In a Human Sexuality class that I took in college we studied the topic of public displays of affection, or PDA. We determined to shelf what Western Civilization deems as normal, holding hands, a kiss. We discussed the topic of making out, grabbing each other’s butts or breasts, or grinding on the dance floor. What did it say about a person? How did it make those around them feel? What was the meaning behind it?
The discussion went along the vein of it makes others feel uncomfortable when a couple is groping at each other. Until that discussion I had never really thought about what it meant. Yes, it can be uncomfortable and very inappropriate to view someone’s private life on display in public but was there a meaning there? Then the professor brought up a thought process that I had never considered. He proposed that the groping of each other in public is actually not for the sexual pleasure of the couple but rather a branding or peeing on territory. In other words, grabbing your girlfriend’s butt in public let’s everyone know he/she is your property. Grabbing her breast in public shows everyone what little respect you have for her and what little respect she has for herself. She becomes a willing object rather than a human being. Interestingly, along comes a study in 2010 by the University of Virginia called the National Marriage Project, it showed that couples who engage in PDA are 1.5 times more likely to end in divorce. Why? PDA is more about performing and looking good for others than putting the needs of your partner first.
Then there was the topic of hickeys. Sucking on someone’s neck until you bruise them. Interestingly if you bruise a woman or a child you could be charged with abuse, but bruising a neck has no such connotation until you think about it. What does it speak to the world about you? It plainly says that you are intimate. For a married couple that should be a given, for a single couple that says what? It also brands you as property. One male classmate actually shared that he gave hickeys as a sign to his friends that he had gotten somewhere with that girl. Interestingly, the guys in our class thought it was trashy for a women to have hickeys, but didn’t mind giving them. So they were saying in essence that they would devalue a woman if she devalued herself. I will never forget that discussion.
Ladies, we aren’t cows that need to be branded as someone’s property. I don’t need to make out in public with my husband to prove our intimacy with each other. Time will prove if what we have between us is real or fake.
Have you ever thought about what it says to the world when you show up to work, school, church, or a friend’s house with a hickey? It means you are someone’s object. I am not some thing. I am someone. I am a daughter of a King. I am not one who considers that a small insignificant matter. I am not defined by any man’s perspective of me. I’ve been defined already. I don’t know, I think we’ve fought too hard to get to where we are to cheapen ourselves and let the world know that we don’t consider ourselves much.