Ask Ciiku: Is the Madonna Whore Complex real?

Dear Ciiku

I really love your blog, it helps knowing that some issues I’ve struggled with are not unique to me and there’s a solution I haven’t thought of. Anyway, I was wondering, is the Madonna whore complex real? Like I feel like all the guys I meet even when I want a relationship and say this, put me in a sex only box. Like I’m good for this but not anything that involves romantically or emotionally showing up. It has happened twice now. They always move on with ‘nicer’ partners and say something about me being too sexual.


Dear Anonymous,

The madonna whore complex is rooted in patriarchy and misogyny where men believe women are either good (madonna) or bad (whore.) It is a bunch of bullshit, as patriarchy tends to be, where men think they are judge and jury over how women should live their lives. Women are complex and clustering them into two groups is ridiculous at best. Furthermore, this thing men do where they think their opinions should matter in how women view themselves is annoying.

Are there men who believe in the madonna whore complex? Yes. And they should be avoided at all costs. They are not worth your time or attention. I honestly don’t believe that anyone who has this belief is a worthwhile human being and therefore in my opinion, you dodged two bullets.

As has been mentioned often, as heterosexual women, we are caught in this space where we have to deal with these men we become attracted to. I really wish the process wasn’t as painful as it is. And the truth is sometimes, things they tell us, opinions based on ignorance, self importance and misinformation, have a way of affecting us. And I’m so sorry that things said to you affected you.

There is nothing wrong with being sexual and it’s terrible that women are always being made to second guess themselves. Women are sexual beings among many other things. We have to be careful what messages we internalise as women. This world is not interested in self assured women, women who know themselves and love themselves. You are a complex person and your being, your personality, your character is much more than this one lens.

And above all else, you deserve to be with someone who sees all of you. You deserve good sex, someone who wants to be in a relationship and someone who is emotionally available and will provide emotional support. Don’t sell yourself short.

All the best



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