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Just because I write about sex doesn’t mean you can send me dirty messages

I have been a love and sex editor for almost a decade now. I also happen to be a yoga teacher who posts photos of yoga poses frequently in order to gather like-minded people on social media. This means that every day, I curate content about sex, write about sex, and think about stories involving sex. Every day I also do yoga in appropriate yoga clothing.

Neither of those facts means I want to have sex with random Internet pervs.

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Ever since the dawn of the Internet, there have been women writing and men harrassing them. It happens every day. If it’s not rape threats, it’s misogynistic cries to “get back in the kitchen” or mean names. This month, I am doing a yoga challenge on Instagram. Yesterday morning I woke up to several sexually explicit comments about my “flexibility” and other unwelcome commentary.

Guess what? I am not posting photos for your sexual pleasure. I am doing so to get tips on yoga, meet other likeminded yogis, and grow my teaching business. But as a woman on the Internet, somehow all that is misinterpreted to mean I am somehow “open for business.” Worse, some of my friends might even suggest I am “asking for it.”

Why? Because I post photos of myself. Because nothing in this world is so shocking or offensive as a woman who openly embraces sexuality and doesn’t totally despise herself.

Well here’s what: I don’t. But my embracing my sexuality and non-hatred of my body is not an invitation. I am not asking for your nasty comments. I am not asking for your thoughts at all. And unless they are about yoga or your own marriage, keep it to yourself.

I am proud of what I do, both in terms of spreading love of yoga and love of sexuality. As a culture, we are all too easily shamed into secrecy about what happens in our bedrooms. The world would be a much better place if we were all more open about sex. Maybe more women would be having regular orgasms. None of this means I am looking for “strange” (guys who are not my hubby). My openness about sexuality has no bearing on my interest in banging randos. Sadly, I know that for every person who would defend me (and you know who you are), there are at least a dozen other men (and women, too) who would say I am asking for it. By putting myself out there. By daring to write sexually explicit content.

The thing is, I am married. I am faithful to my husband and in love with my husband and am not interested in any other men but my husband. But I shouldn’t have to mention that. Because whether or not I am married or single or taken or polyamorous, I am almost definitely not interested in BigCock321, a “man” with no photo who almost definitely wanks off in a dingy basement in North Dakota. Of course, he knows I am not interested. He just wants to make it clear to me — and to all women — that he is the boss. We are just eye candy for him and objectifying us makes it easier to discount our opinions or other contributions to the world or to intellectual conversation.

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I don’t think I am so “hot” that men come out of the woodwork to hit on me. I am no different than any other woman who dares to put themselves out there. We all get harrassed. We all get called fat and ugly and get rape threats. We all get men private messaging us and asking us personal questions and sending photos of their penises. We are all so used to it now, we don’t even bother to complain.

But I am complaining now.

We aren’t asking for it. We don’t want it. Our choice to write about sex or post photos of ourselves or our kids is not “asking” for your commentary on our bodies or marriages or sexuality. Shocking as it might seem, we don’t want it. We aren’t interested. And I am no longer afraid to tell you exactly what you can do with your “BigCock123.”

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