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What is a prude?


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How would you define being a prude?

 

I know people who act as if anyone whose standards (for entertainment, morality, etc) are higher than theirs are prudish.

 

Can you have high standards without being prudish?

 

What’s the difference?

 

Discuss prudism.

 

 

 

 

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So one can say “that’s wrong or tacky or in bad taste†without personal offense. And you’re not a prude.

 

Is the difference that prudes take things more personally?

 

Or is it that prudes take pride in being “above thatâ€.

 

 

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Everybody is offended by something, and even the most libertine (non-broken) people have lines they won't cross. But I think if you're super squeamish about things that most people find normal, then that would be prudish. Some people find any discussion of sex to be super uncomfortable, for example, or cannot speak of bodily waste without using something that is either super clinical or a euphemism. I would call that prudishness.

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Being a prude is being easily morally offended on a variety of topics.

 

Yes!

I would add...Looking down on others that don't hold to your high standards rather than realizing that on some things, "standards" are a result of our upbringing (family, religion, culture) and are not universal.

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I think it has a connotation of being "holier than thou."  The connotation is that the prude is looking down on everyone else. 

 

ETA:  In the next post, I posted the dictionary definition, but I think it's the connotation that has more weight than just the dictionary definition.   You can be easily shocked by something and not looking down on everyone.  To me, a prude is easily shocked (for real or for pretend) and also is very judgy about it.

Edited by Garga
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Sometimes, don't you think, the person who thinks others are prudes are the ones who are being judgmental and unfair? Think about this. If we know someone who is considered to be a prude, and that person decides to drink a beer or do something they usually wouldn't do, you can bet those around that person are going to get a huge kick out of that. "Oh, look! Susie is drinking a beer!" They are going to enjoy seeing someone "come down a notch". And they will cheer them on and be more accepting. But if it's the other way around, no one wants to be around the "prude" and the prude is condemned and ostracized. I just find this very, very interesting. A good friend of mine once told me that it's easy to be "bad" and bring others down with you, but it's more difficult to be "good" and bring others up.

 

I don't consider myself to be a prude, but I just don't like some of the things that others like. I'm very different from others in a lot of ways, but I do have an open mind try really hard not to judge others. However, others may see me as a goody two shoes, but that's not really who I am. I learned a long time ago to just be who I am and to not give a rat's behind if that wasn't good enough for someone else. This has been hammered deep into both my children's heads, too. Do what you want. Life is too short too worry whether someone thinks there is something wrong with you just because you don't like this or that or you don't do this or that.

 

But I think Arctic Mama defined it pretty well....imo, it's the extreme....being EASILY offended on many topics and having that attitude that if you don't agree with my way (high moral standards) of thinking, you are going to hell.

 

People were just raised in so many different ways and some things are just deeply ingrained into them. It's not always a bad thing; they may just be different. But it goes both ways...people just have a hard time with "different", and there you go....someone is labeled.

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Huh. I've never considered prudes to have an air of superiority. I've always thought of prudes as being somewhat naive, rather than condescending. I've jokingly referred to myself as a prude when something like 50 Shades of Grey comes up in conversation and I'm the only one who hasn't read it. 

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I don't recall calling anyone else a prude, but I have referred to myself as a prude in certain seasons of life.

 

When I say prude, I mean I would say "no" when most people would say "yes," and my reasons might be (a) ick factor / health consciousness i.e. I just didn't want to, (b) fear of going too far, © religious considerations, or (d) to uphold an image I wanted people to have of me.

 

I am not sure whether I just never notice other "prudes" or I consider "prudishness" an admirable trait.

Edited by SKL
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I don't think of being a prude as the person feeling they are morally superior.

 

I think of it as being naive or someone who pretends/acts naive because the topic of sex (including making out/nudity and kissing) makes them uncomfortable (compared to same age peers).

 

An adult who purposefully keeps themself naive about topics of sex..,prude.

A young teen who doesn't know much about sex....naive.

 

An adult who turns their head away to avoid watching a normal kiss in a movie....prude.

A 7yo who squeals 'ewww, they are kissing.."... being a 7yo.

 

 

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Okay....here's an example. I used to work at a data operations center at a bank. We had three check filing machines for commercial accounts. We sat three to a machine every afternoon for a few hours to file the checks. So there was a lot of time spent sitting next to other young women. The girls would talk dirty sometimes, and, at first, it was benign and funny. But as time passed, they got raunchier and raunchier. They started going into great detail about what went on at home in the bedroom. It made me uncomfortable. I didn't want to sit there and talk about private things like that. So I'm sure they thought of me as a prude. I thought they were immature, gossipy, and mean. So, was I being a prude? Were they being mean and unfair? If I would have started talking as they did, they would have loved that. It would have amused them. BUT there is no way that I could have ever influenced them to contain themselves and conduct themselves with a bit more tact just because I sat there and didn't participate.

 

Okay, so talking about things you do with your husband in the bedroom in very great detail...is okay, culturally acceptable, and cool? If you don't do that, there is something wrong with YOU? I say if you want to talk like that, fine. But, if you don't do that, exactly how is it right that it's okay to make that person feel there is something weird and "off" about them?

 

I'm sure they considered me to be a prude. But I just didn't want to talk dirty at the filing machine because it didn't feel right to me. ... I dunno.

 

 

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"Prude" is what I was called in 7th grade, assumedly because I didn't have any experience with boys and was not actively seeking it. This makes me laugh now. I was still 4 years from puberty at that point and had zero male friends, let alone a boyfriend! Somehow I think prudishness should correlate with opportunity. 

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I think part of what makes someone a prude is tone. I can change the subject or be silent if the conversation makes me uncomfortable. I don't have to say, ewwwwwwww!

 

But don't some topics of conversation call for an ewww? Just so that it does not become acceptable? Silence can sometimes make people think you are consenting to what is being discussed.

 

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But don't some topics of conversation call for an ewww? Just so that it does not become acceptable? Silence can sometimes make people think you are consenting to what is being discussed.

I guess that depends on the people involved. If it is someone I am close to and spend a lot of time with.....and my silence doesn't clue them in to the fact I don't want to discuss sexual details then yeah maybe a TMI comment.

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I’ve never seen prude used in any format other than ridiculing insult.

 

For example, if I don’t let every nurse dr intern lackey due a dialation check when delivering at the hospital - they would laugh and say they would have thought all these kids would have gotten me over being prude.

 

Or if I’m not okay watching programs like Game of Thrones, oh I must be prude with a snicker of derision.

 

Or if a college guy isn’t interested in getting laid, there’s something wrong with him, he’s a prude.

 

To me prude implies an unreasonable or immature or unhealthy attitude about having sex or exposing our bodies. But usually when I hear it, that’s not what it’s actually refering to.

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From Wiki:

 

prude (Old French prude meaning honourable woman)[1] is a person who is described as (or would describe themselves as) being concerned with decorum or propriety, significantly in excess of normal prevailing standards. They may be perceived as being more uncomfortable than most with sexuality or nudity.

The name is generally considered a pejorative term to suggest fear and contempt of human sexuality and excessive, unusual modesty stemming from such a negative view of sexuality. It is hence unflattering, often used as an insult. A person with such attitude to sexuality may have reservations about nudity, public display of sexual affection, discussion of sexual matters, participating in romantic or sexual activity—reservations that exceed normal prevailing community standards. Exhibiting fear and discomfort with sexuality may be associated with advocating censorship of sexuality or nudity in the media, avoiding or condemning any public display of affection.

The degree of prudery understood as fearful contempt of human sexuality can vary among different cultures and traditions.

Another use of "prude" is as a label and an insult directed to anybody having reservations resulting from standards of modesty or even any moral standards and beliefs or which are not shared by the offender. Thus one can be labelled a "prude" for expressing reservations about drinking alcohol, or consuming other drugs, or participating in mischief. When prudishness or prudish attitudes are viewed as part of a wider process it is sometimes called prudification.[2]

In this meaning, the term generally has a relative sense. For example, one may be viewed as having relatively lax standards regarding sexuality and drug usage compared to the overall population in which one resides, but compared to a smaller, specific subculture with more permissive standards, one may appear to be unduly strict and thus be labelled a prude when one refuses to participate in more liberal seeming behaviors.

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I think prudes exist. Like, surely most people would agree that anyone offended by two married adults sharing a peck on the lips out at a romantic restaurant is a bit of a prude. Thinking that romantic, sexual, affectionate, or body behavior behavior that's wide accepted in society is actually lewd kinda makes you a prude. Or, if you think women showing their calves in public is lewd, just own it. You're a prude. In my examples, I'm guessing that 95%+ of Americans would think that the quick kiss between married people at a romantic restaurant and that women wearing knee length shorts is a-okay. The tricky part is when it's less clear behavior. What makes something wide acceptable? And how do you know if it really is or isn't and isn't just based on anecdote?

 

That said, it's not necessarily a nice word.

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IME, a prude is what you call someone when you are feeling judged.

 

If

 

a pervert is someone more kinky than you are

 

then

 

a prude is someone less kinky than you are.

 

:leaving:

 

 

:lol:

 

 

Both of these working definitions have an implication that "prudery" is relative to other people's lines, which is how I myself think of "prude."

 

I also think of the term as being around sexual lines, specifically.  

 

Person A might think it's OK to do rolling-stops at an empty crossroad where Person B comes to a full stop; or Person B might think it's OK to nip a few office supplies where Person A thinks not; or Person A might have a glass of wine with dinner while Person B does not; but I don't associate the word "prude" to define any of those types of differences in lines.  Just sexual ones.

 

I can't remember the last time I actually used, or even heard IRL, the term.  Middle school, maybe.

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I think prudes exist. Like, surely most people would agree that anyone offended by two married adults sharing a peck on the lips out at a romantic restaurant is a bit of a prude. Thinking that romantic, sexual, affectionate, or body behavior behavior that's wide accepted in society is actually lewd kinda makes you a prude. Or, if you think women showing their calves in public is lewd, just own it. You're a prude. In my examples, I'm guessing that 95%+ of Americans would think that the quick kiss between married people at a romantic restaurant and that women wearing knee length shorts is a-okay. The tricky part is when it's less clear behavior. What makes something wide acceptable? And how do you know if it really is or isn't and isn't just based on anecdote?

 

That said, it's not necessarily a nice word.

 

I don't. I think they are people who have stricter standards of PDA or dress than I do. I don't feel any need to try and shame them about their standards.

 

Now if they are trying to impose their standards on everybody else through the civil authorities, THAT I have a problem with.

 

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I don't. I think they are people who have stricter standards of PDA or dress than I do. I don't feel any need to try and shame them about their standards.

 

Now if they are trying to impose their standards on everybody else through the civil authorities, THAT I have a problem with.

 

 

That's backwards to me...I think of a prude as someone who is trying to shame me because my standards actually allow wearing bike pants to the grocery (particularly when I just got off the bike!) and breast-feeding my child in public.

 

But I can see from the comments here that the word seems to be used a wide variety of ways.  From either side it's not nice to shame people or try to make them feel bad because their standards and choices are different.

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IME, a prude is what you call someone when you are feeling judged.

Yes. It is a bit like calling a woman frigid. It really means that a person won't support you in doing whatever it is you want to do so you get defensive and blame it on them.

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Yes. It is a bit like calling a woman frigid. It really means that a person won't support you in doing whatever it is you want to do so you get defensive and blame it on them.

 

 

Oh that is interesting.  A tool to wear down a woman's withheld consent, in essence.

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Okay....here's an example. I used to work at a data operations center at a bank. We had three check filing machines for commercial accounts. We sat three to a machine every afternoon for a few hours to file the checks. So there was a lot of time spent sitting next to other young women. The girls would talk dirty sometimes, and, at first, it was benign and funny. But as time passed, they got raunchier and raunchier. They started going into great detail about what went on at home in the bedroom. It made me uncomfortable. I didn't want to sit there and talk about private things like that. So I'm sure they thought of me as a prude. I thought they were immature, gossipy, and mean. So, was I being a prude? Were they being mean and unfair? If I would have started talking as they did, they would have loved that. It would have amused them. BUT there is no way that I could have ever influenced them to contain themselves and conduct themselves with a bit more tact just because I sat there and didn't participate.

 

Okay, so talking about things you do with your husband in the bedroom in very great detail...is okay, culturally acceptable, and cool? If you don't do that, there is something wrong with YOU? I say if you want to talk like that, fine. But, if you don't do that, exactly how is it right that it's okay to make that person feel there is something weird and "off" about them?

 

I'm sure they considered me to be a prude. But I just didn't want to talk dirty at the filing machine because it didn't feel right to me. ... I dunno.

 

Ugh!  My first job was a bit like that.  I worked with a rather large gay population of teachers at the time.  They were quite er, um, "open" about their proclivities.  It got to the point where a few of us ate elsewhere because we really didn't want to hear the details of their latest conquests.

 

I went to a party for one of them once and the gift basket had vegetables cut into "shapes."  It was over the top.  I stepped out for a bit.

 

Yup, PRUDE here!

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Often paired with 'pearl clutching' lol.

 

Sometimes preceded with 'white feminist'.

 

Because being called a pearl clutching white feminist prude is meant to be - idk - shattering, somehow.

 

 

:lol:

 

That is EXACTLY who I am.  I'm rocking it.  Be scared, be very very scared.

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A girl at my office not long ago was called a prude because she was shocked and horrified (she claimed) to learn you could have sex in locations other than a bed lol. I guess she thought that sort of behavior was only in the movies??

I gotta laugh. I have a wonderful life long friend who in 7th grade we were sitting in my moms car waiting tobe taken to her house for a sleepover. I joke something like, "I'm being shipped away so they can have their Friday night get it on time." And she just totally is shocked and says, "OMG! Really? I thought people outgrew sex by their ages?!" My parents were in their 40s. Lol. Ever since we turned 40, I've been asking her if we've outgrown sex yet.

 

Same friend... a few years ago came in the house at about 4am to bring me coffee and donuts and caught Dh and I making out in the kitchen before he left for work. She was horrified. Not about the location, but that we had did that stuff when there were kids at home! Um. Honey, there's always a kid home around here?

 

I tease her mercilessly about sex because it's hilarious to see her turn five shades of red just at the mere hint of sexual topic. And yet, I wouldn't call her a prude at all. She's usually not offended. She just never lost that 7th grade blush and giggle reaction to seeing or discussing sex. It's just adorable. But I'm probably biased about her.

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It seems to me that both the prudes and the people who name call people prudes are shaming. Neither is awesome behavior. But I don't know how anyone can say that only one side is shaming the other.

I disagree. In all the cases I've heard the term prude actually used, the person being called prude was not doing or saying anything to other people. They were just wanting their own bodily opinion respected.

 

In the examples I gave upthread, none of those people were shaming anyone else. They weren't saying other women shouldn't be okay getting checked for dialation more often, or telling someone to turn off their tv that's playing Game of thrones or saying other people can't have sex.

 

For example, my comment if someone asks if I watch Game of Thrones is usually, "I tried watching the first episode and decided I'm not old enough to watch that."â˜ºï¸ I guess someone can say I'm shaming them if they do, but I think that's a rather far-fetched claim.

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I disagree. In all the cases I've heard the term prude actually used, the person being called prude was not doing or saying anything to other people. They were just wanting their own bodily opinion respected.

 

In the examples I gave upthread, none of those people were shaming anyone else. They weren't saying other women shouldn't be okay getting checked for dialation more often, or telling someone to turn off their tv that's playing Game of thrones or saying other people can't have sex.

 

For example, my comment if someone asks if I watch Game of Thrones is usually, "I tried watching the first episode and decided I'm not old enough to watch that."â˜ºï¸ I guess someone can say I'm shaming them if they do, but I think that's a rather far-fetched claim.

 

Exactly. If me expressing my opinions about certain things makes someone feel judged. Sometimes I wonder if it is just their conscience pricking at them.  I'm not saying THEY should stop watching Game of THrones. I'm saying I am not interested in watching the show.

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I gotta laugh. I have a wonderful life long friend who in 7th grade we were sitting in my moms car waiting tobe taken to her house for a sleepover. I joke something like, "I'm being shipped away so they can have their Friday night get it on time." And she just totally is shocked and says, "OMG! Really? I thought people outgrew sex by their ages?!" My parents were in their 40s. Lol. Ever since we turned 40, I've been asking her if we've outgrown sex yet.

 

Same friend... a few years ago came in the house at about 4am to bring me coffee and donuts and caught Dh and I making out in the kitchen before he left for work. She was horrified. Not about the location, but that we had did that stuff when there were kids at home! Um. Honey, there's always a kid home around here?

 

I tease her mercilessly about sex because it's hilarious to see her turn five shades of red just at the mere hint of sexual topic. And yet, I wouldn't call her a prude at all. She's usually not offended. She just never lost that 7th grade blush and giggle reaction to seeing or discussing sex. It's just adorable. But I'm probably biased about her.

LOL! My coworker thought we were all nasty for having sex outside of a bed lol.
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