Prudish Non-Belief

Is it ok for non-believers to have relatively prudish ideas about sex?

Well, let’s first start by defining prudish. It basically means someone who cares what is proper. Someone who is sexually prudish is someone who has some concept of what they personally think is proper and they stick to that, whatever that is.  Other people who think they are too strict in their sexual morals, label them as prudes. So whether or not someone is prudish depends entirely on the sexual values of the person labeling someone else as too strict.

This came up because one of my male fans was accused of being a prude because he thought a sexual comment directed at a female friend of his in public by another friend was not appropriate. He shared his views and was called a prude and told that because he was non-religious, he shouldn't abide by “religious” standards of what is proper sexual conduct in public. This left him wondering whether his sexual values were indeed prudish and influenced by religious beliefs he doesn't hold.

It’s an interesting question and dilemma.  I think having some values relating to sex (ie: what is good and what isn't for you – is smart, not prudish). When people label others prudes, it’s because they are being accused of being inappropriate.

First, let me start by staying, I do think of myself as a bit of a prude. I do enjoy sex, but I do think that certain behaviors are inappropriate in public – but that may be because I’m a mom! I've also been accused of being a prude by several “sex positive” atheists. My crime? Pointing out that sex has consequences, both good and bad and that you should choose your actions to maximize the good and minimize the harm. Apparently pointing out this obvious fact means I’m scaring kids into not enjoying sex.  Well, there is also my opinion on pornography – which is that it is great – just be aware it’s fantasy and you should not expect from yourself what you see in porn as there is a difference between real life and porn. According to the sex positive folks, this makes me anti-porn and a prude.

My point is that I think anyone who has any standards regarding sexual conduct, both public and private will, at some point, be labelled a prude.  And that’s not a bad thing. It means you have standards and values and are trying to live by them.

I personally think that sexually denigrating comments about people are inappropriate in any circumstance as they can cause real harm by virtue of being denigrating and dehumanizing – which is anti-humanist. I don’t come by that opinion because of religious indoctrination because I was never religiously indoctrinated. I come by that opinion having been the victim of such comments and understanding the harm they cause from personal experience.

For me, my sexual values are based on respecting individuals as individuals and for the sexual choices they make or don’t make for whatever reason they have for making them.

I choose monogamy for myself and my husband. Not because of religion. I've never been religious. I choose this because that’s what works for me. I don’t want to take on the risks of an open relationship. I LOVE the comfort and security of the closed relationship I have. I don’t have problems with people who choose other things, as long as the choices are informed and consensual.

And that’s the problem with lewd sexual comments in public. It’s not the content; it’s whether someone else’s sexual ideas and fantasies are being forced onto another person without their consent. And that includes not just the target of the comments, but the other people present as well. And even if it is just a verbal exchange, it’s still not ethical because it’s not consensual.  And so yes, I do think people should consider who else is present when discussing sexuality and making sexual comments in public places. To me, that’s being polite and respecting the existence of other people who may not want to hear what exactly you plan to do with your partner later.

Ultimately, I think being a prude is in the eye of the beholder. And if being a prude works for you – then be a prude and don’t let people bully you into changing your sexual standards. To some people, my monogamy makes me a prude. For me, it makes me happy. And isn't that the ultimate point? To have a happy, healthy sexual life?  I do have a happy sexual life and apparently being a prude is what helped me to achieve that.  I am not planning to give that up just because some people I don’t know are convinced I couldn't possibly be happy because I haven’t chosen the same lifestyle they have.

To each their own. Leave the prudes alone!

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