What Sex and Sexism Did to Me {And What It Can Do to You}

This is a tough subject. For anyone. But for me… it’s one I don’t like to revisit. But after all I’ve seen and read recently, I am going out on a limb here and saying:

Ladies, it’s time we tell others younger than us exactly what some “freedoms” get a person.

What Sex and Sexism Does to Women ~ 40YearWanderer

In the 70s, when I was growing up, sex was a popular topic. That did not change, ever. By my teen years in the 80s, not only was I reading teen magazines full of innuendo, I was reading magazines like Glamour, Mademoiselle, and all those kinds. You know… the ones that have forever told women they can have it ALL successfully, but as a woman you should only really want your career and control over your men. And they always include some sort of top 10 sex tips for this, that, and especially that other.

It’s those “this, that, and the others” that kept me from the “here and now”. We lived for what “could be” like it “already is” instead of living for what was best for our heart and soul.

So sex was the answer? It’s what got ~ and kept ~ love? Really? And in the process of teaching (Sex)Life 101 these magazines could also tell us what to wear, how to talk, where to go, and what we needed for a “perfect” life. Like most other girls my age, I thought I could have it all. After all, that was what we were being told from every direction.

What I really got was … nearly dead.

That’s a dangerous game my generation was taught to play. Feminism wasn’t about being a woman. At least not the way they redefined it in the 60’s and 70’s. And sexual freedom wasn’t about safety and choice, because we put ourselves in many unsafe situations doing things that went way beyond our choice. I believed what the “experts” shared.

And because of that… I didn’t learn to truly love. Not myself and certainly not others. Sex did exactly the opposite of what those “experts” claimed. It made me constantly conscious of doing the right thing. Saying the right thing. Being the right “thing”.

Inside, deep within, I knew something was wrong. Those articles were supposed to teach us to be independent women who had control.

Those articles were all hype.

Got hype? It sells.

Give people something to cling to and they will come back for more.

Here’s what I really got:

Low ~ LOW ~ self esteem.
Lifeless/Loveless relationships.
Jacked up sense of self.
Inflated confidence.
Rock bottom thuds.
Deeper depression on top of my clinical depression disease.

The more I chased after what the world told me I needed, the further I got from the chance I’d ever know true love. I sure wish I had known better. To wait. To love the right way. If only I hadn’t wandered in THAT desert so long.

Why does God tell us to wait until we are married? There are several reasons, most of which are physical, but one very important reason surely is because He knows what we will suffer. Mentally. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually.

It hurts marriages. It hurts self. It hurts.

So buyer beware! Those magazines are worse now because they’ve learned subtleties. TV and movies and music – all written to “empower women”. This “women empowerment” movement, with its sexual focus, has only gotten worse. The truth is blatantly obvious… to those who are willing to examine it and the impact it has over the long haul. All it really does is kill the spirit and take us down to a place we were trying to run from all along. Loneliness and despair.

Ladies, love God first. And love yourselves enough to love others. All else great will follow.

I have experienced it because God renewed my life in this very area. And my husband… my only husband of over 20 years has been a great blessing to me. I am thankful that heavy burden, that baggage which I carried into the marriage, has long since been overcome by grace, forgiveness, and love.

Live Blessed,


14 thoughts on “What Sex and Sexism Did to Me {And What It Can Do to You}

  1. blmaluso says:

    Your words are so true. We live in a society that touts the “freedom, empowerment and self expression” of immodesty and promiscuity, but “they” don’t ever connect the dots and acknowledge the self hatred, depression, unhappiness, and disease that comes with it. Just take a look at Hollywood and you will see the truth of where that type of life ends up.

    God created us to be beautiful images of Himself. Satan, the great deceiver, tricks us through pride and momentary pleasures, and we allow him to step in and wipe out the beauty in our souls.

    All it takes to get that beauty back is to acknowledge our sins, ask forgiveness,repent and invite Jesus into our hearts. Then we find TRUE JOY and HAPPINESS. “Pleasure” is a counterfeit form of happiness. And it is so sad that so many people do not understand the difference.

    God bless you! Enjoy this beautiful day!


  2. lessonsbyheart says:

    Got room on your soapbox? I could add plenty to what you’ve said here. ;)

    Thanks for telling it straight. From your fingers to the eyes of many who haven’t made these mistakes, that is my prayer.

    Young lady, don’t learn these truths by experience. Be wise and let us fools tell you the results of believing the lie that sex gets/keeps love. It’s not true, and will follow you into your marriage (if you’re fortunate enough to only have one).



    • Heather Mertens @ 40YearWanderer says:

      Oh friend… Yes! If only the young ladies saw themselves as “ladies”. Wouldn’t it help if they learned to value themselves? I didn’t and that only made it all worse. Sex is not a value but instead a gift to our spouse.
      Thanks for adding the awesome value you did to this. I’ll pray for the generations with you.


  3. S. Keith Barnes says:

    Great article Heather. I grew up in that “I’m Ok your Ok” era when even church goers had a copy of “Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex.” Those days of sexual revolution and the “Great LBJ Society,” hurled us into a moral decline, catapulting Cosmo and Glamor to become the wisdom of the day. We are still on the downslide. Many of us that God called from the darkness of those days remember when nobody cursed in mixed company. Wow.
    Those mags, and other media outlets catering to materialism and secular thought did a thorough job stealing our young minds. Thank God for restoration.


    • Heather Mertens @ 40YearWanderer says:

      Oh yes! Without restoration is be a jumbled mess. And add to that an enlightenment to see it as it is. And to see the Truth. I certainly am not perfect and am still learning what is really good and just simply justified and what is a true “no-no” in many areas of life. So I thank God for His patience. Just glad to get it right in time to have the great marriage I do.
      Thanks for the engaging conversation Keith!


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