Are You "Sex Shaming" Your Partner?

Shame has no place in sex. On any level.


Not too long ago, while being interviewed, someone asked me how (or maybe they meant why) I was so comfortable talking about sex. More specifically my own sex life. That's kind of a layered answer. One, I'm pretty open, in general. Two, it's been a billion years since I've had sex. And three, when you're a relationship writer, it's kind of par for the course that the more, let's go with the word "authentic", your content is, the easier it is for folks to receive it. Where exactly am I going with this?

Well, in the effort to really drive the point home with this piece, I'm gonna provide you with a bit of a TMI tale. Recently, I watched a video from a YT channel called Cey & Jai (Jai is actually Joycelyn Savage's younger sister, by the way). The channel features a couple who pranks each other from time to time. On this one, Jai is pretending to talk to a friend of hers about Cey having a "shrimp" (talk about triggering somebody and Cey was indeed triggered!). Anyway, it caused me to reflect on a past sex partner and the first time I saw his, uh member.

Y'all, I didn't mean to yet back then, I had far less of a filter than I do now. Anyway, when I looked at it for the first time, the first thing that came out of my mouth was, "So, that's it?" I promise that didn't mean to yet oh, the devastation that was on his face. The real tripped out part is when it comes to vaginal orgasms, I've had the most with him to-date. Moral to the story—sex shaming someone is super foul and two, check out "BDE: Please Let The 'It Needs To Be Huge' Myth Go" sometime. A married friend of mine is quick to say that a big d—k ain't always all that it's cracked up to be.

So, let's talk a little bit about sex shaming, shall we? Personally, I think it's something that doesn't get discussed enough which is fascinating because I deal with couples all of the time who do it to their partner on some level—and it's costing them the kind of great sex that both of them truly deserve.

If you're curious to know if you're someone who is a bit of a sex shamer (or if your partner may be slick sex shaming you), here are a few questions that can help you to get down to the bottom of things, so that you can switch up your behavior. Because if there are two words that should absolutely never go together at the end of the day, it's "sex" and "shame".

Are You Making Comparisons?


I believe I've shared before that there's a couple that I know who were virgins when they got married (yep, both of them). They are going on two decades at this point. Anyway, one time I asked the wife if she's ever wondered if her husband is actually good in bed. She simply responded with, "I mean, he's great to me. I don't have anything else to compare it to." If you're a virgin reading this, that's a great incentive to wait until you meet "your one" because when you've had multiple partners, not—pardon the pun—sizing everyone up is actually pretty difficult to do.

I mean, a part of the reason why I said what I did to ole' boy is because I had already seen quite a few penises that were much larger than his was (check out "14 Lessons I've Learned From 14 Sex Partners" and "Sex Hacks For Different Kinds Of Penises (You Heard Me Right)"). And because, on the onset, I had a bit of a bias, it caused me to assume that just because he wasn't "packin'", he wouldn't be able to provide me with pleasure. That absolutely wasn't the case.

Again, if you've got a sexual past, making comparisons kinda comes with the territory. Still, if you're doing it so much that it hinders you from being open to what your current partner can do to make you happy, low-key, there is some sex shaming happening, for sure.

Do You Nitpick When It Comes to Their Body?


Listen, I'm a woman and I'll still be the first one to say that oftentimes, we are notorious for hypocritical double standards. Let a man "rate us" (like y'all ain't seen a Kevin Samuels YouTube video before) and it's an unforgivable sin. Oh, but we'll be the first in line to say we don't like short men, men with small(er) penises or we'll clown a man if he's got a gut or something else that's not appealing when it comes to our personal likes and preferences. How is that any different?

Is there something wrong with having a type? No, there isn't. Yet the point here is if you want to avoid being a sex shamer (and hopefully, you absolutely do), it's important that you practice the golden rule. If you don't want to feel judged or that your partner is being overly critical about your looks/body, don't be that way towards them.

And what if there is something about them that is a total turn-off like maybe you didn't realize that they are hairier than you can handle or there's some type of hygiene/personal upkeep issue that's going on? First, definitely don't bring it up during the act and secondly, still deliver your thoughts in a way where they can receive it. Be kind. Be considerate. Don't bark directives; make suggestions or requests. No one wants to feel constantly critiqued by their sex partner. The good news about this point is you have control over if this happens or not, a lot more than you initially might think.

Are Your Expectations Unfair or Unrealistic?


I like checking out what YouTube calls "the manosphere". Contrary to the assumption of a lot of women (insert eye roll here), women cannot speak for men—only men can do that. Well, something that several of them have brought up as of late is how a lot of thick women don't seem to date men similar to them. It's like guys get ridiculed if they don't desire a woman of a certain size while those same women ignore men who are larger themselves (that's a checkmate, whether we want to accept it or not).

Personally, I'm not trying to cram any preference down anyone's throat. You like what you like and I'm too beautiful to try and convince you to see me that way. All good. At the same time, though, I do think that we should be realistic when it comes to what we expect from someone. On the looks tip, why would you feel entitled to someone being in better shape than you are? And on the sex tip, it's totally unfair to want a guy to look or act like someone else from your past or to mimic someone who you may be currently fantasizing about. It's also ridiculous to think that every sexual experience is going to be like some sex scene you saw in a movie or music visual. Or like what you experienced with someone prior to your current situation.

Real talk, the best sex isn't even just about the mechanics of the act. It's about having a great chemistry, a good connection and a willingness to learn each other's bodies—including what makes each other tick—together. Expecting stuff to work out perfectly or immediately is about as unrealistic as they come. It can also cause you to put unnecessary pressure onto you as well as your partner. And that could cultivate certain feelings of shame; especially on your partner's end.

Do You Embarrass Them When You Discuss Them with Other People?


Sex is private. It's intimate. And honestly, it's really not anyone else's business. Not the extreme details of it all, anyway. And here's the thing—something that I find to be interesting about both men and women is when they don't really give AF about their partner, they will call up their friends and TELL IT ALL. Oh, but when they truly care about the individual, they seem to have very little to say. Know why? Because they value the person's feelings and the relationship a whole lot more than they do when it comes to some…random.

I talk about sex, pretty much for a living. I know for a fact that some of my past partners couldn't care less if I even mentioned their name (because we've discussed it before). Maybe it's because some of them know that they would receive the highest praise. I dunno. Still, even with as candid as I am about this topic, I'm not out to humiliate anyone.

This is definitely something to think about if you're good for giving play-by-plays with your homies about your sexual encounters. If whatever you're about to say, you know for a fact would embarrass your partner if they were present, maybe rethink bringing that up. Because sometimes shame can boomerang. In this case, I mean you might end up with someone who puts your business out in the streets too. Pretty sure that's not something that you want to ever transpire. Because…see paragraph one of this particular point.

Do You Fake Orgasms?


I know some of y'all are team "faking it". I absolutely am not. I don't know how in the world that anyone can get better in their performance if they already think that they are killin' it because I am lying the entire time. And while this might seem like an odd thing to mention when it comes to sex shaming, here's where I'm going with it. I work with couples where the wife (usually more than the husband) is sho 'nuf faking it. Some of them have been doing it their entire marriage. Others do it in order to rush their partner (because he is the opposite of a minute man, if you know what I mean) or because they aren't really in the mood. Whatever the motivation is, if you do it too long, it can cause you to become resentful and that is what can lead you to start shaming your partner—saying slick ish, making excuses not to have sex, avoiding afterplay so that you can go somewhere else and "handle yours" (again, if you know what I mean).

Besides, while orgasms are awesome (no doubt), sex can still be really good without having one (or several) every single time you engage. If you make sex more about enjoying your partner (as they enjoy you) rather than reaching a climax all of the time, both of you can feel more at ease and that can make orgasms easier to achieve. Full circle.

Are You Freezing Them Out?


You know, it's interesting that some of the synonyms for shame include confusion, irritation, degradation, self-disgust, guilt, contempt and humiliation. And honestly, I think this is the best way to end this particular piece. One of the worst ways to sex shame your partner is to say or do things that would cause them to feel any of the words that I just said—and oftentimes, it's freezing them out (making excuses to not have sex, pushing them away, neglecting their needs on a continual basis) that can cause that to happen.

At the end of the day, sex is a top tier form of communication. And great communicators strive to make the people they're interacting with feel heard and felt. No greater goal should happen in the bedroom, don't you think? Be intentional about affirming your partner. Express your desire for them to do the same for you. It's a surefire way to avoid sex shaming—on so many levels, sis.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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