Society’s attitude towards women and their sexuality is usually negative and contradictive.When it comes to sex, women can’t win. If a woman enjoys casual sex, she is slut-shamed. If she decides not to have sex, she’s labelled a prude. Women are conditioned to be conscious about our body-counts, how many dates to wait before having sex, our virginities, etc. In reality, none of that matters, those attitudes are a result of unfair standards society has created. Women are allowed to be comfortable with their sexuality and feel empowered by it. Here are some steps women can take to begin their journey to achieving sexual empowerment.
The first step in sexual empowerment is recognizing your right to body autonomy. Body autonomy is essentially a birthright to complete control of your body. Understanding and defending that birthright is vital. Using preferred methods of birth control is an example of exercising body autonomy. Choosing not to take birth control is also exercising body autonomy. Deciding if, when, and how you have sex is excersing body autonomy. Your sexual and overall health is very important. Routine exams such as, tests for STD’s and STI’s, breast exams, and pelvic exams are how you can stay on top of your health. Being informed about your body will make you more comfortable with your sexuality. Resources for gathering information regarding sexual health concerns can be found at your college/universities’ public health services, or at clinics like Planned Parenthood.
Whether you are in a long-term relationship, or are having casual sex, communcating with your sexual partners is important. Sex isn’t like what we see on t.v. and pornography, it’s a big game of trial and error. Your partner will not automatically know exactly what satisfies you because everyone is different, so what works for one person, will not always work for another. Other information that should be communicated is; having multiple partners, deciding you don’t want to be sexaully active, and methods of contraception. Communicating your preferences and boundaries create greater understanding and ensure a better experience between the sheets. If you discover that your partner isn’t willing to communicate with you or fails to acknowledge what you have communicated, you may want to reconsider having sexual relations with them.
Masterbation. When this word is brought up some tend to bury their faces in shame, however it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Masterbation is normal and actually quite necessary, because if you don’t get to know your own body, don’t expect anyone else too. Exploring yourself will make you familiar with how your body works. Like I stated before, the more informed you are, the more comfortable you will be.
Lastly, always make your own decsions in your sex life. After all, it’s you who will be affected. Think about what sex means to you and defend that beleif. If you want to have casual sex, that is okay. If you want sex to be exclsuive to your relationships, that is okay. If you practice abstinence, that is okay. All of these situations are empowering because you are taking control and doing what makes you happy. Although it can be challenging to navigate your sex life with the social climate in college, never allow others to influence your decisions. Own your sexuality, and make it what you want it to be.