Singleness has always had a stigma of being something you want to avoid. Being in a relationship is a goal to achieve in order to have a better life…or so the world wants you to believe. Singleness always has the stereotype of the sad girl in her pajamas eating ice cream and watching a romantic movie by herself—possibly crying. I don’t understand when this started, but it’s a lie! People without a significant others live rewarding and full lives every single day. I didn’t have a boyfriend until I was a senior in college and started dating my (now) husband. I was verrrry good at being single. Now that I’ve been on the “other side” for a while, I thought it would be appropriate to share with you some of the things I miss about being a “Party of 1.”

1) Being Single is Way Cheaper!
Being in a relationship means you buy two of everything: two movie tickets, two meals at dinner, & two tickets to that concert of the artist you love who’s coming to town next summer. When you’re flying solo, you only pay for what you yourself are gonna use—one movie ticket, one meal, & one concert ticket.

Find a friend who enjoys the same things you do and you’ll automatically save money because it’s like you’re “Going Dutch” ALL THE TIME! Not to mention you don’t have to stress out about buying gifts for someone for holidays and birthdays. Birthdays, Anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, and Christmas add up fast!

2) You Can Make Your Own Schedule
When you don’t have anyone else dependent on you, you get to prioritize your own life with no hurdles. You don’t have to check with anyone else about what you’re going to do Friday. Now that I’m married, I have to check any sort of activity I’m interested in with my husband to see if A. He wants to go, B. He’s free that night and C. If we can afford to do the activity (because it costs twice as much), and D. If he can’t go, can I go with someone else. It’s just a bigger hassle than when I was in college and my decision-making process was “I like this idea. I can afford it. YES! I will go with you!”

Embrace your freedom right now, because the day will come when you can’t make snap decisions for adventures so easily. Not to mention you don’t have to hang out with people you don’t enjoy, which can happen if you don’t get along well with your significant other’s crew.

3) You Have So Much Free Time
Hanging out with a significant other is a huge time suck. Without someone always wanting and needing your attention, you can spend your time however you want, without feeling guilty that you should be somewhere else! You can work 30 hours a week on top of school if you want to make bank or dive into your studies and become a permanent fixture at the library. Find a hobby you enjoy or a volunteer opportunity to pad your resume or use your extra time to build up your faith with like-minded people. Use this time to chase after your goals full-speed and become the best version of yourself.

4) You Can Avoid Tons of Drama
Relationships and drama go hand in hand, no matter how healthy or unhealthy the relationship. Whether you’re fighting over how messy the other person is, or how they continually prioritize other people over you, you’re going to get into arguments. They’re unavoidable when men and women try to understand each other. Being in a relationship means that you want to live life with this person. That means that all their issues become your issues because you’re invested in them. You’re the person they vent to and bring problems to and you need to be there for them because that’s part of the deal. While this is a good thing, it can be very taxing.

Enjoy the fact that you only need to worry about yourself and your own problems. When you don’t have to come home and listen to your man vent about how Angela in Accounting only talks about her 5 cats and shows him her nanny-cam feed every day at lunch, that’s just one less thing to worry about. Life is messy enough on your own.

Remember: relationships are two people coming together. You bring all your strengths AND weaknesses to the table. The more happy and confident you are with yourself, the better partner you’ll be to someone later. Using your time alone to become content with where you’re at is the best way to attract someone compatible. When you love your life and can’t imagine possibly enjoying it any more than you currently are is usually when a cute stranger waltzes into your life. Or in my case, the best friend you’ve been crushing on since you were eleven texts you asking if you should’ve dated in high school while you’re casually working behind the coffee counter slinging lattes one night.

Love will find you when you least expect it. Make sure you’re actually living your life and not just killing time waiting for it to come. Stay busy in the in-between. Just because you’re single doesn’t mean you have to live a less exciting life. I genuinely miss my single days. They were so wonderful and I look back on them fondly. I hope someday you will too.

 

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Read more about Heather here. 

 

I will be the first admit that I’m not the greatest when it comes to studying. If I know it’s a super important test then I will study by butt off, but other than that I’m guilty like the rest of you that hate studying.

1) Don’t wait until the last minute
Guilty as charged. It’s not that mean I wait until last minute to start to cramming for a test that I already knew about weeks in advance…it’s just that I kind of forgot about it. Most professors start to tell you to study as soon as they tell you about the test, and for some people that works. I would advise to start studying a week before the test, that way you don’t forget the material or get it mixed up with new material.

2) Rewrite your notes
I know it sounds redundant and more work than it’s worth, but believe me when I say it helps so much. Making note cards and flashcards work for basic classes and some majors, but not for all of them. If you are on that is guilty of copying down every single word that a professor puts on a powerpoint then here is your chance to write the notes in your own words to make sure you understand the material.

3) Go to office hours or email your professor
All professors have office hours, and they want you to use them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you aren’t understanding something, need more of explanation, or you aren’t sure what is going to be on test. Some professors will tell you to email them with your questions, and if you have any, I advice you do. It will not help them, but you will start to understand the material better, and the professor will more than likely remember that you asked a question.

4) Take breaks
I don’t mean that you look at something for five minutes and then decide to binge watch a whole season on Netflix. That also means that you don’t sit there and try to cram stuff into your little brain for seven hours. Listen to your body, it will tell you when you need to breaks, and sleep. Every once in awhile taking a dance party break won’t hurt and will help you refocus when the time comes.

5) Avoid all social media
This is tough one for all of us, because we want to watch the latest YouTube video, try to figure out who Sally is talking about on Twitter when she starts to quote tweets with “this”. The SelfControl
app is a great way to put a blocker on your web browsers and phones. Believe me, you might think you have the willpower to not look at your phone, but we all know the minute you take a glimpse at it, you’re done.

Do you have any tips on studying? If so share in the comments below! We’d love to hear! 

 

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Read more about Katie here

I don’t know what you do with your spare time (and money), but I spend much of my time at my local coffee shop. The reason for this is mostly because I am seriously addicted to coffee, but it has also turned into a love of people watching. This may sound a bit creepy, you know, me spending my free time watching people, but it has honestly taught me so much.

1) I know what is annoying for me to watch as a spectator, and have learned not to do such things in public.
For example, I have watched many people trying to have a conversation, and their conversation partner is sitting on their phone. Like how rude. It may seem like a no brainer, but honestly, in our day and age the phones are everywhere. I get it, some things are important, but it is hard to have deep meaningful conversations with a phone glued to your hand.

I’ve also witnessed selfies upon selfies. I mean if you look cute, work it and take that picture, there isn’t anything wrong with that. But you don’t need to take a million. It’s awkward for not only you, but for the people watching. I don’t need to see anyone trying all of those fake smiles/laughs and duck faces for an hour straight (I’m not kidding, I’ve seen it).

2) Conversations are not that hard to start.
I’ve spent some time watching people, and let me tell you something—they love talking. I have never been good at starting up conversations, but after observing people, I’ve gotten better. There are very few people who will shut you down if you go and try to talk to them. I have met some really great people in the past few months by going and asking to sit with them. It’s not that scary, you aren’t making a lifetime commitment to be their best friend, you are simply just spending a bit of your time listening to their story if they wish to share it.

3) It’s good to spend time alone.
I’m not sure about you, but sometimes I get exhausted by other people. I have some friends that just have stressful personalities, and I sometimes need a break (not that I love them any less). My coffee time is my alone time (unless of course I choose to make a friend). I love being able to relax, drink my coffee, and catch up on a good book or homework.

I live a pretty busy life, so being able to set aside some time is what keeps me sane. I don’t know how I went through life before I figured this out. No distractions, no rushing, no interruptions. I am not a person able to work in dead silence, so the soothing conversations of those around me are perfect.

4) It makes a great date spot.
First dates can be absolutely nerve-wreaking and awkward. But having this little coffee shop in which I spend so much time definitely helps me out in that area. Coming to a familiar place calms my nerves and lets me show who I am (mostly because they are able to witness my obsession with coffee). Also, it makes conversation the most important aspect of the time you are together. It’s a coffee shop. There isn’t a TV, movie, or distractions to get in the way. Because of this, you two are really able to get to know each other, because conversation with each other is what is most important to keep you from being bored.

It doesn’t have to be a coffee shop if you are one of those weird specimens who don’t like coffee, it can literally be anywhere you can sit and enjoy yourself. There is so much you can learn from those around you just by watching and listening—don’t miss out on the opportunity.

 

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Today I am sharing part 2 of my Sex and the Stigma article. You can read Part 1 here

*Disclaimer: The views of the women in this article are not being pushed on any of our readers and may not apply to the women population as a whole. The views may also differ from the views of the Tribe 21 team. All viewpoints, opinions, and experiences were volunteered. The women’s/men’s names in this article are anonymous to protect the privacy of the women/men. Tribe 21 is not promoting or opposing the actions of having sex. If you choose to engage in the experience, you are doing so of your own accord and we ask that you always have consent and use protection.

If you would like to join the conversation use #AskLizzieT21 to ask your questions or give me your input! (Accounts have to be non-private for me to see your hashtags)

 

These are the questions I asked in a Tribe 21 survey. All questions were optional and are in no particular order. 14 people took the survey with multiple points of views, experiences, backgrounds, beliefs, genders, and ages. I hope this helps you if you’re struggling with the idea, have second thoughts about past experiences, and gives you some advice from multiple angles on the subject. 

1.) How old are you, are you married, and do you and your partner(s) have sex?

A.) 20, not married, but I had my first sexual experience with my ex-partner in high school.
B.) 22, married, and yes
C.) 24 years old, married, and yes to the last part!
D.) 23 and I am single and I am still a virgin and never been in a relationship
E.) 23 years old, female, in a relationship, we are intimate
F.) 21, not married, and yes my partner and I have sex.
G.) 23, not married, yes we have sex
H.) 21, and I’m a virgin
I.) 22, not married, yes my boyfriend and I have sex
J.) 22, not married.
K.) Male 26, not married, and yes we do
L.) 22, not married, no.
M.) 21, not married, and yes we do.
N.) 25, not married, no. 

2.) Do you do it openly or is it secret? As in do people know/assume you have sex?

A.) We kept it a secret from our parents but were pretty open with our friends/peers about it. In high school, most of my friends were also in relationships that involved intimacy so it wasn’t taboo or frowned upon.
B.) Openly
C.) (I know this question might be irrelevant since we are married, but I’ll answer it regardless:) )  Openly (I’m just assuming everybody knows that haha)
D.) Most people know that I am a virgin which sometimes I am embarrassed about because I have never done that before but I want it to be with someone special.
E.) People know or assume we have sex.
F.) Openly
G.) People do not know, but may assume.
H.) N/A but it would be secret, or not public.
I.) People know or assume we have sex.
J.) NA; I don’t have sex but people assume I do because “that’s what everyone does”
K.) I’m fairly certain no one knows unless we’ve told them, so secret.
M.) Yes people know we have sex, we are very open about it.
N.) Some people know, some people assume, some people have no idea.

3.) If you had sex before marriage, do/did your parents know? What are their views on sex before marriage? What would they do if they knew you had/are having sex before marriage? Why do they think it’s bad?

A.) My parents didn’t know…at least, I don’t think that they did. My parents never really had “the talk” with me, so I was never really certain, still not 100% sure, on their opinion. I grew up in a religious household but I like to refer to it as a “casual religious household,” meaning that even though we went to church every single Sunday, were heavily involved throughout the church, and represented the church in the community, we never really discussed religious matters at home. Honestly, I was so young when I had sex for the first time that I know my parents would’ve been shocked and upset for that reason alone. Now that I’m in college, I’m pretty sure that they assume it’s going to happen at some point…but we don’t ever talk about it.

B.) My parents knew we were having sex before we were married. They were fine with it as long as we were safe.

C.) I waited for marriage to have sex. This decision was highly influenced by how I was raised, but ultimately became my own personal decision the older I got. It was a principle my parents lived by and therefore passed down to their children in hopes that we would find value in waiting.

D.) My mom it is all about religion and respecting your body and saving yourself and not getting pregnant even though I was born before they were married and my dad to be honest could care less as long as he was not hurting me I guess.

E.) Yes, my parents knew. They believed it was wrong to have sex before marriage, that sex was only for a husband and wife. But their opinions have loosened up as they realized purity until marriage is nearly impossible. Not to mention antiquated. I think they still wish I hadn’t had sex as a teenager, but they know I am responsible.

F.) I did have sex before marriage and my mother did know. My mom just wanted me to be cautious and take care of myself. She always told me to follow how I feel and never do anything I did not want to. My mother never thought it was bad.

G.) No my parents don’t know. They think sex before marriage is bad and looked down upon and that it should be saved for marriage. If they knew, they would be disappointed in me and wonder where they went wrong in parenting me to say no to sex. They believe that it should be between a woman and her husband and that there is too many emotions associated with it.

H.) My parents are against sex before marriage, they would be VERY unhappy to say the least. Religious views.

I.) My parents probably know because they know I am on birth control and both have found my stash of condoms before. Additionally, I live with my boyfriend so it’s safe to assume they know. My parents have never openly said they were for or against sex before marriage. They encouraged me to learn about sex at school and then when I got a little older my mom made it a point to talk to her if I wanted to get on birth control because she would rather know I was being safe. It wasn’t as if they were encouraging me to have sex prior to marriage, I think they were just being realistic.

J.) They never told me their views but I don’t think they would care if they knew I was being responsible about it. Side note: not all parents think sex before marriage is bad- this is an assumption

K.) My parents didn’t know. They prefer it be with marriage, but that’s my choice. They wouldn’t do anything. It’s probably seen as bad by the older generation since that’s more traditional.

L.) My parent’s views on sex are on the Christian field. They believe you should wait until marriage. Not sure what they would do if they found out…. Probably be disappointed in me than anything.

M.) My parents knew/know. My mother is very against it and always has been, because I was raised on the idea of abstaining until marriage. My dad did not prefer it simply because it was a sign I wasn’t a little kid anymore, but he is much more relaxed about it and doesn’t care nearly as much as my mom does. My mom is a strong Christian and does not believe in sex before marriage, and she was very upset when she first found out.

N.) No they believe you shouldn’t have sex before marriage. They would probably be disappointed, but since I’m 25 I don’t think it would be a big deal. They think it’s bad because of their religious beliefs.

4.) Why do you choose to wait? Or why did you choose not to wait before marriage?

A.) I never really considered waiting/not waiting…it just kind of happened. I was a few years younger than my partner and I knew that they had definitely participated in it in the past with past partners. I think that I had just been really curious about it for a while, so when I picked up on the possibility of sex occurring, I just went with it. It was one of those situations where things are happening really fast and you don’t have time to stop and really think about it.

B.) We didn’t choose to wait because we both had previously had sex before we met each other.

C.) I think my reasoning has changed over the years. Growing up, it’s what I was taught, my parents wanted, and just sort of “the rule”. I didn’t date much growing up, but there were still opportunities for me to make this decision on my own accord. Ultimately, I decided that it was something that was very sacred to me. We don’t really wait for anything in our culture anymore because everything is accessible and at our finger tips. I wanted sex to be different. My primary reason for waiting ultimately rested on my faith the older I got. I saw it to be very pure and holy. And I wanted to save that for whoever God would guide me to.

D.) I want it to mean something and have some sort of passion and I don’t want to get pregnant and my luck that would happen lol but I cannot lie and say that if the moment arose with someone I would sex.

E.) I didn’t choose not to wait, it just happened when I believed I was in love with someone.

F.) I did not make a choice per say, I just decided that I did not care if I waited or not. When it happened, it happened.

G.) I chose to wait originally. Then I had sex, but struggled deeply with it. I felt like it was a sin against God and that I was dirty for doing this and letting someone touch me. I feared what my parents might think if they found out. A lot of emotions came up. Then I met someone who I absolutely love and he didn’t care if we had sex or not, he just wanted to be with me for me. We eventually talked about it and we truly believe we’re going to get married one day so why not show each other that love through the act of sex. It took a long time before we talked enough and I came around to the fact of doing so but having a great open and supportive relationship made it easier.

H.) I feel waiting until your married makes it even more special. It is something emotional and it’s better just shared with one person.

I.) I chose not to wait before marriage because my first sexual partner I had been with for over 3 years and we were very in love. And there’s no better way to show love than to have sex.

J.) I can’t give that part of myself to just anyone. I can’t give away every part of me to someone who has not committed to me for life. I can’t trust someone with the most intimate moment who hasn’t committed to me forever. It’s something I only want to share with one special person.

K.) My first time was with a close friend and I wish it was with someone in a relationship. I don’t regret it, but wish I waited for a relationship.

L.) I haven’t decided yet. Part of me wants to wait for marriage, for my husband and part of me wants to do it. Like if it happens it happens. I don’t know if I would actually go through with it or not… I mean I say I would but I don’t know if my morals would stop me and convince me to wait or if I would just go for it because I’m genuinely curious and sexually frustrated. We’ll see.

M.) I chose not to wait because I simply didn’t want to wait. I think sexuality is a beautiful thing to explore with not only yourself but with your partner(s). A physical relationship is also a HUGE part of marriage, and I am not comfortable entering a marriage never having known what my sexual chemistry is like with my partner.

5.) Has religion or morals shaped how you view the topic?

A.) I guess this is where the “fun” part of my story comes in, haha. So I identify as bisexual. I’m not officially out, so in a really vague way of describing it, I basically live one way around my friends who know that I’m LGBTQ+ and a different way when I go home and am around my church family. I definitely consider myself religious as well. In my case, I have always had to battle the negative stigma that coincides with being bisexual AND religious; a lot of people believe that you’re basically a walking contradiction if you talk about your Christian beliefs but also match with other girls on Tinder…at least that’s what I’ve experienced in the past. ANYWAYS, I definitely struggled with religion and my newly activated sexual experiences after a few months into the relationship between my partner and I. My youth group was attending “True Love Waits” events and other gatherings with speakers who were very passionate about abstinence. Since I never told my youth group friends about my relationship, especially since it wasn’t with a member of the opposite sex, I went to those events and felt extremely awkward. While everyone was purchasing rings that symbolized their choice to wait until marriage, I felt exactly like Hester from The Scarlett Letter; I felt like since I never really agreed to wait or make the decision to begin abstaining from sex, I was the odd one out. That was one of the last times I ever participated in the youth group.

B.) Religion actually shaped my views in sex before marriage. It taught me the whole “abstinence-only” view point, but to me as long as you are safe, it’s ok

D.) Yes but it comes from my mom and her telling me how to use my body but for me I look at it as a security blanket and if someone happens when we are married then we need to deal with it when it comes

E.) It was actually something I was very certain about. I had been taught for a long time that my worth was in purity. But I made a mistake in the heat of the moment, and all of those things I believed in basically had to be unlearned. Sex is a natural part of life and does not determine who you are. Having sex, or not having sex, does not determine if you are good or bad.

F.) Not personally.

G.) Yes it did, but now that I still have sex I have come to the terms that my partner will be my future husband one day and sex was made for two people in love. I know God will always love me and He forgave me for my other sexual mistakes.

H.) Yes, it does have a lot of effect but I just think it’s worth the wait as well.

I.) To a small extent, not really.

J.) No

K.) They did until my first time having sex.

L.) I grew up in a Christian conservative home so sex before marriage was a sin, immoral and bad. I never really had the “talk” with my parents and learned about sex through school and the Internet. I remember wanting a purity ring in middle school partly because that’s what you were supposed to have at that age and partly because Nick Jonas had one and he was one of my childhood crushes so I had to have one. Haha!

M.) Yes

6.) What are your original thoughts of sex before marriage?  Have those changed at all since you have gotten older or experienced it, and why?

A.) Since I had sex at kind of an early age, I never really had an opinion. I knew that a lot of people at my school were sexually active and that a lot of them were ending up getting pregnant in middle and high school. I guess since my first experience was with another female, I just believed that there was no risk. (Obviously I know now that there are risks of other kinds.) I’ve always just kind of believed that it’s up to the people in the relationship. As long as the decision to have sex is consensual and both partners are in tune with each other’s feelings/doubts/etc..I feel like sex before marriage isn’t anything to condemn.

B.) Years ago I believed that sex before marriage was condemning, but once I had sex the first time I knew that I would still be ok.

C.) Though my reasoning may have changed over the years, my decision has remained the same. Now that I have experienced it, I am happy to have waited and would do it again.

D.) If it is consensual and you are being safe then I do not see an issue I think coming to college has changed my view a lot

F.) I never really had thoughts on it other than I thought you should have sex with someone you love. Those thoughts have changed because we are humans and sex is a pleasurable act that can be enjoyed without having an intimate relationship.

G.) To each their own. I enjoy it now, but I am being safe about it, I only have one partner, and they will eventually be my husband.

H.) I’ve always wanted to wait, I think it definitely is harder to abide by when you really love someone but from my experience of what I thought was a good relationship, ended up very bad and it was definitely worth not sharing that with him.

I.) I used to think sex before marriage was wrong because I was raised in a semi-religious household. As I got older and most of my friends started to have sex it just seemed more normal and as I developed into adulthood it didn’t seem like such a bad thing. After I had sex, I loved it and now I think it’s a really special and sacred thing.

J.) I was brought up in a very conservative town where that was shunned, so I took that stance as well until college, where having sex before marriage became the regular talk between groups of friends and on the mornings after parties. Then I realized that each person has different values and different ways of processing feelings, ways that could be very different from mine, and as long as they are not harming themselves by processing those feelings, I’m in no place to judge other’s choices

K.) Originally, I believe sex should wait, but after my first time that changed. I believe if I’m happy with someone and trust them, why not? It’s between my partner and I and God if you’re religious, no one else.

L.) I have talked about this with one of my best friends in depth and I believe that it is one of the most intimate and special parts of a relationship. It’s love, respect and passion. I don’t think it’s bad if someone does it and that they’re going to hell if they have sex before marriage. As mentioned in an above question part of me wants to wait for my husband but the other part says if it happens then it happens. I’m 22 and have certain needs and if I find a guy who I care about deeply and who cares about me and respects me and we want to take that step then so be it. But I’m not going to rush it or go actively seeing it. Growing up I always thought of sex as a “special gift” something you can’t “take back” so to speak so whoever you give it to you have to be 10000% certain that he is the right one and that you are ready to. That really hasn’t changed in the aspect that I want to make sure the person I am with cares and respects me and doesn’t just want to get into my pants.

M.) I was raised in a very conservative Christian environment, really until I was 17-18. I was raised to believe sexuality was highly frowned upon and I was to abstain from sex until marriage. When I got into high school I realized I had no desire to do that. And when I got to college I really started to realize my opposing views to how I was raised. I was so confined and sheltered growing up; I never had the opportunity to make that decision for myself. When I got to college I decided I was going to do what I wanted, as long as I was comfortable and respecting myself. After I lost my virginity I realized sex is just sex, and the person you’re with is what makes it special (or not special).

7.) What do you think of society’s ideas of sex? Do you feel like there is a double standard? What do you think your peer’s opinions of sex before marriage are?

B.) There is such a HUGE double standard when it comes to sex. If a guy is having sex, he’s seen as popular. If a girl is having sex, she’s seen as a whore. It’s been this way for years, and just as you get older does the double standard start to disappear.

C.) I think society (and media) have heavily influenced and devalued sex. It’s everywhere and anywhere and not a big deal. (Personal opinion here) I believe sex is incredibly more sacred than we make it to be. And obviously there is a double standard with men and women. All of my friends were having sex in high school and girls were immediately degraded based on the number of guys they slept with. But nobody seemed to be counting for the guys. Most of my friends didn’t understand my decision to save sex for marriage, but they respected it nonetheless.

D.) Most of my friends have had sex before marriage and they do not seem to bothered by from what I can tell but sex in the media is really over exaggerated and this make it to be this great thing but it is not this great think all the time there is so much emotion.

E.) I think that society has a huge double standard when it comes to sex. It is somehow still this taboo thing, but yet it pushes it in all forms of media. If you haven’t had sex you’re a prude, if you have, you’re a slut. It’s illogical. I think most of my female peers struggle with the inner struggle of knowing we have freedom to do what we want, but that we’re supposed to still be pure beings, “wifey material”.

F.) I think society can see it both ways and that it is really dependable on each person’s views. There is a double standard as far as men and women being treated differently for being promiscuous. Men can have sex with countless women and be known as a “stud” but women are called “sluts” and “whores” if they do the same thing. I think my peers generally have the same opinion as I do unless they were raised in a more traditional manner.

G.) There is a huge double standard because when men have sex it’s no big deal. When women have sex “they were asking for it” “they always have sex” “that’s what they are made for”. NO. Women are either sexualized wrongly through society or commercials or otherwise or looked down upon because she likes to have her human needs satisfied. Parents talk to their daughters differently about sex than their sons. It’s very different for women.

H.) I think our society is very casual and open about it. Yeah I think men are considered kings if they’ve screwed a ton of women, but women are considered hoes. It’s about half and half.

I.) Society mostly considers sex before marriage taboo. I think there is a double standard in the sense that women are often considered slutty if they have had sex, even if it is with just one person, but if they don’t have sex they’re considered a prude. There’s just no winning. I would say most of my friends are more open to sex before marriage. Most of my friends are sexually active and if they aren’t, they want to be (haha).

J.) The only thing I can say about society’s ideas of sex is the media representation of females. Many advertisements show females in sex appealing ways. Take Victoria’s Secret commercials and Hardee’s commercials (that one is the stupidest one I’ve ever seen). They all USE females to sell their products. Several movies are based around a woman’s sex appeal, like most superhero movies that depicts women in skin tight clothing, and the classic Transformers movie that works to emphasize Megan Fox’s large breasts- all movies catered to a male audience. This impacts the way males view females- in more objectifying ways- thus making them think that women are only for pleasure which in turn further perpetuates rape culture. I do not agree with this way that the media chose to represent sex, because it is very demeaning to women worldwide.

K.) It’s really taboo. College kids especially just think it’s a joke and a goal, not intimacy. For guys and girls, there is a double standard. Guy has sex a lot, cool. If a girl does, it’s bad. My peers as a whole probably believe as long as you’re safe why not.

L.) Society views sex as a selling point, a marketing tool. They flaunt it on TV and in movies to get ratings, they talk about it in music to get hit songs and they advertise it to make money and sell product. There definitely is a double standard when it comes to sex. If a guy hooks up with a girl he’s a bro and cool but if a girl does it she’s a slut, whore, easy, etc. Society shames the girl and praises the boy. Kinda along the same lines society thinks it’s bad for a mother to breastfeed her baby in public but it’s okay for models to have their boobs out in fashion ads. Like okayyyy sure that makes sense. Most of my friends are a mixed bag. Some saved themselves for their husbands and others had sex with their partners who are in committed, serious relationships. We all respect each other’s viewpoints and choices and don’t try to pressure one another or judge.

M.) I 1000% think there’s a double standard when it comes to sex in our society. I could get on a soapbox about this for hours, but in short, a man is praised for having sex with as many women as he pleases. In fact it’s encouraged by our society. Yet somehow people forget that it takes two to have sex, and women are judged and reprimanded for doing the exact same thing. Called terrible names and labeled things like “slut” while men are high fived for “getting laid”. I also think the way we portray women in the media has a lot to do with why we are treated like sexual objects, rather than normal people with sex drives just like everyone else. My peer’s opinions on sex before marriage are basically the same as mine, aside from a few who are waiting until marriage. But we all still respect each other, and I think if someone wants to wait until marriage, more power to them. I’m proud of my friends who have stuck to their convictions that way regardless of the temptations they’ve surely faced as they’ve grown up.

8.) Do you feel women have to hide if they have sex due to the negative stigma attached to it?  Do you think this makes it harder for them to feel confident about buying/using protection and birth control?

B.) I do believe women have to hide this. Because we are designed to have sex for pleasure, some women do want to brag about it, but the social consequences of this bragging end up hurting far more than they should.

D.) I think some women feel that they are not pretty enough for sex or they need to at a certain stage in life in order to have sex.

E.) I think that’s different in every situation. Some women are in committed relationships and it’s basically expected for them to have sex. They have to “to keep their man happy”. But if a woman isn’t in a committed relationship and just wants to have casual sexual partners, she’s automatically deemed loose. Either way, talking about sex for women can definitely be harder. And being confident about buying or using birth control can be just as hard.

F.) I do not think they should have to hide but I feel like some feel like they have to. I do think it makes it harder to feel comfortable about being protected but you should always look out for yourself before all else.

G.) Yes. And Yes. People judge women harshly no matter what. We can’t get away from it. If I knew I was going to be looked down upon or embarrassed when I went to go pick up some condoms or my birth control, I wouldn’t want to go then that would lead me to having un-safe sex and that’s not good.

H.) I think it depends on the woman. Look at Corrine for instance, she obviously doesn’t care haha.

I.) I think women do sometimes have to hide that they have sex. It depends on the group of people you surround yourself with obviously though because I personally feel that it is generally accepted by the people I know that I have sex and enjoy sex. For some women, I’m sure the pressure from family or religion does it make hard to them to use protection and birth control. That’s not even considering the fact that many women are simply uneducated about sex due to primarily religious restrictions on sex education.

J.) From my personal experience, I feel that the younger a person is, the more stigma there is surrounding sex, which yes, would make it challenging to independently buy birth control and forms of protection. As age increases, I think having sex becomes more normalized and less shameful.

K.) I personally don’t think so. There are women who just like sex. If they feel they’re in hiding, I do think that could make things harder for them.

L.) Yes because if they flaunt it then they are a whore or a slut. And no girl likes to be called that ever. I personally don’t think so because I mean come on it’s human nature to have sex. Almost everyone at some point will have it and use either a condom or be on birth control. Sure it might be awkward buying them at the store or talking to your doctor about it but I don’t think it makes it harder for them to feel confident.

M.) I think some women do, for sure. I think the opinion is changing a little, so it’s easier to talk about it. But especially in high school I think girls don’t want to be labeled a slut, so they try to keep it quiet from their peers, teachers, and especially their parents. Middle and high school is hard enough without a target on your back, and having sex as a girl is a sure fire way to get one. I do think it makes it more difficult, especially if their parents don’t know and wouldn’t approve. When you’re young, it’s hard to keep medical visits and prescriptions a secret. And again, if people find out you’re on it, they make assumptions. I think this continues on into college for some women, depending on their demographic.

9.) What advice would you give to another female that is struggling with the idea of having sex or that has had sex and feels guilt from it?

A.) Never feel guilty! Sex is such a natural, human experience. If someone tries to make you feel like any lesser of a human being just because you have participated in a sexual experience, don’t let them get to you.

B.) Just go for it! It may be a great thing; it may be a terrible thing. Life is about taking chances. If religion is holding you back, then just know that everybody sins and your sins are forgiven. But whatever you do, make sure you are safe when you do it! Use a condom (don’t double condom) and be on birth control for at least a month beforehand.

D.) Make sure it is consensual and make sure you are not being pressured and if you think you are going to have this overwhelming guilt from sex then think through before you jump in.

E.) I would say that it’s okay to regret having sex, or sexual partners, but your worth is NOT determined by you having sex or not. You are allowed to do what you want to experience your life as you see fit. Having sex is normal. Not having sex is normal. Don’t let antiquated religious or societal morals give you grief.

F.) I would tell them to give their minds a chance to process before jumping into things. If they are feeling these things then they are likely not ready to engage in sexual activity. Once they feel completely comfortable in themselves and the act that is when it is best to follow your urges.

G.) Be who you want to be, do not be afraid to say no, slow down, wait, change your mind, don’t force it. Talk openly with your partner or partners. Get tested. But only you can make the decisions that are right for you.

H.) Well for female one, I’d say wait, it’s worth it to just share those moments with one guy you truly love. For female two, don’t feel regret from the past, what’s done is done, if you’ve learned from it then it wasn’t necessarily a negative experience.

I.) I would say that it’s not as big of a deal as it seems like. People all around the world have sex and it is ok if you did too or if you want to. Sex is completely natural and normal. Make sure you do it with someone you can trust and make sure to respect yourself. Even if you feel guilty, what you did was perfectly natural and when you find someone really special they will make sex great for you. Hang in there!

J.) If you’re struggling with the idea of having sex, don’t have it. Don’t have it until you know you’re ready for it, until you have no questions regarding if it is the right thing to do. Don’t feel guilty about your behaviors. Sex is a human craving; almost everyone experiences a desire for it. Having sex is not a shameful experience, but a learning experience. Focus on what you learned from the experience and use it for future experiences. Chances are you learned a lot about yourself that you never knew before.

K.) Don’t feel guilty. If you’re in a relationship with someone and you love them, then sex is an intimate part of that relationship you two can share! That’s between you two and no one else. If you’re not in a relationship and still struggling, then just wait ‘til you are in a relationship. There is no rush. Take your time to find someone you’re comfortable enough to have sex with. And if that happens to be marriage, then that is amazing.

L.) If you’ve had sex and feel guilty about it don’t. It happened and as much as you maybe want to take it back and undo it you can’t. If you are worried about it because of your religion God is a merciful and forgiving God. He will forgive you and wash away your sins, that’s why he died on the cross for us. You aren’t a bad person, you aren’t going to hell. You are human and that is okay. If your friends are judging you then you need to find new friends. If your parents are upset with you just know that they still love you deep down and will come around. I think the big takeaway from this is that sex happens and it’s a natural part of life. Some will do it before marriage, maybe once or maybe a lot. Other’s will wait for their husband or wife and that’s okay too. I think we shouldn’t judge one another for it or look down, guilt trip or shame those who do or don’t have sex before or waiting till marriage.

M.) I would say, only do what you are comfortable with. There is nothing wrong with saying no, and there’s nothing wrong with saying yes, AS LONG AS YOU ARE SAFE AND RESPONSIBLE. Education is very important. Know what you’re doing (contraceptive wise), know your limits, know that it’s really what you want. Take time to consider this choice. If you’re really young, know that you don’t have to prove yourself to anyone. You do not have to have sex just because everyone else is doing it. Make sure it’s consensual, and don’t be afraid to say no. If you aren’t comfortable, stop. If you want to say no, SAY NO. And again I say, be safe and prepared. Now for girls who have had sex and feel guilt, it will be okay. I promise you. We all make mistakes and we all do things we may regret. Know that it does not devalue you or make you less of a person. Be strong and confident in yourself, and just because you did it once does not mean you are obligated to do it again. With that partner or any others, until you are ready. And to girls who feel guilty because they have a close relationship with God, HE WILL FORGIVE YOU. I may not practice religion anymore but what I do know is that God forgives. He loves you always. He knows you will make mistakes and if you feel guilty and that he is disappointed in you, that’s okay. I left the church for a lot of reasons, but never because I felt like God didn’t love and forgive me. Stay strong, pray about it, and don’t be so hard on yourself.

10.) Any other comments or opinions you’d like to share?

A.) As women in today’s society, we need to form a tighter bond between others who are struggling with everyday shame that’s placed upon them just because they have sex. Instead of labeling someone as ‘easy,’ we should let them know that they aren’t something to make an example of. Regardless of your beliefs, there are so many girls who are struggling with name-calling, labeling, and little/no support at home, when it comes to sex. I think we really need to evaluate the lack of sex education in schools; if we could make sex less of a scary topic of conversation and construct an inclusive and welcoming environment to have real life conversations about this sort of stuff, I really think teenage girls would benefit.

C.) Honestly, it’s always your own decision. Nobody should make it for you. My advice would be to guard your heart and mind. There’s so much emotional attachment that comes with sex (due to the nature of it). It shouldn’t be mindless or meaningless. Figure out what you believe and stick to it

G.) People are going to have sex if they want to have sex. If you do it then be smart and protected and have it mean something. Don’t be the stereotype.

H.) Nope! Hope this helped 🙂

J.) Sex isn’t a shameful act! We are biologically told to frequently have sex!

K.) What you do in your own time and/or with someone else is you’re business. Not the worlds. If you just like sex, have fun, but be safe. If you want to wait, then wait with confidence knowing you waited for someone, whether marriage or a long term relationship, that adores you and wants to share that intimacy!

What are your thoughts on sex, the stigma with it and society? If you would like to join the conversation use #AskLizzieT21 to ask your questions or give me your input! (Accounts have to be non-private for me to see your hashtags)

 

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*Disclaimer: The views of the women in this article are not being pushed on any of our readers and may not apply to the women population as a whole. The views may also differ from the views of the Tribe 21 team. All viewpoints, opinions, and experiences were volunteered. The women’s/men’s names in this article are anonymous to protect the privacy of the women/men. Tribe 21 is not promoting or opposing the actions of having sex. If you choose to engage in the experience, you are doing so of your own accord and we ask that you always have consent and use protection.

When I was thinking of what kind of article to write this month, I thought of things young women would want to know but would be afraid to ask someone. In this day and age anyone under the age of 35 is called a “millennial” and that has a bad stigma to me. Then I began to think of different things that have a bad “stigma” attached to it that may or may not actually be “bad” depending on what someone believes.  The purpose of this topic is to show different viewpoints of sex before marriage and give different advice and opinions to our readers who may be struggling or wondering about this sensitive subject. Me being the author, I am remaining neutral and this does not reflect my views one way or the other.

Okay, first before we go on I have to hit you with the education and the two keywords that go with this article: Consent and Protection.

Consent. Permission, from all people involved, for anything to happen is very, very, very important. Consent is key to get from both people no matter what. If you chose to have any kind of sexual experience you have to make sure that both people involved are not impaired by any kind of substance and are 100% willing to proceed with the experience. If you are at all uncomfortable you do not have to go on. Sex is a mature thing, should not be forced, and needs to be approached in a mature way.

Protection. Protect yourself no matter what. You only have one body and one life so protect yourself from unexpected and unwanted diseases, infections, and surprise babies you’re not prepared for. Protection can be in multiple forms such as condoms (98% effective from unwanted pregnancies, STD’s and STI’s), birth control (99.9% effective when used correctly for unwanted pregnancies, but 0% effective at preventing STD’s or STI’s when used alone). These types of protection can be found at little to no cost in stores, as a prescription, or at a health service office on college campuses. Also don’t be afraid to get tested not only for your own health but for anyone else’s as well.

Being a young woman in this constantly changing world is hard. There are standards that are put on us like how we should act, how we should present ourselves, how we should be home makers; there are laws on how to treat our bodies and criticism that is placed on us if we’re not thin enough, outgoing enough, wear makeup, have short hair, love who we want to love…whatever else you can think of. I’m here to say that no matter who you are, what you look like, what you decide to do in life, if it makes you happy-do it ( no pun intended with the theme of this article). I wrote another article for Tribe 21 about loving yourself. If you begin to love and respect yourself for what you were born with you would be amazed on how you view things as you go forward. This being said, loving yourself also comes along with knowing what is or isn’t right for you. In this instance, we’re talking about sex.

Do not feel ashamed for things that you have done. If you’re struggling with this, you can’t change the past but you can learn from it. Experiences, mistakes, and regrets are all the learning curves of life and everyone makes them. Nobody is perfect. Do not let anyone look down on you for things you have learned from and grew as a person because of it.

Don’t be ashamed for still being a virgin. If you are a religious woman (or man) and you value that sex should be between a husband and wife then you hold true to that. Stand firm in your beliefs and don’t let anyone devalue them. A man worth having is a man worth waiting for. Also if you’re a virgin because of any other circumstance or belief, that’s okay too. Don’t let the thoughts of “everyone is doing it” get into your head because let me tell you- not everyone is doing it. Your day will arrive where you find the person of your dreams that you can share intimacy with. Don’t give in to the pressure of society or from your peers. Don’t be afraid to say “no” or “let’s wait” or ask yourself “is this truly right for us…for me?”

If you and your partner decide to have sex before marriage and it is consensual and protected then that’s okay too. A good friend once was giving me advice on relationships and she said some people get married within six months, some get married within six years, they just have to find out what is right for them. Just because something is right for your friend, doesn’t mean it is right for you. Each person is different, each relationship is different. The only way to really know what you want to do or how comfortable you are (or are not) with something is to be real and be open. Communication is key in any relationship but even more when taking the next step.

Bottom line you are in charge of your own morals, beliefs, actions, reactions, and bodies. Clearly here, there are multiple options of what does and doesn’t work for these women. What you decide to do with your body and your relationships is your business and your decision. Whatever you decide to do- approach it with an open, mature, and cautious mind. The world is a hard place but ultimately you are responsible for you.

If you are thinking about having sex, you need to talk openly with your partner about it. Talk about are you emotionally ready? Are you physically ready? How are you going to take precautions? Should your parents know? Sex is a very sensitive subject but I can’t make that decision for you, I can only give you the education about it and opinions of other young women possibly in your shoes.

If you would like to join the conversation use #AskLizzieT21 to ask your questions or give me your input! (Accounts have to be non-private for me to see your hashtags)

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Hi everyone! Katie and Samantha here. Today starts the week of posts that is different than anything we’ve ever done. We are a little nervous to launch it but we are also excited too. We started Tribe 21 as a place to encourage and inspire but also as a place to educate and bring awareness to various issues. It’s a space where we try to keep it upbeat and fun with posts but also make sure we are tacking topics that maybe aren’t the prettiest to talk about but that need to be talked about. Keeping things real, relatable and transparent is some of the most important things to us.

So with all of this being said starting tomorrow we are going to be publishing various articles about sex. Yup we said it sex. We know this a kind of taboo subject but we want to make sure the not so pretty topics are still being talked about and helping our readers, followers or those just stumbling upon our site. We want to help you guys be more educated and aware as well as be able to ask questions that you have or maybe a little embarrassed to ask your friends or others. You can ask us your questions through our #AskTribe21 tag on Twitter or you can send an email (tribe21inbox@gmail.com or through our Contact page

We are nervous and excited to launch them and hope that you guys like them too. As always we want to hear what you think so feel free to leave us a comment below or on the posts or send us an email or reach out through social media. 

Thank you guys for all of your support of Tribe 21. You guys are the reason why it was founded and why we do what we do! 

 

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We asked on Twitter what you guys wanted next from Tribe 21: A Youtube channel, printables or an app and you guys voted for the Youtube channel and printables. It’s going to take us a little longer to get the Youtube channel up but in the meantime we are going to be bringing you guys some fun printables! 

First up is a calendar for February! Can you believe we are already in February?! 

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What comes to mind when you think of the color pink?

Maybe you identify pink with the color of the dress you wore yesterday, or the blush you put on as you prepared for your day. Maybe you think of the color of a newborn baby’s cheeks as it screams breath into its lungs. Or pink as in the color of the sunrise and sunset, flitting in with blues and oranges and reds; signaling the end of one day and the beginning of another.

And maybe, just maybe, pink is the color you think of that was and is donned by men, women, and children to show unity, and willingness for social change.  

On January 21, 2017, somewhere close to “5 million…worldwide” (WomensMarch.com) donned the color pink and marched to show unity across the globe. The marchers used pink as their color to show they were standing together to ask for equal rights and consideration of minorities and rights for women.

Now if you were slightly confused at what was being marched for, the organization that began the Women’s March is a group of people who are passionate about making sure voices will be heard in order for minorities and individual’s rights to be recognized across a national stage. As stated on their webpage, Women’s March.com says, “We join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore.” (Mission)

The goal of the March was to bring together a great deal of people to show solidarity in asking for respect for all people, while following the five guiding principles: “Nonviolence, Community, Attack Forces of Evil, Not People, Accept Suffering, Avoid Internal Violence,” (WomensMarch.com).

The March on Washington D.C. as well as Denver, Minneapolis, Seattle, Phoenix, and hundreds of other locations brought together a huge amount of people wearing pink who were full of passion and hope. The large turnout surprised many, thus making the rights of women a pivotal focus.

This overall peaceful protest surprised the world and showed how many people are ready for change. Many of the people who marched represented the LGBTQ community, were from various religious backgrounds, or were women, children, and men who held signs up asking the government for a realization of rights. Many of the marchers, over the course of the years, talked about how they had felt the sting of insult and the frustration of feeling like they have had no voice to vocalize their fears, maintain their own human privileges and feel a lack of acceptance for who they are as a person, because of the lack of acceptance of individual beliefs.

The movement showed more than just solidarity. It showed a deep passion that people are ready for change. People are ready to be treated well.  

So now that the March is over, what is something you can do to help?

Well, the Women’s March is daily updating a list of things you can do to request help from your Senators and Government. This list is called, 10 Actions in 100 Days, and offers ways for individuals to make a difference. On the WomensMarch.com page, you can also find a list of additional resources for staying involved.

Even if you choose not to participate in these actions, the idea of creating an equal environment for all goes well beyond politics. This reaches beyond the executive buildings of legislature and starts a bit closer to home. It starts with reaching out a hand to someone, having conversations with people and encouraging others to stand up for what is right and what they believe in.

The color pink stretched far and wide on January 21. On that day, it was the color of fighters, believers, peace-keepers, and passionate people who believed in change. The color of pink represents the unity that many people felt, and still feel. It was the color to signal to the people who have felt left out that no individual is alone.

 

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Thank you to Rachel for this guest post!

Living in your twenties is a busy time of life juggling college, work, traveling, living on your own for the first time, engagements, and so on. But how do you successfully get through your twenties when a chronic illness diagnosis is thrown into the picture?

I was only fourteen when I was diagnosed with Polyarticular Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA). Despite this diagnosis, I still manage to live life to the fullest simply by making some changes in my lifestyle. I’ve faced more than enough obstacles along the way and still do to this day, but the most difficult part of living with a chronic illness is keeping up with other people my age in their 20s. I made a decision that I didn’t want JRA to control my life, so instead I found new ways of looking at this diagnosis which allowed me to still accomplish my dreams and aspirations.

The first and one of the biggest lifestyle changes I made is accepting myself as I am. When I accepted my diagnosis, I felt limitless. I felt more free to continue working towards my goals. Without this mentality, I wouldn’t have been able to move forward. I’m not perfect at it, but I constantly do my best to look at life with a glass half-full attitude. I look at all the positive things I have been given with this diagnosis: I gained a numerous amount of friends through the arthritis foundation; it has led me to pursue a degree in nursing and I get to participate in fundraisers with the Arthritis Foundation. My absolute favorite part of being diagnosed with JRA was getting to experience being a camp counselor at a camp for other kids who are impacted by a rheumatic disease. Secondly, I give my body a rest when needed. It may take me longer to do things, but I’m constantly moving forward and that’s all that matters. Lastly, I find a way to laugh and smile every single day by surrounding myself only with those who support me and want the best for me.

JRA has shaped me into who I am today, and I couldn’t be happier where it lead me in life. I strongly believe it can do the same for others fighting a chronic illness. I turned this diagnosis into a positive experience instead of looking at all the negatives. After all, stressing about the disease itself can trigger flare ups.

To my fellow friends out there who are fighting a chronic illness – you are so much more than your illness. Don’t walk around feeling defeated or defined by your illness because it will slow you down from reaching your goals. Find a support system in your life, and focus on your abilities and the gifts that the experience of chronic illness brings rather than the challenges. Face your fears and worries so they don’t debilitate you from enjoying life. Most importantly– listen to your body, and be kind to yourself.

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