Having just watched Oprah’s Life Class On OWN, titled Daddy-less Daughters, I feel that we need to start re-thinking the way we perceive women who are judged as promiscuous. One of the male experts who contributed in the discussion about the effects of girls growing up not having their fathers in their lives, Dr. Steve Perry, affirmed that a lot of young women express their need for love and affection that is not $exual, surprisingly by having $exual relations with many boys and men.
When conversations about young women, or women in general, being promiscuous take place, there is often a lot of shaming, judging and criticizing that is directed at them. While it is true that a young woman can and should exercise some self discipline with regards to who she shares her body with, we should consider that maybe the urge to be touched and held is often stronger than their self discipline.
Perry so poignantly pointed out that when we hear about young people, specifically young women self mutilating, we often get a visual of a young woman cutting herself but promiscuity is the more common way young girls who have grown up fatherless self mutilate.
Another revelation that came up during the life class was that many young women who “sleep around” will often confess that they actually don’t particularly like the boys or men that they have $exual relationships with but they get involved with them because they give them attention or tell them that they love them.
In the case of a young woman who has had a loving and healthy relationship with her father, being given attention and hearing “I love you” are a common occurrence so it is often not something that they crave. Unfortunately, in the case of a fatherless young woman, when a man who does not necessarily have good intentions says “I love you”, it is often all he has to say to get access to her body.
The way to help young women who may be vulnerable to this pattern of behavior is to educate them about why they have those urges and needs and teach them that there are ways for them to get their needs met in a more healthy and appropriate way, such as in a healthy committed relationship.
The next time you think about judging, criticizing or shaming a young woman because you think she is promiscuous, consider that maybe she is just a father-less girl who is still searching for the love of a father.
Nomalanga helps Black women thrive in their lives and careers. She is a Social Commentator, an Editor at Your Black World , a former College Professor and the reigning Mrs Botswana. Visit Nomalanga’s Facebook page or Follow her on Twitter