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On Heavy Girls and Sexy Time

There’s a new study, which apparently hasn’t been published yet because I can not find it ANYWHERE, examining rates of sexual activity among teenage girls in various weight categories. MSNBC published an article and interview with the study’s lead author, Margaret Villers, that leaves me absolutely enraged. Here are the facts:

The study found that 6 percent of normal weight teens had sex before age 13, as compared with 11 percent of overweight teens and 15 percent of obese teens. And 39 percent of normal weight teens reported having sex with more than three partners as compared with 45 percent of overweight teens and 47 percent of obese teens.

What’s more, they are not only more likely to engage in earlier sexual activity and with more partners, “overweight” and “obese” girls are less likely to use birth control:

[O]bese and overweight girls were also less likely to use condoms and other birth control. The study found that girls with weight issues were almost 20 percent less likely use condoms than thinner girls, and more than 30 percent less likely to use other methods of contraception.

Okay, I am going to get really tired of putting quotes around everything. Can you all, kind readers, just assume that for the rest of the piece, every time I write the words “obese” or “overweight,” I am putting scare quotes there? Because they belong there, and now is not the time when I am going to get into an extended Fat Acceptance 101 explanation. Just take it from me. The BMI categories “normal weight,” “overweight,” and “obese” are pretty much bullshit. But let’s just accept that girls who fall into the overweight and obese categories are, in fact, fatter than the other girls. Okay, fine. These girls are having more sex, earlier, and with more partners.

There is so much wrong with the analysis of this study’s results that I’m not even sure where to start.

I’d like to do a critical analysis of the study, too, but it’s not out yet, so I am only left with the wise words of Ms. Villers:

“They develop sooner,” Villers explained. “They look like women sooner. And maybe that’s why they are more likely to be pressured by their boyfriends to have sex at a younger age.”

Seriously? Do we understand so little about sex that we think the question of who’s having sex and who’s not is just about who is the most attractive to men? That ladies with big boobs get laid and ladies with small boobs don’t, because apparently men are unable to speak and therefore can’t determine anything about a woman except boob size? Okay, well there’s also the “they have low self-esteem, because, duh, they’re fatties” explanation:

Another factor could be low self-esteem and poor body image, which have been correlated with obesity in other studies.

“It may be harder for girls who don’t feel good about themselves to say ‘no,’ or even to stop a partner long enough to say they need to use a condom,” Villers said.

The article goes on to quote another scientist-person who says that parents should thus help their girls by encouraging them to “eat right.”

So let me get this straight. According to this analysis, the correlation goes like this: fat –> low self-esteem –> can’t say no –> sexy time. So, thus the solution is to prevent the fatness, and therefore prevent the low self-esteem and thus the sexy time! Got it. But this is in serious contravention of piles and piles of research that shows that fatness, especially among children, has serious genetic components and we still don’t know how to make fat people thin. Okay, MSNBC and Margaret Villiers and all the countless pundits who will surely weigh in on how horrible it is that these poor young fatties, in addition to the indignity of being fat, have to suffer the horrors of sexual activity (quick! Someone call Caitlin Flanagan!), let me explain to you how it works. I am a veritable expert, having been both a slightly fat teenage girl and a bonafide fat adult, and also someone who has engaged in sexual activity throughout these times!

1. Unless you are very naturally thin, people around you will constantly be worrying about your weight well before you even hit puberty. I remember this well. I wasn’t a skinny kid. I wasn’t a fat kid either. Looking back on pictures of my child self, I don’t even think I was chubby. I just…wasn’t as skinny as some of the other girls who were my friends. Unfortunately, instead of fighting the negative media messages I got about thinness and my body, the adults around me reinforced those messages by not going WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING when I announced I was going on a diet, and by being constantly on diets themselves. When you are in the pre-teen era, you spend a lot of time looking to adults to figure out how you should behave, because you are just beginning to become aware of changes in your body that mean you will be an adult within a few years! And holy shit! And guess what — the adults around you are constantly obsessing about their own weight. And yours. Because, since it is the responsibility of parents to decide what their kids eat, and there are a million narratives about how if you don’t eat right you will get fat, parents are looking for your not-fatness as a way to verify that they haven’t completely fucked up as parents. And they are talking about how when you grow up, you will “struggle with your weight,” so enjoy it now, kid! Except you think, wait? I have compared myself to friends that I have? And I am, in fact, bigger than some of them? DIET TIME.

2. Here is what you learn very early, as a young woman prone to fatness, even before puberty: My body is bad. My body is disgusting. My body is something for me to fight against. My body will not cooperate with my desire to be thin. My body is a disappointment to the people around me. I hate how all these studies and articles just assume as true that it is the natural order of things that fat girls will feel bad about themselves, as if this is, in fact, the proper way to view yourself when you are fat. No, this is not natural. This does not come from looking in the mirror. Girls are inculcated with messages that fatness is bad and that their bodies are their enemies. Loving your body is not option. That fatness-shame, combined with the puberty-shame of our puritanical, anti-woman, anti-sex culture, means that at the onset of puberty fat girls undergo deep, deep dissociation with their bodies. This happens to all kinds of girls, but especially fat girls.

3. On the other hand, you have all these anti-sex messages coming at you, hard and fast, which says, oh your body is a temple your body is special don’t just let anyone touch it, sex is only for true love blah blah blah. But those messages can’t take hold, because you’ve already been taught that your body is bad and disgusting and is your enemy because it does not conform to the beauty ideal (and, yes, I am sad to say, there is a beauty ideal even for twelve-year-old girls). And those message are working on the other girls, who think that they will devalue their bodies if they get intimate with boys. But for fat girls, your body is already devalued, and so, it’s kind of like: FUCK IT.

4. Ever read asshole rich people complaining about how poor people are so fat because they eat too much junk food? Well, nevermind the fact that a lot of people living in poverty don’t really have the resources to “eat healthy,” I also think: hell yes, if I was poor, I would eat a lot of crap. Because you know what, when your life is miserable, fattening and sugary food is just about one of the only sensual pleasures that you can actually afford. And at the end of that day where you are working several jobs and dealing with child care and not having health care and living in a shitty apartment, you really just might want some McDonald’s, and I can’t blame you. Being a young fat girl, sex is like that. You just don’t care. Your body has been the source of so much unhappiness, so much shame, that, oh my god–here is something you can do with your body that makes you feel good and alive and yes? Sign me up.

5. Can we talk about how we automatically assume that having more than three partners as a teenage girl is automatically a bad thing? Because I don’t see why it has to be, except for in our narratives about how promiscuity is awful. It’s only awful because it’s supposed to be awful, and presto! You get slut-shamed out the wazoo for doing it. And then you do, in fact, feel awful, because slut-shaming sucks. But you also get slut-shamed for not doing it. As has been aptly covered by every feminist everywhere, you can end up a slut for completely perplexing reasons, like because you have a single mom, or because you have big breasts, or because of your race or ethnicity, or because of a rumor that might not even be close to true.

6. Fat girls are more likely to get labeled as sluts, because “slut” is a catch-all word for women and girls who do not conform to ladylike and womanly behavior, and being fat is definitely not lady-like or womanly behavior. And look, I can say from experience, if enough people are calling you a slut, you start to believe it. You’re 12! What do you know about what a slut is? And you are hitting puberty, and having all these sexual thoughts about boys, and thinking, okay, people are saying I am a slut so OBVIOUSLY this is not normal and there must be something deeply, deeply wrong with me. Perhaps after a while, you think, hey, if everyone is calling me a slut, I might as well go ahead and be one, because they sure as hell aren’t going to stop, are they?

7. I really hate that female desire is just completely erased in that MSNBC article. It chaps my hide something fierce. Because if it is the case that fat girls go through puberty earlier, why do we say “they grow boobs, so boys pressure them to have sex” rather than “they go through puberty, so they have sexual desire earlier than other girls.” Why was that not even thought of as an explanation? No. NOT POSSIBLE! Teenage girls? Actually wanting sex or sexual activity? No, it must be the boys who are making them do it. Puberty happens because of a rapid hormonal shift in your body. Those hormones do all kinds of things: make you grow boobs, get your period, grow body hair, and START FEELING SEXUAL DESIRE. Yes, so the girls who go through puberty earlier will start feeling sexual desire earlier than other girls. But we couldn’t possibly advance that as an explanation because if girls engage in sexytime because they want to, rather than because boys force them to, it doesn’t fit into our nice little narrative about how girls are being ruined by sex, does it?

In short, they are so completely wrong and this whole enterprise is bogus. As one of my favorite ladybloggers (and personal friend) Gayle Force said to me in chat: “Can everyone stop examining teen girls’ sex lives? It is creepy and morbid. I think the articles are secretly hoping to find how it fucks up all the girls, and then they are miserable and deranged.”

Basically.

73 Comments

  1. xenu01 wrote:

    Holy crap. No one has ever summed up why I was so promiscuous from ages 17-22 before so well. Now, thank god, I am a sexually confident still fat adult woman person and I’m thinking, “Wow. I never asked one of them to go down on me? Really?”

    I guess I’m supposed to be ashamed of my “number” or something.

    Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Permalink
  2. Brigitte wrote:

    Everything you say here is so true. It’s all I can do not to gnash my teeth in rage.

    Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Permalink
  3. Gayle Force wrote:

    When I was in high school, I couldn’t like my body. I couldn’t feel good about it, couldn’t feel like it was sexy or beautiful. But what I did know was that women were supposed to measure their worth by how attractive they were to men, how much men wanted to have sex with them. And so I would have sex in high school will all these very nice dudes, actually, because the only way I could enjoy my body and appreciate it was through them enjoying and appreciating it. And because here was a dude who wanted me, that at least told me, as society taught me, that I was worth something. Even if I couldn’t, personally, see it.

    This makes me pretty sad, when I think about it.

    Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Permalink
  4. Sybil Vane wrote:

    Great analysis, lady friend. Dealing with a lot of things here, eg body image, teenage sexuality, language as positional, class, defense mechanisms, puberty, nutrition, etc. Love it all, deftly handled.

    Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Permalink
  5. Jessicasays wrote:

    WORD! Brillian post, am too blown away to come up with a more cogent comment!

    Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Permalink
  6. solara wrote:

    Thank you so much, Sady. This almost brought me to tears, considering how accurate a depiction this is of my life.

    And, speaking as a practitioner of martial arts, the one thing I hate the most about seeing children doing martial arts is watching kids who are barely 8 “diet” because they have to “make weight.” It is disgusting, and wrong, and I am personally abhorred by it.

    Thank you again, Sady.

    Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Permalink
  7. A-fucking-men. Sing it, Sister!

    I was labelled a slut at 12, which directly caused the rape at 15 wherein I lost my virginity. My big sin was developing early. I got called fat constantly, and looking back now at pictures of me in my teens when I thought I was this huge fat cow, now all I can think is, “Oh my Gods, I was hot! What the hell was wrong with me?”

    Society was what was wrong with me. And what’s wrong with this stupid study. The name of the game here is self-fulfilling prophecy, I think, in regards to what she found. She found exactly what she expected to find, and with things as nebulous and self-esteem, etc… how do you quanitify that in any meaningful way?

    Mostly, I just commented to say Brava!!

    Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Permalink
  8. Amy wrote:

    I find it completely ironic that such studies and articles never address the fact that much of the reason why we are so culturally hung up on the thinness ideal is that being thin is supposed to make us more attractive to men and thus more likely to get laid.

    So, here they are saying fat girls are getting laid because they look more like “women” and are therefore boys will want to have sex with them and left out that whole part about how the women they will become will possibly (probably) spend a majority of their lives dieting and obsessing about their weight so that they can become skinny, and therefore more attractive to men, so that men will want to have sex with them. Because being skinny ultimately = more sexy time! The Redbook tells me so.

    So, really, we want fat girls to get skinny so that they won’t have sex, but also so that they will eventually be more attractive to men so that they can have sex? Conundrum! It’s a puzzle wrapped up in a riddle wrapped up in an enigma.

    It just makes no sense to me – but, to add to what you’ve said here (and I especially agree with your points about the utter lack of acknowledgment of the girls’ own sexual desires – because girls are not supposed to desire such things!), is that the article tacitly upholds the ideal that women’s sexual lives and identities exist only to please men, and we should play by their rules (at whatever age) – be skinny when you’re young so we won’t want to have sex with you! (unless we’re pedophiles, then…), be skinny when you’re old so that we will want to have sex with you! Also, if you do what we want you are a slutty slut! And if you don’t do what we want, then you’re probably still a slut!

    Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Permalink
  9. Victoria wrote:

    Maybe the study itself accounts for this: But what about the disjuncture between being fat by whatever these researchers consider to be a measurable standard and considering yourself fat or not fat? I see now that I was a pretty normally sized teenager, but I remained certain I was unacceptably (undesirably) fat well into college. (I did not have a lot of sex in high school, so I suppose my experience would cohere with their measurable standards. But also, I was a big nerd.)

    Or what about girls who the study would call “overweight” or “obese” who don’t think of themselves as fat or see their bodies as a problem, who have superhuman self-love and acceptance powers? Doesn’t either case throw a terrible wrench into the fat > low self-esteem > sleeps around & should be ashamed logic?

    Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Permalink
  10. Elysia wrote:

    Great post! As a scientist, I was pretty disappointed by the discussion, and I hope that this does come out as a paper. (In my field, not all talks are published in the same way they’re initially presented, though.) I hated the lack of female agency – there was no allowance for women who have rejected beauty norms and have rejected sexual behavior codes and happen to be fat and having sex. No mention of whether “fat” teens were having more sex by honest freaking choice than their “thin” peers – for all we know, *all* of them were coerced, or *all* of them were happily acting on their own desires. And only ONE mention of helping girls to have self-confidence in that whole article? *facepalm*

    Also, the conflation of “fat” and “big boobs” irritated me. And I am suspicious about the early puberty thing; I’d need to see some data rather than stick my foot in my mouth, though.

    Unless you are very naturally thin, people around you will constantly be worrying about your weight well before you even hit puberty.
    I was naturally thin, and my parents worried about my weight. Both in the “too thin” and “wait teh fatz will get you sooner than you think” veins.

    Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Permalink
  11. Jadelyn wrote:

    #5 caught my eye, because in my psych class a couple of weeks ago we were talking about puberty and body image, and we ended up discussing a study that showed strong correlation between later onset of female puberty and “positive outcomes”, one of which was “lower number of sexual partners”. And I didn’t say it, but all I could think was “Wait, why is there this unquestioned assumption that fewer partners is automatically a positive outcome???” Because it was presented without any discussion, as if it were self-evident that fewer partners = A Good Thing. So infuriating! I had 4 sexual partners by the time I was 19, and I’m not irreparably damaged and broken from it, kthx.

    Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Permalink
  12. Elizabeth C. wrote:

    It was written by Silvana. Not that the compliments aren’t appreciated, I’m sure, but I wanted to point it out.

    Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Permalink
  13. Louise wrote:

    There are so many wrongs in that study it’s baffling. I can relate to a lot of what you said (sadly).

    Also, just maybe, young’uns shamed by their fat, in a society that over-sexualises young girls (whist miraculously managing to shame them too – oppression GOLD), may, just may, feel the pressure to overstate their sexual experience out of fear of being seen as less-than, undersirable or (worst of all) different? Not helped by blossoming young ladyminds revelling in their devloping and very relevant bodies, perhaps exagerating their own experience in all the excitement.

    Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Permalink
  14. JfC wrote:

    @Solara Silvana wrote this, not Sady

    My thoughts on the post: I think as a corollary to slut shaming, there is a pressure to have sex to be perceived as ‘cool’ and ‘mature’. I think Gayle Force touched on it when she described how she got validation that she was attractive through sexual activity, because being attractive is what’s important right? If fat girls are social outsiders in high school, which seems likely, they could possibly be pushed to have sex as a bit of social cache, to fit in with the cool kids who have sex.

    Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Permalink
  15. annejumps wrote:

    Not to distract from the main point, but if you *are* very naturally thin, people will certainly concern themselves with worrying about your weight. A woman’s appearance being subject to judgment no matter what is the underlying problem.

    Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Permalink
  16. Georgine wrote:

    I am a lifelong fat girl, well, woman (I’m 29), who is a virgin because she was so convinced boys/men wouldn’t want to see her naked. It grew into a full-blown anxiety issue.

    Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Permalink
  17. dave glasser wrote:

    (Re Elizabeth C.’s comment, it would be nice if the individual article pages had author names near the top like on the home page.)

    Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Permalink
  18. pocochina wrote:

    TW

    6 percent of normal weight teens had sex before age 13, as compared with 11 percent of overweight teens and 15 percent of obese teens.

    This worries me because it’s not actually about teenage girls, but preteens and children – that number of girls 12 or younger aren’t likely to have all or mostly “had sex” consensually. To see that number double to me suggests an alternative explanation – that the shame “overweight” and “obese” children are taught to feel about their bodies makes them seem like more attractive targets to predators. I’d be interested to see if the initial study controlled for that (I can’t find it anywhere, either).

    Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 6:54 pm | Permalink
  19. pocochina wrote:

    To clarify, I think your point about teenage girls and sexual desire still stands. I think it’s a flaw in either the article or the study to be conflating that with the “before age 13″ statistic.

    Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Permalink
  20. Rene wrote:

    Sorry Silvana. Great post – just not used to guest posts here yet (though I should be).

    And I completely agree – more study on each group, and more intensive analysis, is necessary. I’m also curious about factors of race and class in this study, since that could drastically change how the data needs to be interpreted. Anyway, turning off my analysis portion.

    Thanks again. And more sheepish apologies.

    Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 7:44 pm | Permalink
  21. Kate wrote:

    Gosh. The levels of wrongness just never end, do they?

    The sensuality point was really interesting to me. Of COURSE people are going to seek out pleasure, especially when it’s denied them in so many other areas. And of COURSE it’s going to be easier to ignore the shame and badness messages if you already feel ashamed and like a failure ALL THE TIME.

    I totally agree about the multiple parteners thing. In many cases I’d say sticking with one partner would be worse, depending on the partner, and yourself. But that’s the thing with things like sexuality and body image – it DEPENDS. And there is no room for teenage girls, especially not chubby ones, to have personalities or preferences or be anything other than ‘normal’ in every other way to compensate for their deviant fatness.

    Gah! Now I’m just going to have to go eat some chocolate to calm down. And maybe after that I’ll have me some of that fat-girl sex. ;)

    Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 8:41 pm | Permalink
  22. Eneya wrote:

    Two days ago I saw a 9 years old girl. She was so think, I couldn’t see any body muscle. Non at all. Just some skin over her bones.
    I was terrified. And this shit is expanding fast and furious.

    Thank you for your post. It’s awesome and it’s good to know that there are still some sane people out there, although I don’t see them or hear them in the media and the pop culture.

    I am a little confused about the idea that low self-esteem is the reasons for sex for the next generation. As far as I remember when I was 13, sex was the last thing in my head and it was perceived as normal to begin with your sex live around 15 or 16 and up. Nobody tried to sexualize 7 graders, although first steps with cosmetics and so on were beginning. And there was as much shaming as then as it is now but other things perceived as “normal” changed.

    Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Permalink
  23. Yvette wrote:

    Wow.

    I’m speechless. You have verbalized what I have been unable to.

    Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 9:19 pm | Permalink
  24. Jess wrote:

    @Rene, Silvana is a coblogger here, not a guest poster. But speaking as a former coblogger in a space where someone else was the “name,” I can hazard a guess that she isn’t all that insulted. :)

    This post is really extraordinary for two reasons: first because of how it shows up the absolute stagnation of thinky muscles that happens when people are faced with studies about fat, and second because of how it illuminates young fat women’s relationships with their bodies. In terms of the latter, you describe exactly my experience, and the reason I was having sex much earlier than most of my friends — it was a near-conscious decision to say, not exactly “fuck it, I’m already disgusting” (because I was never really socialized to see sex as dirty) but “fuck it, my body will never be marked as desirable in any other way, I’d better get it marked as desirable in the one way that’s under my control, as soon as possible and as often as possible.” I didn’t have more men after me because of my boobs or whatever; that’s offensively reductive. Instead, I was after more men, because I saw it as a way to lessen my obvious shortcomings. Okay, I wasn’t going to be a prize, but at least I could be easy, and I figured if that was all I’d be good for I might as well be good for something.

    And reason one, the weird thing where critical thinking grinds to a halt in the face of fat research, just makes me sputter. Thanks for making it so nakedly obvious.

    Friday, May 28, 2010 at 12:48 am | Permalink
  25. Tavi wrote:

    Yes, a million times over. And re the last line-SERIOUSLY. When teenage boys are pervy, it’s like, haha, those teenage boys just can’t be tamed! THAT IS JUST THE WAY THEY ARE, NATURALLY, AND OUR SOCIETY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT, OF COURSE. Justin Bieber sings, “Oh how you do me,” and I haven’t read any speculation about it, at all? And then Miley Cyrus dances in a cage and it’s like MILEY, TELL US ABOUT YOUR SEX LIFE, AND THE SEX LIVES OF YOUR FANS, AND OF ALL GIRLS, EVERYWHERE, ACTUALLY.

    Friday, May 28, 2010 at 2:33 am | Permalink
  26. anodyne lite wrote:

    Ugh, ANOTHER study that just assumes that females couldn’t possibly be having sex simply because women like having sex! Note how all the power of sexual decision making was granted to males in the article. I can’t even believe we still have to deal with this kind of BS. From professional researchrs, no less!

    Nobody addressed the quite clear possibility that came to mind for me immediately: women who weigh more tend to produce more estrogen. Estrogen is implicated in the female sex drive. Bigger women may actually have a higher drive than smaller ones for that reason.

    Oh but wait! Many men scientists still won’t give up the idea that female sex drive is primarily due to testosterone. *eye roll* Because the only real form of “sex drive” is the aggressive kind men experience.

    As an aside, many molecular genetists have theorized that the obesity epidemic in the U.S. was triggered by epigenetic changes in the genome caused by famine during the Great Depression. This theory makes a lot of sense, if you know about epigenetics and the science of obesity. The rise in consumption of processed, fast foods just after WWII was perfect timing to christen the whole thing.

    Friday, May 28, 2010 at 10:00 am | Permalink
  27. anodyne lite wrote:

    Sorry, I meant to say “molecular geneticists” up there…

    Friday, May 28, 2010 at 10:20 am | Permalink
  28. Silvana wrote:

    OMG HI TAVI. An actual teenage girl (and a candidate for the most awesome one on the internet), saying I am right!

    MY DAY HAS OFFICIALLY BEEN MADE

    Friday, May 28, 2010 at 10:23 am | Permalink
  29. Courtney wrote:

    Honestly I don’t know where to agree with you or not. I want to wait and read the study myself.

    Friday, May 28, 2010 at 10:30 am | Permalink
  30. Courtney wrote:

    Great great article. I loved reading it, and all of the comments to see all of the different points of view. Something I don;t think was addressed is the idea of this study perhaps having been flawed from the beginning with the idea that they were shaping the data from the beginning, something you are supposed to avoid completely in studies to begin with! I definitely think that there is much much more to the results than “Fat-> low self esteem-> sexy time” As an Education major, I see kids all the time that, for their age, are so much more mature in so many ways. When I worked in after school care in an elementary school, I had 5th graders that ran the gamut from “already a middle schooler” mentality, to those that were still very connected to the “elementary” mindset. Every middle schooler is totally different! I was still very “innocent” in terms of sexuality and drug knowledge through my freshman year of high school.

    Friday, May 28, 2010 at 10:39 am | Permalink
  31. Courtney (Miss C) wrote:

    That is so weird that there is another Courtney right above me…

    Friday, May 28, 2010 at 10:41 am | Permalink
  32. Melissa wrote:

    Because of course, admitting that
    1. Being fat does NOT automatically mean that no man will want to have sex with you ever, or that
    2. Sometimes teenage girls actually WANT sex

    would evidently cause the world to explode.

    Friday, May 28, 2010 at 11:08 am | Permalink
  33. Eris wrote:

    Well, I disagree on you with one thing; I don’t believe girls at 13 should be having sex. I don’t think ANYONE at 13 should be having sex. Sex is awesome, but at that age, you’re still not old enough to handle what goes along with it. I’m not saying ab-only until marriage, because I hate that shit, too. But still, young teens and pre-teens should be taught to at least wait a couple years. Sex is still an intense thing, and at least the first time, there can be a lot of complicated emotions, and not only that, but we don’t teach kids enough about rape, sexual assault, protection, and STDs. I was 18 when I lost my virginity, and I’ve had 3 other partners besides, but the thing is, at 13, I couldn’t fathom sex. I know there are kids that can handle it, but a lot can’t. I have a 13 year old cousin who developed, and she gets called a slut, and shit like that, and she isn’t skinny. But at the same time, she shouldn’t be having sex either way. She’s still immature. Puberty doesn’t automatically make someone mature enough to decide to make the decision to become sexually active, especially with the risks involved. Nothing is 100%, and being sexually active calls for maturity, even with no strings attached sex. Your tone just sounds like you think it’s OK for kids under 16 to have sex, and I’m sure you didn’t mean to come off that way, but it did. Text isn’t the best thing when reading into tone. Now, other than that, I agree with everything else you’ve said. Especially with chubby hate. I was skinnier, but my boyfriend was chubby as a kid, and got tortured in school because of it. He’s still probably considered overweight on the BMI, at 5’7″ and about 160 or so, but he looks fine, and you can’t tell he has extra weight. That scale is bullshit.

    Friday, May 28, 2010 at 11:31 am | Permalink
  34. Other Becky wrote:

    @Pocochina: Thanks for pointing out the “before age 13″ thing — I must’ve skimmed right past it. Agreeing with the doubt that all of that was sex the girl wanted. And the body shame/sexual predation thing can work both ways — shame makes for an easy target, and having been victimized can lead to a desire to be as “unattractive” and therefore invisible as possible in an attempt to avoid drawing attention.

    Friday, May 28, 2010 at 11:37 am | Permalink
  35. tiernafeminista wrote:

    SO TRUE. SO GOOD. I love you. I can’t add anything. Thank you.

    Friday, May 28, 2010 at 11:41 am | Permalink
  36. Jane wrote:

    I was fat and was sexually harassed starting in fifth grade, to the point where I became a book-loving recluse. Later on, it turned out that I am really a gregarious and fun-loving person who would have gotten a lot more out of my adolescence if I had been able to feel comfortable in my body. One might even make the case that I became a binge eater in part to camouflage the feminine bits that were all too likely to be noticed in a mocking way.

    I did not lose my virginity till I was 21, by which time it had become rather burdensome. Today, in my 40s, I occasionally encounter men who complain about fat women. (Apparently saying this in front of me is somehow not rude in their world?) I point out that some of us are fat because we have appetites for sensual experiences.

    Friday, May 28, 2010 at 11:43 am | Permalink
  37. brooklynapple wrote:

    First-time commenter here. Amazing analysis, which seems to be par for the course for this blog.

    One small point though, re: #4. Just because someone is living in poverty doesn’t automatically mean that her life is miserable, even if, as you say above, she is “are working several jobs and dealing with child care and not having health care and living in a shitty apartment.” There are plenty of poor people out there who struggle with exactly those things but still manage to have happy, fulfilling lives. I think it’s important to remember that poverty, while often difficult, doesn’t automatically equal misery. Nor does wealth equal happiness, obviously.

    Friday, May 28, 2010 at 11:57 am | Permalink
  38. Shea wrote:

    Agree on all the points about slut-shaming, and being pissed off about taking away girls’ sexual agency…

    But, another thought: Did this study take into account that correlation is not causation? There could very well be more factors at work. For example, weight could be associated with the family’s economic class…

    Say poorer families have, on average, heavier girls because they rely more on convenience foods. Say they rely more on convenience foods because the caretaker(s) work a lot. Say that, because the caretakers work a lot, they supervise their teens less of the time. And unsupervised teens of any weight are more likely to have the opportunity to have sex.

    And that’s just one possibility.

    Friday, May 28, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Permalink
  39. Dee wrote:

    Well, I was an obese child and teenager, and I didn’t start having sex until age 21. My reasoning at the time? Only boys who I wouldn’t be interested in would be interested in me. Any boy I found attractive would be untrustworthy.

    I was self conscious enough about my body that I didn’t do casual sex. I had no interest in getting intimate with someone I don’t know well or don’t trust. I’m still the same way. However, as a teenager, I didn’t really trust anyone.

    And this: “My body is bad. My body is disgusting. My body is something for me to fight against. My body will not cooperate with my desire to be thin. My body is a disappointment to the people around me.”
    This is SO TRUE. I especially felt that way as a adolescent. But for me, that translated into being cautious about intimacy rather than the opposite. I was more angry at society than I was at myself, and I wasn’t looking for validation from the other kids; especially not from the boys.

    When I started having sex, it was in a context I was comfortable with, on my terms. I know that a lot of people get to that point years before I did, but I do think issues around my weight delayed it for me.

    Friday, May 28, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Permalink
  40. Hallie wrote:

    This is AMAZING. I applaud you. This is exactly how I have felt my whole life, as a semi, to actual overweight girl (of course I don’t want to admit that I’m actually fat, so I avoid it at all costs). Thank you SO much for this article, I really hope that it can open peoples eyes to the horrors that young girls face in American life.

    Friday, May 28, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Permalink
  41. West wrote:

    @Eris: I’ll second that. Though to defend against the (reasonable) objection that *some* 13-year-olds might be ready for sex, I’ll say that at the very least, we can all agree that sexually active kids should be using protection. (So, I’m happy that studies are being done on how to encourage that– even if they might also be drawing some dumb conclusions.)

    It’s unfortunate that there are two messages for kids here that often get mixed up: “Sex can be emotionally and physically dangerous, we want to discourage you from having it right now,” and “Sex is an indicator of moral looseness, if you have it you’re a bad person (if you’re a girl)”. We often want to send the first message, while somehow avoiding reinforcement of the second message.

    Friday, May 28, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Permalink
  42. xenu01 wrote:

    Well, I disagree on you with one thing; I don’t believe girls at 13 should be having sex. I don’t think ANYONE at 13 should be having sex. Sex is awesome, but at that age, you’re still not old enough to handle what goes along with it.

    This comment made me realize something horrible. You know how we live in a rape culture? A culture that often equates “rape” with “sex”?

    Are we certain that the “sex” these 13 year old girls are having is consensual? Because, you know, I developed really early and remember, for instance, a time when I was walking through an empty parking lot in the middle of the day and a man cornered me and wouldn’t let me go until I kissed him on the mouth.

    Friday, May 28, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Permalink
  43. Silvana wrote:

    Your tone just sounds like you think it’s OK for kids under 16 to have sex, and I’m sure you didn’t mean to come off that way, but it did.

    Nope, I did mean for it to come off that way. I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with kids under 16 having sex. Some of them are perfectly ready for it. Some aren’t. But some 20-year-olds aren’t ready, either.

    I object to way that we see intercourse as this big, bad, scary thing that is way more serious than all other forms of sexual activity. It doesn’t have to be, if we properly prepare kids by actually giving them quality, comprehensive sex education. I actually think giving my first blowjob was a lot bigger deal than the first time I had sex.

    Look, I can’t say what age is right. I think pre-puberty is probably too early. But kids engage in plenty of sexual play pre-puberty (hello, playing “doctor”) and we don’t seem to think that scars them for life. There just is no one answer about what is right for kids. Except for that they all need adults they can trust who are going to give them good information.

    Friday, May 28, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Permalink
  44. Kellytrobertson@hotm wrote:

    I’m wondering about the correlation between obesity, poverty, and not using birth control. Poorer people are more likely to be obese, as well as lack access to or education about birth control (I got this information from a documentary that has a section about young girls in the Delta and the high rate of teen pregnancy). Connection?

    Friday, May 28, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Permalink
  45. Lori wrote:

    I think, as others have mentioned, that we just have a hard time as a society grappling with the reasons why young women actually have sex.

    I had sex for the first time when I was 17. For me, it wasn’t low self-esteem and it wasn’t love and it wasn’t some really strong sexual urge. I was a really curious kid, extremely eager to grow up, and I just wanted to know what it was like. So I found a willing partner, got my hands on about three different types of birth control, and had a go at it. It was a weirdly intellectual exercise for me (I was the same way when it came to smoking pot–never really had any particularly strong desire to do it, but wanted to see what the fuss was about).

    If the study didn’t control for class and race, that right there, IMO, invalidates the whole thing.

    I personally wouldn’t want to decide what age is the right one to have sex for anybody else. I do hope that my children wait until they are in a loving, committed, long-term relationship. I seriously doubt that will be the case when they are 13 or 16, but I also hope that I can try to encourage that while still letting them know that if they do have sex or are thinking about having sex before that, they can and should come talk to me and I’ll listen without judging or shaming them.

    Friday, May 28, 2010 at 7:51 pm | Permalink
  46. E. Ericson wrote:

    Yeah, well, I was thin and still hated myself, because to be attractive you needed to have boobs and I didn’t. And I didn’t have sex until I was 17 and in college, because I’d never met anyone who was interested in me that way. Real women have curves (=BOOBS), right?

    It’s not as if “normal-weight” girls are immune to body issues, is all I’m saying.

    Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 2:19 am | Permalink
  47. benjamin wrote:

    This is an indictment of the rampant pseudoscientific arrogance of mainstream sociology. The factors involved when people choose to have sex are far too innumerable for anyone to conclude that they know precisely why “obese girls” may have sex earlier than “thin girls”. To do so is to obscure the individual’s choice, to remove people from their free will by attributing their behavior to arbitrary social characteristics, like weight. To me, there is no assertion to make beyond the raw statistics. It may be more precise to say that there are so many factors effecting each individual case that the statistics show us a mere coincidence – a discrepancy that doesn’t need to be examined for further meaning. Bigger girls like to do it earlier, but it can not simply be because they weigh more than other girls – to say so is scientifically irresponsible. It’s a stupid point to try and make and there’s not any point in making it. Modern sociology assumes that there is a perfect balance that must be achieved between all definable social distinctions, between man and woman, rich and poor, between all races, sexual preferences, etc. It would be far easier and beneficial to promote the notion of individuality over conformity, that we all act freely and in self-interest rather than solely as members of arbitrary social groups (fat girls, thin girls, etc) fighting with the other groups over the proverbial pie which is, in this case, general social acceptance. I will paraphrase some of the previous comments by saying this – fuck social acceptance and the people whose job it is to sell it to you.

    Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 4:26 am | Permalink
  48. Silvana wrote:

    I do hope that my children wait until they are in a loving, committed, long-term relationship.

    Why? Seriously, I want to question this. This is a part of the narrative about what a good first sexual experience is, but I’ve never really heard a good argument for it. Why is it the case that kids need to be in a long-term relationship, or even in love, to have sex? I’ve heard a lot of people say this, and I think it’s just an offshoot of the notion that you should wait until you get married to have sex.

    There’s no justification for this. Someone you trust, yes. Someone you like, yes. Someone you are attracted to, yes. But it doesn’t have to be someone you are madly in love with an in a long-term relationship. Giving sex that kind of status is just part of the slut-shaming culture that says that girls who have sex are bad, because sex is supposed to be SO SPECIAL FOR TRUE LOVE ONLY.

    Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Permalink
  49. Robin wrote:

    Thank you so much for this article! Thinking of point number 7, when I was in high school, my step mother walked in on my boyfriend (of 8 months at that point) and I having sex…and called his parents over so we could all sit down and talk about it. And throughout the whole evening, all the adults kept asking me if he had made me do it. They didn’t believe me when I said that it was my idea! That I loved him and wanted to lose my virginity to someone who treated me nice and I loved and was sexually attracted to. I still don’t think my parents believe it was my idea. We were 17.

    Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Permalink
  50. Molly Ren wrote:

    So every time I see an article about fat shaming and read the comments I think I must have had the most unusual fat childhood ever. I grew up L/XL/size 14/18, and I never got teased about it. High school wasn’t great, because I was awkward and geeky and didn’t manage to find anyone to get laid with until I was of legal age, but how did I avoid getting fat shamed by my peers all through high school? They went for the fact that I read constantly instead and was a sci-fi geek, but I can’t recall any instances of being called a “fat slut”. Was reading weird to them that my weight was secondary?

    Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 10:54 pm | Permalink
  51. Molly Ren wrote:

    I mean, Was reading *so* weird to them that my weight was secondary?

    Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Permalink
  52. ZugTheMegasaurus wrote:

    Hey, I just hit this site through StumbleUpon and I’m really glad I did. This is a great article. I will definitely use that point about taking young women’s sexual desire out of the equation. I can never quite express it in the way you did here. Thanks for the great commentary. :)

    Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 11:38 pm | Permalink
  53. speedbudget wrote:

    I wanted to add that everything you outline in the post is true for me, and I had an athletic body in high school from playing soccer, basketball, and tennis. I was not obese, just not super thin. I went through every bullet point you had up there, and I especially agree that I could only appreciate my body through the male gaze. This beauty compliance idea was brilliant. No woman, no matter what, can live up to it, so we live our lives constantly distracted by an impossible goal. It’s a Sisyphean existence.

    Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 8:28 am | Permalink
  54. Silvana wrote:

    To the multiple commenters who commented with comments on the theme of: thin women have problems, too!

    Dude, what the fuck. I know. Why do you think I am a feminist? Why do you think I wrote a very long and recent post about performative femininity and how it sucks? Why do you think I agitate for less body shaming for all women?

    The study I was commenting on was specifically about fat girls. Which is why I was talking about the experience of fat girls. As we like to say, if it’s not about you, it’s not about you.

    Also, read this.

    Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 11:58 am | Permalink
  55. Nikki wrote:

    As a chubby, sexually precocious middle school girl, this article hit so close to home.

    At the time, I thought male attention = power. Girls might make fun of me for being chubby, but if I wore a bikini guys weren’t talking to me about thunder thighs, ’cause we could make out for a while instead and it wasn’t a big deal. At 12, I had the skinny Catholic girls I went to school with didn’t have and were afraid to use and it was kind of awesome.

    Shortly afterward I hit a teenage hormone induced severe depression and got all weird about my body like everyone else. Ages 12-13 were probably the most sex-positive I’ve ever been until I hit my 20′s.

    What’s interesting is that with a little more thorough data about race and class and the reasons why “fat” girls choose (or don’t choose) to have sex earlier, this study could have opened up an interesting conversation about how young girls express their new sexual urges. But noooo. Looks like the researchers got enough data to say “I dunno, fat = sad?” and left it at that.

    Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Permalink
  56. Rikibeth wrote:

    Silvana, I want to thank you for saying that about “WHY should it only be in a long-term, committed relationship?” When I look back on my sexual activities as a teen (I’m including a range of things here, not just intercourse), the things that I did with casual partners for mutual pleasure were pretty much all good fun and educational and not problematic (and when I had intercourse I used contraception), but the relationships I got into as a teenager were pretty much all disastrous to greater or lesser degrees. Sex itself isn’t all that complicated, but relationships ARE! I was ready to cope with sexual activity LONG before I was ready to cope with intense relationships.

    Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Permalink
  57. Ksb wrote:

    Very interesting and thought provoking…

    On the idea of preteen sex vs not consented sex or rape; rape is complex of course but I think that the reason it is so scary and is so “effective” (if its goal is authority or power) is because we, as a society, place sex in such a secretive, exclusive and “dangerous” space. If sex was an everyday topic at the dinner table or at school, rape wouldn’t have the same face. Therefore, preteens (male or female) who are experimenting sexually would at least have some sort of idea of what they are getting into, and I do believe that a 12 year old can make proper decisions about sex if they have the right information. It is just our responsibility, again as a society, to provide this information. and it seems this is where we are failing.

    Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 7:34 pm | Permalink
  58. maggie wrote:

    Silvana, I’ll back you up on questioning “sex should be when you’re X years old and only in Y kind of relationship!” Not that me having your back is useful, but anyway.

    I don’t know why it’s so hard to say a) Don’t do anything you don’t want to do and b) Be safe and responsible, whatever you choose to do.

    I don’t think there needs to be anything more than that to it. No X age, no Y relationship. Fill in those blanks yourself.

    Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 10:15 pm | Permalink
  59. AK wrote:

    I tried to post a comment here a couple of days ago, but I can’t see it here. Maybe there was something wrong with my internet connection or maybe I didn’t make it through moderation (I actually have no idea why, if that’s the case, and would appreciate an explanation if possible). I’ll try again though: I wonder if the study tried to correlate sex drive with weight or dieting. A lot of normal-weight girls try to lose weight with strict diets, and hunger will often kill any desire for sex. The underweight girls would probably have an even lower drive. (This is where I said “I know this for sure since I’m underweight”, maybe this sounded like a “but thin people have problems too!” thing? English is not my native language and I didn’t intend to derail the discussion, I just thought I’d mention the reason I know things about weight loss and sexual desire.)

    Anyway, I’d like to know how overweight girls compare to normalweight girls who don’t diet when it comes to sexual experience. Like, maybe the deciding factor isn’t the bodyweight but the hungriness or something.

    Monday, May 31, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Permalink
  60. Carolyn wrote:

    Not directly addressed here, but – lifelong automatic rage button for me – when chicks slut-shame other chicks. My path through my teen years were pretty different from yours. And perhaps because I was judged a “good girl” other girls/women have felt they can slut-shame a third woman in my company and not get a smackdown. This assumption was not correct.

    Monday, May 31, 2010 at 11:01 pm | Permalink
  61. Meg Thornton wrote:

    I was a fairly plump kid (I had the beginnings of the short, solid physique I inherited from two of my grandparents) except for a short while around age 8 when I was going through a growth spurt. By the time I was 12 – 13, my mother was putting me on diets on a regular basis, and that was pretty much the pattern for the whole of my teenage years. Of course, this wasn’t helped by me developing chronic depression and the standard hormonal insanity of puberty anyway, along with a combination of a multi-generational legacy of emotionally deprived parenting, so I was doing one hell of a lot of comfort eating in order to keep myself even vaguely emotionally stable. By the time I was about 14, I was convinced I’d been swapped at birth with a whale, and I hated my body, had no confidence in my own attractiveness, and was deadly certain that nobody male would ever be interested in me. I basically retreated from male/female interaction at full tilt, using the weight I’d gained as an excuse not to even attempt anything in the line of getting boyfriends or similar.

    It helped that my mother was very accepting about sex and also about alcohol – if I’d started sexual activity at a young age, she would have probably been disappointed, but she would have been supportive, and certainly she would have made certain I was on birth control. She also had a very frequently stated policy for both my brother and myself – if we wanted to drink, we could, but she’d prefer we did so at home, where there was someone adult to keep an eye on things. She’d answer questions about things like “what does sex actually, y’know, feel like?” and she was fairly honest about sex and love not being the same thing at all. Those plus a long-term interest in anatomy and physiology (starting at age six) meant I knew all the mechanical stuff, and the thing I really yearned after wasn’t so much the “what is sex like” stuff as much as the emotional connection of being in a relationship – and that I wanted so much it was probably terrifying to any guy who even considered it.

    I gave up dieting when I was about 23 (after deciding that ten years of yo-yo dieting hadn’t really achieved anything and wasn’t doing me any good anyway) and got my first sexual experience that wasn’t self-provided when I was 26. But I still have the scars of my teenage years. My fantasy life doesn’t involve me. I’ll get myself off to the tales of other people having sex, and I enjoy sex when I have it myself, but if I’m fantasising, the fantasies don’t involve the body I’m in, because somewhere in my head, I still don’t see this body as being a sexual thing (I doubt it’s helped by the sertraline making my libido pack up and head elsewhere, either). I still don’t tend to regard myself as attractive, and I definitely have the Groucho Marx “I wouldn’t want to be part of a club which would have me as a member” attitude toward guys who find me attractive (of course, I’m a geek, so in order to get me to realise you *do* find me attractive you have to tell me outright).

    (Oh, and just as an aside: I had a bargain with myself that if I was still a virgin at age 30, I was going to hire me a gigolo and find out what all the fuss was about, just so I’d know.)

    Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at 3:14 am | Permalink
  62. Melinda wrote:

    Disclaimer: I haven’t gotten through all the comment, forgive me if I am restating something.

    As a pediatrician, I would like to try to explain the assumption in the study that multiple partners == bad.
    It’s not the sex itself that is so terrible (though we are still taught that multiple sexual partners is a “risky behavior”) but the possible consequences. What we are more concerned about is the possibility of unwanted pregnancy and transmission of STIs. Having multiple sexual partners inherently increases your risks for contracting an STI. It even says in the study that the overweight girls were less likely to use condoms.

    Also, having grown up poor with not infrequent bouts of food scarcity, I found your equation of McDonalds with pleasure to be just as troublesome as the cited richplaining “eat more vegetables.”

    Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at 8:46 am | Permalink
  63. diane wrote:

    I don’t know if I should feel sad or outraged.
    I am a therapist, and I am myself a fat woman. I can’t possibly understand why I am supposed to have low self esteem, and trust me, I have gone through all the psychology. I am fat, yes, but I am smart, funny, strong and confident. Deal with it. Maybe we should stop labeling women for their size.

    Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at 10:57 pm | Permalink
  64. Melissa wrote:

    I grew up poor with regular episodes of food scarcity, too, and damn straight the occasional McDonald’s experience when we could afford it was sensually pleasurable! The fat, salt, and sugar felt a lot better going down, and hit more pleasure centers in the brain, than the expired matzohs, gummint cheese, and chlorinated tap water we were used to during lean periods!

    Wednesday, June 2, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Permalink
  65. Emily wrote:

    Silvana, I’ll back you up on questioning “sex should be when you’re X years old and only in Y kind of relationship!” Not that me having your back is useful, but anyway.

    I don’t know why it’s so hard to say a) Don’t do anything you don’t want to do and b) Be safe and responsible, whatever you choose to do.

    I don’t think there needs to be anything more than that to it. No X age, no Y relationship. Fill in those blanks yourself.

    Thursday, June 3, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Permalink
  66. EGhead wrote:

    I was loving this (“calling Caitlin Flannigan” HA!) until we got to the part where poor= miserable. I couldn’t get past how completely wrong that was.

    Thursday, June 3, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Permalink
  67. Emily wrote:

    @Elysia (10) There is the body fat/estrogen correlation, as well as recent studies that suggest that puberty is partly triggered by weight in girls… I don’t know how scientific it is, but I know that I was very scrawny as a child and both had issues resulting from low estrogen and went through puberty very, very late (ie, when I graduated college I still had acne and barely had enough money to buy bras as fast as I was “outgrowing” them).

    Sunday, June 6, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Permalink
  68. P.R. wrote:

    As someone who had sex for the first time at age 15 and years later has no regrets and thinks that was a perfectly healthy time for me to become sexually active, I take great offense to some of the commenters who seem to think it is their business to say when it is “okay” for someone to be having sex. I knew it was the right time at 15. I know women who knew that at 13 and 14. We were all safe and well-educated about sex. We do not regret our decisions. We should be supported in our choices. Supporting women in making healthy, pleasurable choices = feminism.

    Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 3:01 am | Permalink
  69. usedtobeavegetarian wrote:

    If fat adolescent girls, even young fat adolescent girls, feel sexy and empowered and want to explore that, God love ‘em, I couldn’t be more delighted! However, although I don’t want to reinstate the fat=sad assumption, I think it is true, as some have already pointed out, that in ignoring female desire the study also does the opposite: blurs the line between consensual (or just pressured) sexual activity and what may in fact be sexual abuse.

    It is not at all unusual for young girls to be sexually abused. It is not at all unusual for young girls who have been sexually abused to develop disordered eating. It is finally not unusual for young girls with disordered eating to become fat. That was certainly the case for me, and for plenty of other women sexual abuse survivors that I know.

    Many young girls who have been sexually abused never have the experience of having an adolescent virginity to actively decide to “protect” or “lose”. They may not experience much sexual decision-making or control in their adolescence at all. It’s also not a stretch to imagine that some of these girls may be reporting their incest or abuse and not just casual teen exploration. Sexual abuse survivors often assume some kind of emotional responsibility for their abuser’s actions or feel that they must have wanted it or else they would have been able to prevent it.

    I truly don’t want to imply that all fat girls have eating disorders, or that all fat girls have been victimized. I don’t believe those things, but I do believe that many girls reach adolescent already feeling sexually damaged, and that that impacts their future decisions and behaviors.

    Friday, June 11, 2010 at 11:47 am | Permalink
  70. Ashley wrote:

    As a “skinny girl,” I’ve always believed in that study’s analysis of sex and weight. I’ve never thought to consider it from your point of view, but now that I see it, I think I really do understand. We need more people like you so we can stop this from happening to anyone else. Thank you so much for posting this, and really exposing the hypocrisy and negativity that girls and women face every day.

    Saturday, June 12, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Permalink
  71. Nika wrote:

    THANK YOU!
    The part that pisses me off most is that their solution is to put fatty on a diet, rather than sex ed.

    Saturday, June 12, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Permalink
  72. aly wrote:

    The survey that they are talking about I took when I was in high school…I didn’t pay attention to anything I was filling it. Also what I now see as me being underweight in middle school and high school, I felt as if I was over weight when I was that age. And since it’s a self survey it’s all about how those girls felt about themselves. Meaning a girl like me at fifteen could been around 100 pounds at 5’1” and still feel overweight and be marking themselves as overweight.
    Also when I look to as to why I started having sex so young (barely 15) and now have “so many” partners (around 30 and I’m now 22), my weight issues have never occurred to me. Being sexually assaulted as a child, and the fact that sex is freaking awesome and great stress relief are the reasons I started young and have done it so much.

    I feel the same way I do when I read “studies” about teen drug usage–TEENS LIE and have no idea what they are talking about. They have a huge sample size but that doesn’t mean anything to me because no one is regulating or interviewing the people taking the survey.

    I think the most important thing to take from this survey is that kids are having sex way too young and aren’t using protection. We need better sex ed in our schools and we need parents having an active dialog with their kids at younger ages in order to prevent that.

    Monday, June 14, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Permalink
  73. AmazonaWomona wrote:

    Can we be friends? :) I think we need to have a fat chick get together……And talk about sex and feminism and fat chicks and how they rule!

    Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

3 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. On fat girls and doing it « Fatistician on Friday, May 28, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    [...] Leave a Comment Categories: Uncategorized I really loved Silvana’s post at TigerBeatdown about the recent study, she made some really great points about the pile of steaming crap that was [...]

  2. links for 2010-06-01 « Embololalia on Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    [...] Tiger Beatdown › On Heavy Girls and Sexy Time Seriously? Do we understand so little about sex that we think the question of who’s having sex and who’s not is just about who is the most attractive to men? That ladies with big boobs get laid and ladies with small boobs don’t, because apparently men are unable to speak and therefore can’t determine anything about a woman except boob size? Okay, well there’s also the “they have low self-esteem, because, duh, they’re fatties” explanation: (tags: sex sexuality women body.politics body.politics:fat adolescence class sady.doyle) [...]

  3. Links of Great Interest: 6/4/10 | The Hathor Legacy on Friday, June 4, 2010 at 3:41 am

    [...] Let’s flip out about teen girls and sex!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That study? Made of fail. [...]