Many of us believe that we live in an age in which we are sexually liberated. Unlike generations before us, we have easy access to contraception; and it’s no longer taboo to have sex outside of marriage. Women who have children whilst unmarried are no longer pilloried and made to feel ashamed. The gross breach of human rights that was the removal of babies from their mothers, for adoption with ‘decent’ families, is no longer commonplace. Sexual imagery pierces every form of media that we are exposed to. In the age of reality TV, looks have become all important; and being seen as sexually desirable is considered a great barometer of self-worth. Despite all this, women in particular often have difficulty in believing that a good sex life is something they don’t just deserve, but are entitled to. Betty Dodson is the author of ‘Sex for One’ (1973), and remains pioneer of the female orgasm. She has met many people in the course of her work as a sex therapist; people who give the appearance of being worldly, successful, on trend professionals, but who have never had an orgasm.
Our TVs, computers, newspapers and magazines might radiate sex, but attitudes towards women as sexual beings, who consider themselves worthy of a satisfying sex life, haven’t changed as much as we would like to believe. Jill Filipovic (The Guardian) says that
‘women who exhibit a degree of sexual agency by acting – rather than only appearing attractive – or women perceived as inappropriately powerful or aggressive inevitably face being branded sluts and whores’.
It takes a supreme degree of confidence and self-belief for any woman to resist being affected in her attitude to her sexuality by these archaic Madonna-whore ideals. Women should consider themselves worthy of amazing sex as this belief can positively transcend every area of their lives. It is vital that women do not judge their peers on their sex lives, that they do not attribute these restrictive and abusive labels to their friends or family. We need to remind ourselves that sexual pleasure is a great thing, and its pursuit is the act of a healthy, happy and confident woman!
The pursuit of pleasure and understanding of how to enjoy ourselves sexually can have a ripple effect, causing other women and importantly, other young women, to take confident charge of their sexual destiny. Doortje Braeken (The Guardian) says that
‘There is growing evidence that the promotion of pleasure alongside safer sex messaging can increase the consistent use of condoms and other forms of safer sex’.
Despite the modern proclivity towards sexual freedom, how many mothers talk openly about sex with their daughters? How many mothers encourage their daughters to reject patriarchal labels like ‘slut’, and embrace their sexual desires in a safe way that has self-esteem and self-respect at its core? If women and girls support each other, and reinforce the concept of amazing sex being a great and attainable ideal; not only will we all be much happier, but we’re more likely to take a pragmatic and considered approach to contraception. This allows us to make choices about our bodies, and to remain in control of our health and when (or if) we have children. Therefore, we don’t just owe it to ourselves to achieve sexual fulfilment, but to our daughters and generations to come.
So, we’ve decided that we deserve amazing sex; we’ll reap great benefits from getting it. A fulfilling sex life will help us to cope better with stress, sleep better and generally feel happier and more desirable. Our peers and daughters will benefit from the example we set, and our partners will be punching the air with delight! The recent viral online spreadsheet, that dominated social media, chronicling the sexual rejection of a man scorned will become a distant memory of less enlightened times. But how do we achieve sexual freedom and enlightenment? Many believe that sexual enjoyment is mostly concerned with technique. Whether or not you are ‘good’ in bed comes down to how much practice you’ve had and the reading of the ‘Kama Sutra’ or other such sexually instructive tomes. In fact, enjoying sex has little to do with reading a book or considering yourself the master of oral sex or of adopting increasingly athletic positions. New York Magazine conducted a study of ‘New Yorkers’ sexual habits and anxieties’. Wesley Young, who conducted a critical analysis of the study, found that the key anxieties facing this sexually active group were related to ‘too much choice’; ‘making the wrong choice’; ‘appearing overly enthusiastic’; and ‘appearing overly sincere’. It doesn’t seem to be an almighty leap to consider that many others, including here in the UK, bear the weight of similar anxieties when it comes to sexual activity. Women in particular are often besieged by anxieties about every part of their lives, so are more likely to fall victim to being so worried about how they are performing that it is physically and mentally impossible to really embrace the experience. If we’re worrying about looking like we’re enjoying it too much, or like we’re really keen on our partner, how can we possibly let go, and reach the dizzying heights of orgasm?! And, if we can’t do that, what is the point of having sex in the first place? To please our partners? To feel close but not close enough? We all deserve better than that!
Having amazing sex is all about who you’re having it with, and how you feel about yourself. Books, over solicitous adoption of ‘techniques’ and anxieties have no place in your bed if you want to enjoy it. Find a partner that you have a real connection with, and don’t settle for anything less. Believe yourself to be sexy and desirable, and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Demonstrate your enthusiasm as much as you can. If you feel amazing during sex, tell your partner, shout about it! If he’s as enlightened as he should be, he won’t be alarmed or offended by this, he’ll think you’re great! And if he doesn’t, find someone who does, and don’t accept any alternative! We deserve amazing sex. We should respect ourselves and choose a partner with whom we have a genuine connection in order to get it. Jill Filipovic (The Guardian) gives us a great call to action:
‘Reject a culture that shames sexual women, and don’t participate in the shaming. Take calculated risks. Enjoy yourself’.