Let me preface this piece with a statement: “feminist” and “sexual being” are not independent of one another. Feminist, as defined by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: “A person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.” By this definition, all of us are (or should be) feminists. And sexual being is an easy one, because if you are human and alive, you’re a sexual being.*
Let me be clear: I am not talking about the objectification of women. We do not exist as sexual objects. Our bodies are not props for selling products or gratifying the needs of others (unless you’re into that). People complain about images of sexuality and nudity in the public sphere, but the moral offense is misogyny, not nudity. The naked body is not, “dirty,” it’s as natural as it gets. Part of the reason women get uncomfortable talking about sex (at least publicly) is because of the puritanical obsession of our society, an obsession that drives the patriarchal rules on sexuality.** I find myself, time and again, explaining why, for lack of a better word, being a sexual being – not object – is perfectly in line with being a feminist.
In contrast with what the media and ad agencies tell us, not everything is about sex. Our bodies do not need to be seen as sexual all the damn time. But sex is about sex. Our bodies need to be seen as sexual when we’re having sex. And I don’t mean by our partners, I mean by us.
So here’s where my post actually begins, and here’s what sex has to do with “pretty.” Though I believe men should read this piece to better understand where the ladies are coming from, I’ve written it predominately for women who are/would like to be in sexual relationships with men. I would love to write a piece on sex that speaks to all walks of life, but I can only speak from my own experiences.
Without further ado, let’s do it (teehee).
Pretty Hurts – “Your reflection stares into you. Are you happy with yourself?”
What ran through your mind the first time you were naked with your partner? What about now? Do you think about how much you want him? Is your focus on some part of his body you find attractive? My guess is, the answer is no. I’ll bet you think about your belly. Or your thunder thighs. Or your stretch marks. You think about all of your flaws, while he’s thinking the opposite. He loves the way your hips flare, or the curve of your derrière, or any number of things. He hasn’t noticed your stretch marks – or if he has, trust me, he doesn’t care…especially not right now when you are naked and about to get it on. Your stretch marks are the last thing on his mind. He thinks your body is beautiful, and he wants to take it all in. The un-sexiest thing a woman does before sex is self-consciously hide her naked body from her partner’s eyes.
“Don’t look at me!”
“Ummm….OK. So I’m supposed to just feel around? Here’s hoping my aim isn’t off.”
I’m friends with a lot of guys. I spend more time with my male friends than any other group, and whenever we drink, the subject always lands on sex. They want to know things from a woman’s perspective, and I don’t really have a filter (in case you haven’t noticed). But the flip side is I’ve gotten to know a lot of things from their perspective, too. I mean, in their eyes, I barely qualify as a girl, so I worm a lot of valuable information out of them.
Fact: guys like it when we’re into sex. It’s a bit of an ego boost for them, knowing they can please their woman (unless you’re with a man who doesn’t care, in which case, you need to either re-educate or dump him, and I’ll tell you why in a sec). When you’re having sex, you should be focused on the feelings and sensations, not worried about what you look like, or worse, what he thinks you look like. Trust me, if he’s having sex with you, he’s attracted to you. Contrary to popular belief, men have standards. They will not fuck anything with a pulse. There are some exceptions, but for the most part, I’m right.
Captain Obvious here, reporting for duty; we are all different. So we’ll be into different things. Some guys love thigh gap, some find it disgusting (I’m friends with both). But the overwhelming agreed-upon statement by all the guys I know,
“Whatever her body-type, if she’s confident naked, it’s sexy as hell.”
Now I’m not saying all of this as a sexual object, I’m saying it as a sexual being. My body’s sole purpose is not to please him. That’s only half of sex. The other half is to please me. Really, the point of sex is mutual gratification, which results in a level of closeness no other act can achieve. In order to get there, you need to have good communication, and you need to know what each other likes. And when you manage to overcome your insecurities, your focus can be on what’s happening instead of worrying about the stupid shit. Even for you puritans, you have to know, sex is important. Why wouldn’t you want to have mind-blowing sex with the man you love? That kind of transcendent experience allows you to connect with your partner in a way no one else can; it’s unique to the two of you. Sex is what makes the man who is already your best friend truly your partner.
So how do we go about overcoming our insecurities? It’s not easy, my friend. I’m sorry to tell you, but you’ve been brainwashed into believing you are unworthy of real love and affection because you are not “perfect.” But we all know perfect doesn’t exist. So today, you’re going to continue to re-educate yourself (I know you’ve been working on it) and see yourself as beautiful. Here are some things you can do:
1) Start by accepting compliments
As women, we have a tendency to shoot down compliments and make ourselves smaller. I’m not saying you need to be an arrogant douchewad; just accept compliments at face value. A lot of women talk about wanting to be spoiled by their men. Well, there are other (more valuable) types of spoiling that don’t require money, like emotional spoiling. When he pays you a compliment, he’s expressing his affection for you verbally. When you shoot it down, you are rejecting his affection. You’re not being humble, you’re building walls to keep him out.
2) Get comfortable with your naked body
This is going to sound insane, but you should try dancing naked. Not for him (well not yet, anyway…maybe one day you can build to that level of confidence), for you. When you get out of the shower, before you get dressed and start your day, channel your inner Diva or Rock Goddess. And don’t feel stupid. You know what’s stupid? NOT LOVING YOURSELF. Do this every day, and when you look in the mirror, focus on the things you like. Pay no attention to what you don’t like. We all have both. Why be such a Negative Nancy? I know it will be hard, and that’s OK. You’ll see something you don’t like and cringe. Accept it and move on, close your eyes if you have to, and jam out with your clam out. Make time for this. It’ll take 5 minutes out of your day and bring an immeasurable amount of value to your life. I’ll list some songs at the end of this as inspiration if you have no idea where to start.
3) Let him see you
I mean this figuratively, but also literally. For one thing, stop fearing his judgment (and do not place yours upon him). See each other, really see each other, flaws and all. For another, stop having sex in pitch-black darkness. He wants to see what’s going on, and you should, too. This is why you’ve got to re-educate yourself into seeing your body as the beautiful work of art it is. I should clarify that I don’t mean horrendous florescent spot lights, I mean a soft, gentle light. A bed-side lamp, a nightlight, or candles. Heck, even the light from the hallway. I’ve heard a pink light bulb is the most flattering for sexy-time. Anyway, if you can see each other, it amplifies the connection, and he’ll get a thrill out of seeing your reactions…which will, in turn, drive him to figure out how to make you react that way more. And it goes both ways. Like I said, sex is about mutual gratification, so figure out what he likes, too. Don’t just assume that because he reached orgasm, it’s case-closed and game over. Sure, sometimes it is about the destination and not the journey (hurray for quickies!), but I did not just spend half of my day writing this piece so you can have wam-bam-thank-you-man sex all the dig-a-dang time. You owe it to yourselves to have great sex.
Now that you’ve reached the end of my longest ever blog post, you also owe me great sex stories. Don’t think I’m above getting you drunk and worming them out of you, you’d better start your homework 😉
*I am going to make a lot of generalizations in this piece. Yes, some people are born asexual, but the vast majority of us find our hearts beat a little quicker when someone we’d like to be intimate with is around.
** What came first, the chicken or the egg? Or, perhaps a better way to phrase it, a circle has no beginning and no end. Round and around we go.
List of songs:
Dragonette – Right Woman
Madonna – Express Yourself
Nancy Sinatra – These Boots Are Made for Walkin’
Blondie – One Way or Another
Janet Jackson – All Night (Don’t Stop)
P!nk – So What
Aretha Franklin – Respect
Meredith Brooks – Bitch
Rihanna – Who’s That Chick?
Ciara – I’m Out
Christina Aguilera – Your Body
Britney Spears – I can’t pick one, I’m sorry. Here are a few: Get Naked, Break the Ice, Till the World Ends
No Doubt – Sunday Morning
Chaka Khan (or Whitney Houston) – I’m Every Woman
These are sung by men and just as awesome:
I’m sure I’m missing a bunch of awesome songs, but the list is just meant to get you going. Find songs that work for you!