A Letter to my Adolescent (Sexual) Self
As I have questioned, learned and experienced more of my sexual depth as a woman, I have developed a growing passion for wanting to help educate other women and girls about sexuality in a way that supports them to feel empowered, connected, confident, and free. In a way that makes them feel proud and powerful as women. In a way that they can grow up knowing their bodies, their pleasure potential, their boundaries, and their desires more deeply than our culture currently encourages.
I used to carry enormous resentment about the fact that I am a woman. Especially sexually, I never felt like I was powerful in a female body. I believed that anyone, given the choice, would choose to be a man, and that the "curses" (which I now view as gifts) of being a woman such as menstruation and bearing children were proof that women were subordinate to men in this world.
Even now as I reflect on these beliefs, I am filled with sadness.
I didn't understand the beauty and uniqueness of female sexuality.
I knew and experienced sexual pleasure, but my satisfaction was dampened by the fact that I felt men viewed our sexual exchanges as conquests and notches.
While I appreciated the pleasure my body could bring me, this was contradicted by how I resented it for bleeding every month and contributing to the culture-wide beliefs about women being "crazy" or "bitchy."
I felt subordinate, powerless and full of anger every time men, the media, or whatever else would make comments about how "loose" a woman was from having "too much sex" or from giving birth. This instilled a fear in me that I too would inevitably become "loose" and thus undesirable someday, and actually contributed to my reluctance towards the idea of having children.
Honestly, I could go on for much longer about all the ways I felt powerless and deeply resentful of being a woman from the amount of shame and control projected onto my body and sexuality.
Where were the messages and teachings about the profound beauty and potential within women?
The messages about the gifts women bring to this world and to the men (or other women) that relate with them?
As I've journeyed into this old pain and conditioning, I'm on a mission to spread the word of what I wish I knew about myself growing up. Something that is missing from our culture, but is embedded in other cultures, philosophies, and historical religious perspectives around the world...
I wish I had known that being a woman, a feminine sexual being, is something to be proud of.
Being a woman is something to be celebrated. A true gift.
I wish I had known that self-pleasuring is something to be proud of, something to celebrate.
That the ability to bear children and give birth is a sacred gift.
That my monthly cycles are to be honoured and worked with, not against.
That I am worthy and I deserve to ask for what I want.
That my body deserves to be honoured and listened to in all ways.
That I deserve to say YES! and I deserve to say no.
That it's okay to just receive.
That my body is a healing sanctuary to those who I welcome into it.
That to have a vagina and a womb is a privilege.
That I am life-giving.
That breasts are not shameful, and do not deserve to be scorned for being displayed or for feeding an infant.
That it's okay to have as much or as little sex as I want.
That it's okay to have as much or as little body hair as I want.
That my strength and fire is powerfully feminine and beautiful.
That using my voice is sexy and allowed! That self-expression in all forms is beautiful!
That pleasure is amazing! That experiencing pleasure, pursuing my own pleasure, and receiving pleasure from others deepens my confidence as a women, my sense of self, my motivation, and fulfilment in life. (I've recently enjoyed reading about how this truly works in Naomi Wolfe's amazing book Vagina).
Being a woman is a gift! We are powerful, sexual beings capable of living profound, pleasure-filled lives.
My belief is that if every girl truly knew this, we as women would be well on our way towards liberation from sexual shame and the limiting beliefs that hold us back from awakening to our potential and fulfilment in life!