One of the worst things that you could possibly be carrying around in your sexual suitcase that needs to be ridded of immediately is any idea that a type of sexual experience you have or have not had in your past, whether consensually or non-consensually, qualifies you as “damaged goods.” That somehow the worth you carry as an individual is directly tied to a sexual act. Let's throw this idea into the dumpster immediately!
Unfortunately it's a very common storyline that goes along with “purity culture” and the supposed importance of virginity (especially for women) in many cultural and religious circles. It is an unfortunate, common and tragic belief system for those who have experienced any type of sexual assault. There are cultures still in the world that will physically harm, kill and/or ostracize a person for sexual acts (including having been raped). This message is an old one that has been perpetrated throughout the history of mankind. We slut shame and we virgin shame. You're either too experienced or not experienced enough. I just say, "enough"! This is damaging, has significant repercussions for sexual health and you CAN find the power and determination to abandon this lie.
Elizabeth Smart brings a lot of attention to how damaging the “damaged goods” story line can be for those who have experienced any type of sexual trauma/assault, especially through the common practice of "object lessons." Did you grow up hearing any of these types of metaphors? That having had a sexual experience would leave you in the state of:
A chewed piece of gum.
A wrinkled piece of paper.
A rose that is wilted after being passed and handled too many times.
A licked lollipop.
The fruit on the floor that is easy to get and is rotting... vs. the fruit high on the tree that is hard to get but delicious to the taste.
I would love to hear other ones you may have grown up hearing in the comments section.
So what are some ways that we can start combatting the harm this has caused us psychologically, emotionally and sexually....?