The Shame Game

The campaign regarding sex and the word “no” is one of the biggest messages being delivered to young adults today. 
You are allowed to say “no.” People should respect each other’s right to say “no.” Remember that “no” means “no.” 
“No” seems to always be the correct answer regarding sex. I will be the first one to support this message, and please remember that you can always say “no.” 
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But does that make saying “yes” a bad thing?
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Saying “yes” often has a bad connotation. Respectable girls don’t say “yes.” You’re easy if you say “yes.” She must have low self-esteem since she said “yes.” 
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“No” has become empowering. “Yes” means that there is something wrong.
TheShameGame
Well, I’d like to tell you that there is not something wrong with saying “yes.” It’s completely natural to think about sex and want sex. It’s a big part of being human; hence, the Earth is greatly populated. What is important about saying “yes” to sex is that it is consensual; that you’ve made an informed, educated decision, and that you’ve created a safe, trusting environment with your partner that allows open communication. 
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But that is a topic for a different article.
I’d like to address the ways in which we think about others regarding their decisions.
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If someone feels comfortable talking to you about their sexual decisions, I think it’s best to maintain that open environment where they feel safe talking about it. Not many people have others to talk to, and it’s healthy to talk about any questions or concerns as well as maybe just sharing the good news that they found someone they love enough to be with. If they have made a different decision than you would have, that doesn’t make them wrong. It just makes them different and means that they may be in a different place in life. A poor way to handle this situation is to make them feel ashamed about their decision.
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It’s shaming people that really hurts them. There can be shame because you have had sex, the stigma of which is a “slut”, or shame because you haven’t had sex, the stigma of which is a “prude”. There’s shaming people because they are gay, who are then deemed a sinful abomination, and shaming people who are straight, who are then deemed a homophobe (Don’t ask me how that one works, but I’ve seen it happen).
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Everyone is different. Everyone has their own beliefs and values, and we shouldn’t hate people or make them hate themselves just because they are different than us. As long as everyone is safe, why can’t we let everyone be happy?
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Most importantly, your decisions are your own. Don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed for who you are, and it’s okay to ask for help or advice or simply talk about things. You have the right to say “no” or “yes” to anyone you want.
Briana Harley, currently a music composition major in Southern California, plans to pursue a career in anything and everything under the vast umbrella of music, which includes indie/folk singer, symphony conductor/composer, rock stardom and film scoring. You can't ask her what her favorite genre of music is because she doesn't have one. She adores all music from Beethoven to The Beatles. When she's not composing or performing she is a "textbook" nerd-fighter, anglophile, & fangirl of all things science fiction, comic books, fantasy, supernatural, history and literature. Follow the play-by-play of her random crazy happenstances on twitter, tumblr, instagram, Facebook and her website brianaharley.com

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