation of Baptists;

    first, sex is amplified by marriage beyond any other interrelationship possible between a man and woman, not the other way around;

    sex has absolutely NOTHING to do with submission;

    women are to submit to men ONLY after their men FIRST submit to God, NOT the other way round;

    i’m not a Christian, but my wife is…and i’m fairly certain that submission relationship exists for all religions;

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  • Tyece

    Jamilah, this is a refreshing and inspiring piece. My perspective is slightly different as a woman who has been sexually assaulted in the past (and that is not to make an assumption about your sexual history one way or another.) But for me, owning my sexuality and feeling undefined by it has been a lengthy, agonizing, but upward path unlike the instantaneous dynamic you described in the piece. Nevertheless, thank you for sharing your insight and your story.

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  • AnnT

    If the young girl was being “fresh”, what is the boy being?
    I understand your sincerity, but you’re leaving out the message that young men are not suppose to be raping women. This is what Mothers AND Fathers (which you failed to mention) should be teaching their boys.

    You’re receiving a thumbs down because you comment treads on Steubenville rape apologist logic and has nothing to do with two teenagers engaging in consensual sex.

  • GeekMommaRants

    What I’m trying to say is a strict religious upbringing can present issues with how women see sex. I was socialized to see sex as sinful and an obligation or task in marriage. Sexual repression can be seen in some reigions,

  • shoSTOPPER

    just because a thought is popular doesnt mean its right- usually the unpopular view is the right one some of you ladies are in denial -just cause you got alot of plusses dont make it a minus

  • lol

    men who say stuff like this usually aren’t worth much

  • lol

    omg I really did laugh at this!

    Anthony your honesty is always welcome here and I hope your wife knows she’s a lucky gal!


  • Fantastico

    The author’s take is refreshing and though I like her attitude it is not representative of the whole. I did a lot of volunteering in the sex education of college students and most of the women believed and practiced putting a man’s will to have sex with them before their safety and happiness.

    Women and girls don’t come out and say my health and needs are less important than my man’s, but their actions do.

    In the same way that men and boys don’t come out and say my sexual wants and needs are more important than those of women and girls, their actions do.

    Simply teaching women to put themselves first in college or high school isn’t enough because they have spent their entire lives being taught and practicing double standards.

    Even when women and girls are educated about sexual heath and the destructive effects of double standards, the men and boys they love/have sex with/interact with are often left uneducated and invested in double standards and sexual health ignorance.

    Look at the author though she my be considered liberated, her first sexual experience was with a boy that DECEIVED her about his status as a college student, enticed her with non penetrative sex then penetrated her during the act WITHOUT prior agreement, finally he blabbed and BRAGGED about HIS CONQUEST to his boy friends.

    Boys and Men need a new script to follow many take that sleazy, dishonest approach to sex because they are taught that having sex with many Girls and Women makes them superior to others and more Manly.

    So when I hear “liberated” women’s stories like this I always have to give pause to the fact that even though the girl’s behavior is in some ways changing in a more healthful way the boys are still performing a limiting and hurtful definition of Masculinity.

  • rastaman

    Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place.

  • dbsm

    u’re right. i’m a women and i’m sure i speak for all womankind.

    reason=i’m horny.



  • shoSTOPPER

    thank you for this comment- finally someone who gets it!

  • Fantastico

    Thank you for your sanity.

  • Anthony

    lol, thanks for the kind words. A major goal in my life is to just be comfortable in my own skin at all times.
    I guess that is something I share with the author of this piece.

  • Anthony

    I agree, men need to relearn how to interact with women when they want sex or liberation for women will just keep hitting walls.

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