Touchy Feely

Last weekend, former NFL kicker Jay Feely Tweeted a photo of him with his daughter and her prom date. In it, he has one arm around the young woman’s shoulders; his other hand loosely holds a pistol pointed at the ground by the young man’s feet. The caption reads, “Wishing my beautiful daughter and her date a great time at prom. #BadBoys”

It was obviously a joke, as in, ‘Ha ha, isn’t it hilarious to imply that I might shoot this guy if I don’t like how he treats my daughter?’ It would be remiss not to mention that the young couple are clearly in on the gag; in the photo, Feely’s daughter looks up at him with an ‘Oh, you!’ expression and her date is blushing and smiling as much as possible for someone facing a threat of being shot, hollow or otherwise.

Yet … surprise! The photo didn’t go over as planned and Feely was soon thrust into the center of a firestorm hot enough to put him on defense. Taking to Twitter, he said the gun wasn’t loaded, he takes gun safety seriously and, besides, the couple has been dating for a year, so they knew he was joking.

The thing that struck me about the photo wasn’t so much the gun as the implication that he needed to protect his daughter from her prom date.

The idea that females are weak and vulnerable and need a big, strong man to protect us is not new; nor is the idea that men will hurt or take advantage of us unless we have a protector. We’ve all heard a proud papa, probably not unlike Feely, talk about how he’s going to keep the boys away from his daughter when she grows up. There’s an entire catalogue of country music on this very subject.

Maybe such protectionism made sense in the distant past, when more men were marauding rapists looking for an unwilling orifice to penetrate. But today, this culture of protectionism removes some of the responsibility from the few men who do attack women and perpetuates women’s sexual repression by teaching us that having sex before society decrees us ready, i.e. married, is bad behavior that no good girl does willingly.

Females should be taught from a young age that it is normal to enjoy sex with a willing partner for mutual physical and emotional gratification when we’re physically and mentally ready. Instead, we’re taught to lock up our virginity like we’re living in some weird version of National Treasure where our hymen is the ultimate prize. And don’t even get me started on slut-shaming.

Honestly, shouldn’t fathers want their daughters to be sexually active and comfortable with our sexuality when we grow up? That’s certainly the type of woman most men want to have sex with. Sex is, after all, normal human behavior, not to mention necessary to propagate the species. Yet the concept of female sexual pleasure is glossed over or ignored entirely in most households, first mentioned, if at all, when we’re old enough to be wedded and bedded, in that order … unless we’re nasty.

A few years ago, there was much talk about ‘the orgasm deficit.’ Studies have shown that upwards of 70 percent of women rarely, if ever, orgasm during intercourse; and 10 percent, perhaps more, of women have never experienced orgasm. (Compare that to 75 percent of men who orgasm every time they have sex.)

There is something to be said for the lack of proper research and medical advancements in this area, but I’m convinced the orgasm deficit is caused by psychological rather than physiological factors. If females weren’t taught from birth that good girls suppress sexuality until we’re of a certain age and/or marital status, at which point we’re expected to magically unlearn all that conditioning and become eager sex kittens, it would be easier for many women to relax, enjoy sex and maybe, just maybe, reach climax. Being comfortable with our sexuality isn’t something that happens overnight, and it’s not fair to expect a woman who’s been taught to cover her body, keep her hands off her genitals except for hygienic purposes, and do nothing to explore her normal human desire, even on her own, to wake up one morning and be sexually liberated.

This isn’t to say we should add sex ed to the kindergarten curriculum, but we could accept and embrace female sexuality, perhaps add female masturbation to sex ed (hey, it still counts as abstinence), and for the love of god stop, STOP being too embarrassed to use proper English. It’s not a vajayjay, it’s not a hoo-haw, or a cha-cha, muff, kitten, cooter, cooch, snatch, beaver or sacred treasure. It’s a vagina. Having one is nothing to be ashamed of, and enjoying digital, penile or other stimulation of it is 100-percent, all-the-way, completely normal. And up to us. Not our fathers.