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Shaming Women About Having Sex Doesn’t Stop Us From Having Sex


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I ask about 100 people, either by phone or by knocking on doors, the same question each week as an organizer at a reproductive health nonprofit.

“Are you a supporter of women’s health services such as breast cancer screenings and birth control?” I say. Typically people will tell me “sure,” say they aren’t interested in taking my survey, or tell me that they are already strong supporters of the movement and will fill out whatever I have for them that day.

One particular morning while out canvassing, I knocked on a door and a woman answered. After running through my usual spiel, I was taken aback by her answer. “No, I practice abstinent sex and depend on the Lord for my health services,” she told me.

I smirked to myself as I tried to interpret “abstinent sex,” which I assumed meant that she is celibate now to strengthen her spirituality.

But then I remembered she sounded a lot like me nearly a decade ago.

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