Keke Palmer’s words are liberating for many men trying to live abstinent lifestyles
Some time last week, actress Keke Palmer went to Twitter to vent her frustrations about the men she’s dated only having “that thing” on their mind.
Palmer also took to Madame Noire to talk about the dating scene and remaining abstinent:
“I find myself dating guys who I do not talk to anymore because, I assume, we have not had sex. [Sex] is the number one topic in the conversation with these men and I’m like ‘uh no, I do not want to talk about that all the time!’ I do not know why there is so much pressure being built when you are dating someone. It’s like they have a ticking time clock on you. It is not about the time, it is about making sure this is the right person…….People are going through these same burdens. My priority is not the sex. I refuse to succumb to my flesh. I will not offer myself up to someone who does not know my spirit.”
Palmer’s comments are very empowering from a feminist, spiritual, and religious perspective. But one thing I don’t want to look over is the liberating example she is setting for men. There are plenty of guys out there who would like to live an abstinent lifestyle, but are cripplingly afraid of what the world thinks of them.
Chastity isn’t the most popular idea in society. And for men especially, it’s definitely not the kid at the cool table. It’s a hard dragon to slay, mostly because we don’t fully want to kill it. We live in a world that demands women blossom from innocent angels to throw-it-back freaknasties once men put a ring on it (or before at our request). Men must constantly prove their manhood through ravenous sexual prowess (or at least appearing like we get it in all the time).
As a man who is trying to stay abstinent, I feel very uncomfortable telling women that. Part why I don’t broadcast it is out of humility. Despite my willpower, I still respect that much of it is still up to circumstance. I would never try to act holier-than-thou towards any of my sexually active friends, because I can’t definitely say that the right person at the right time wouldn’t get the bizness (example: if Rihanna just walked in my room and said “take me”, she would get taken. No words spoken, no questions asked). Don’t want my words to write a check my actions can’t cash, so I try to live it until I’m comfortable enough with the person to say it.
However, the main reason I don’t volunteer that information is because I’m scared it will make me undesirable. It’s awwwwww-worthy, cute and admirable at first, because that’s what they are supposed to say, right? When that initial “you’re such a good guy” fuzzy feelings faded away, being the celibate dude in the room ain’t where it’s at. I’ve even had conversations with celibate girls who admitted that despite the standard of chastity they hold for themselves, they’d rather have a husband who is “experienced”. And as much as heterosexual men are ironically obsessed with what other men think of them, there aren’t many things scarier than the fear of your women not seeing you as A Man because you aren’t wielding your sword. Men aren’t the only ones who expect sex out of a relationship.
“Both men and women pressure each other for sex. We’re young, live your life and enjoy yourself. My thing is, people need to be with those who respect you. At the end of the day, whoever you spend your time with make sure they value you. If you feel over the course of time they are deserving of whatever it is you would like to give them, fine.” – Keke Palmer.
I don’t ever feel pressure in a coercive way, but life makes abstinence seem strange as hell as a man; the “I wanna do some thangs to you” feeling I get when I see a beautiful woman is natural (at least I think it is), and succumbing to that urge seems to be just as natural (which is debatable). I’ve felt depressed after I stopped talking to women once I admitted to myself that I didn’t truly want relationship, I just wanted to knock it out the park. I’ve even felt emasculated when turning down sex in college. Your moral, philosophical, and spiritual identity is telling “you did the right thing”. But that’s just a faint whisper compared to your dumbfounded ego yelling “She offered you the ass……AND YOU DIDN’T TAKE IT?!??!? #RileyVoice Nigga you gay”. And don’t tell your friends either. You lose a ton of man points with The Bros.
But to be honest, I still think women’s perspective is what men care about the most. Abstinence would be a viable lifestyle for guys if more women stood firm. If the round-the-way girls, Top Models, and Jennys From The Block said they wanted an abstinent man, the celibacy bandwagon wouldn’t be able to move from so many dudes scuffling to hop on. That’s why I think it’s great that Miss Palmer spoke on it. Maybe the fact that a young woman as successful, beautiful, and intelligent as herself spoke on the topic will give more abstinent men the courage to own it.
Remaining abstinent or getting your freak on is a personal choice. Do what you do. But I’m with Keke as far as the spiritual connection first. I think sex is a spiritual connection (which is a whole other argument for another time). But in general, I would like to challenge our ideas about masculinity. Society lets men off the hook all the time. Masculinity is a comfort zone not afforded to our sisters and daughters. Why else do we continue to teach our sons that gettin’ some is the main goal in life, and to not worry about sex is unnatural, unsexy, and just plain weird?
Every time I feel pressured to equate my manliness to how many women are/were in my bed, I think of one of my favorite quotes of all time. Attributed to Benjamin Franklin, it says: “Many a man thinks he is buying pleasure, when he is really selling himself to it”. I’m in the minority of those who have the radical idea that sex should be an important decision for men as well, not just women; that temperance should be tied to masculinity as well, in order to make relationships more fulfilling and less self-serving. And you can bet I still have urges, feelings, and “DAT ASS!” moments on a normal basis, so it’s difficult. I want to have sex. All the time. No literally, even as we speak, and that feeling isn’t going away soon. But I made the choice to try to be abstinent, and hopefully will persevere long enough to meet a woman like Keke Palmer to make it easier.
So thank you for your words Miss Palmer. There are many of men who feel the same way as you. Sometimes we just need women like you to Speak Up so we can Man Up.
We Out Here,