Let’s have a sex talk! Not just an amazing Megan Thee Stallion song but something fun we can talk about as feminists. I often think that conversations around sex are hardly ever about creating positive and accepting energy. However, we have seen in pop culture the emergence of sexually ‘liberated’ women like Megan Thee Stallion who talks about sex in a candid female perspective. I truly believe sex is something for everyone to consensually enjoy. A lot of the world’s representation of sex is from the lens of heteronormative cisgender white males. From movie scenes, pornography, and other media representations sex appears to be something that is only enjoyable for a very specific group. I believe that it is time all people start understanding their sexuality and enjoy sex.
My perspective on sex is largely based on my identity, of course, being a cisgender straight white girl however being a woman who is twenty-two years old I have been able to see the world has made me afraid of my sexuality. I have noticed from a young age my parents never exposed me to the ‘sex-talk’ and those friends whose parents did it largely were based on the fear of pregnancy, slut-shaming, or STDs but it is obviously larger than that. The lack of conversation in my home did not keep me from being curious and exposed to pornography. If you were not already aware there are tons of issues with sexual education via pornography obviously number one being that it is not real. The other issue is that the majority of content made is male-centered sex represented and for me seeing that I unconsciously consumed the idea that the pleasure of my male partner was a lot more important than mine. That’s why I believe sex needs to become more of an open honest conversation for all people so that we are able to better understand each other to experience pleasure in a real-life enjoyable way. Undoing these produced notions of what sex should be and rewiring our brains to feel okay with our sexual desire. Exploring our sexuality and what feels good is not only important because we all deserve to experience pleasure but can help us as people create healthy relationships with other people and our own bodies. I think it is important for modern education and media to move in a direction that includes a realistic understanding of pleasure beyond the bounds of what we see.
sex talk in mainstream media
Netflix has done a great job in introducing this conversation to its mainstream platform. The platform recently released a documentary mini series called the Principles of Pleasure and it very nicely walks us through the common misconception around women’s pleasure and empowers healthy sex positivity. It is not limited to the binary and acknowledges the differing experiences based on gender,sex, and race. This is a three part docu-series with each episode being around 50 minutes long and has expert advice as well as normal people’s personal encounters with pleasure. The titles of each episode are Our Bodies, Our Minds, and Our Relationships.. While this docu-series covers multiple layers of sexual health I believe all people should watch this documentary and feel empowered for themselves. I found specific information from each episode that I felt was important to help understand the drawl towards becoming more comfortable with pleasure. It does a great job in encapsulating the multiple layers that have contributed to the lack of conversation around female pleasure in our culture and all the way back to the dawn of science. I have asked so many of my friends to take the time to watch this series as it felt both educational and empowering to people. Here I outline and further dive some topics that were covered throughout the series. If any of them are of interest or not I plead you to give it a watch and I promise you will learn so much.
orgasms and Masterbaution
Something wild that I also discovered through watching this documentary is the Orgasm Gap. They discussed the orgasm gap, which is that 95% of straight men orgasm and only 66% of straight women orgasm. I personally started being sexually active at 15 and I am now 22 years old and only recently had an orgasm with a partner so while it seems hard to believe I can understand how this gap occurs. For me it had always felt like it was not the the lack of exploration of sexuality rather the inability to communicate with a partner what I wanted in sex. However, I have been able to see that the lack of education on my Vulva has also contributed to that as well. The Netflix documentary frames it pretty well by setting up while we wish we could say it’s just the fault of men not knowing how to pleasure women; it is also the inability to teach women to explore their bodies and science’s lack of understanding of how female sexuality works. This docu-series introduced me to a model of the Vulva I have never been taught through health class or even college anatomy. The clitoris being a small part in the middle (or large! vulvas come in all different shapes and sizes) was something I was aware of however I wasn’t aware of the actual anatomy of the clitoris which actually has an internal anatomy that is two bulbs that extend to under the labia. No wonder we didn’t know this as the first official diagram of the clitoris was only drawn in 2005 by Helen O’Connell. from when I was 5 to 15 you would think the education system had more than enough time to add this to sexual health curriculum. I think it would be important for women to have more access to this knowledge to understand how there is different orgasms like vaginal, anal, clitoral, etc. While I think it is good practice to be actively seeking information on your body and its functions it should be a standard knowledge just like for some reason I have ingrained what the vas deferen is in the male genitals. I also think because the penis reaching pleasure is so very well understood we have conditioned that orgasms are something are that simple. For women due to this lack of research and understanding it is not that but does not make it any less fun or worthy. In fact I believe it is the exploration of how you experience pleasure that can and there is so many different ways we can reach orgasm. That is another reason to explore your own body and understand yourself.
I love sex and I found a way to despite all of the existing barriers I strive to make sure it is a healthy and positive thing in my life. The first thing that helped me reframe the shame and myths around sex was having conversations about it with my friends. It didn’t start until after my friends and I had first began having sex but I really felt in my significant female relationship it first started with opening up about feelings of being horny and masterbauting. While I think we found them a little silly at first I think it reduced a lot of shame in my female friendship around masterbaution. We became more comfortable sharing things we had enjoyed with partners and things we did not. The creation of this safe space has helped me from removing ingrained shame that is often perpetuated in media around a sexually active woman. It has also made it easier for me to go to my friends with questions I was having around my body or even sex. One of my close friends and I had decided even to go together to get our own first vibrators. Sex shouldnt be a secret shameful thing and masterbaution is a natural thing why shouldn’t we get excited to talk about something that causes us pleasure? This shame is often rooted in the idea that it is something impure which is not true, it is natural. Masterbaution also lays the ground for healthy self exploration of your own sexuality and understanding of the different parts of your body. I think masterbaution should be seen as this positive way we are able to access pleasure from ourselves. It is our own ability to reward our mind and body for being being the strong vessel it is. Quite literally masterbaution is a practice in self love and can help one become closer and connected to their body. However, I want to acknowledge that there are still people out there with sexual dysfunction and for that there needs to be more research into making pleasure for all bodies. No one helps women feel comfortable addressing what could be accessible through health care providers but instead only what is shameful about sexuality. Understanding our bodies is not only a good way to reduce stress and enjoy yourself but could be beneficial in being able to sense when there is something that might be going wrong. A woman in the documentary sex educator recommends to become more comfortable with our bodies is to get a naked as you are comfortable with and make observations about what you do love from the smallest things like a freckle on your stomach or your feet. This can be a useful tool to build comfort with your body.
you deserve pleasure
Some important takeaways in the end is that pleasure is something meant to be experienced by all whether it be through masterbaution or with consenting a partner/partners. There is no right or wrong way to have sex as long as the parties involved have consented and are both enjoying it. I think my large takeaway is I hope younger generation exposure to sex is less exploitative and helps young women to value their own pleasure. It ends with such a beautiful meditation which frames the power of our body. One of the initial commentary in this documentary is about how pleasure is what we all strive for in life. I think that really stuck with me because outside of sex we hope for our lives to be filled with things that make us feel good and I think that should be true for both how we feel around our bodies and our experiences with sex. And to be honest as candid I have been able to be about my sex life and sexuality it is so easy to do with anonymous username as guard it is all up to you and your level of comfort to decide when or how you would like to talk about sex. We each have our own boundaries around our bodies and around sex and that it self is all okay! I encourage readers to use and move their bodies and maybe discover some other tools to help you along your journey.