I loved this — and you totally painted the picture with your words. I don’t think men understand what you’ve described about always being looked at and assessed and how that skews a young woman’s ability to know herself through her own lens, rather than the lens of the lookers. Maybe the ones who read this will have a little better sense now.

I actually had that experience when we started going to swinger’s clubs, somewhat ironically. Sure, there was looking going on, but it didn’t have that same kind of predatory assessment taking place, and I knew that I could wear the most provocative and bare outfit and no-one would take that to mean anything in particular. It gave me a chance to experiment with existing as a sexual being primarily for myself for the first time. It was very safe there, and the juxtaposition of those two was very healing.

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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