From an early age, our boobs become a source of shame, our body hair becomes a means of embarrassment and our periods are something we're shushed about. We hide our pads and tampons in our long sleeves, so when we raise our hand to go to the bathroom, our peers won’t laugh at us. We learn to stand in awkward positions in the shower, trying not to slip as we figure out how to use a razor. We watch blood run down our knees when we inevitably knick our skin. We're taught that it’s wrong if our nipples show through our shirts after a certain age, but watch our older brothers walk around shirtless. We lose our V-card, as if virginity is some rare papery-plastic playing card covered in unicorns and glitter that goes missing when we play it. The wording behind sexual activity in regards to women makes many of us believe that when we have sex, we are actively losing that innocent part of ourselves. The truth is, those things are often ripped from us when the wrong people are involved, but that doesn’t mean we can never get them back. When we are open to discovering ourselves, we can work backward to find out what, or who, made us feel like sex was a one-way ticket for a guilt trip.
Sex is a risk. This is likely the first thing most of us are taught about intimacy. But if for women, the major risk is pregnancy, shouldn’t the sex at least be good? Shouldn’t it be a red flag if you’re just kind of there, feeling like a limp body that simply exists for your partner's pleasure? If he wanted a sex doll, he should’ve gone to the store. You have feelings, needs, preferences and boundaries. However, many of us don’t know what we like or what we want because we’ve never had permission from society to find out. When female sexuality is either seen as too promiscuous or too prude, it’s hard to feel comfortable and confident in our own skin. This can lead to women establishing their enjoyment only on whether their partner is satisfied.
Our bodies are magical. We form a baby out of two cells, equal parts from us and equal parts from our partner. However, while the effort to create the zygote is 50/50, the rest of the pregnancy is entirely our body’s responsibility. Our bodies work endlessly to give and create the necessary nutrients for life. We swear off alcohol and sushi, two things many women take pleasure in indulging in. We house that baby in us for nine months. The same parts we used to uncomfortably shave are ripped open and stretched large enough to push out a watermelon. The boobs that we secretly bought bras for as pre-teens produce the food that keeps our child from starving. Our arms rock the wailing child to sleep and our lips kiss the skinned knees that our razors once knicked and our fingers wipe the tears we used to cry.
As women, we are strong, but we still deserve somebody to wipe our tears. We're capable of so much, and we're deserving of so much. Yet somehow, we're still basing our sexual satisfaction on two main questions:
Did it hurt?
Did he enjoy it?
A lack of pain should not be confused for the presence of pleasure.