Reader Question: Feeling Sexy With My Natural Hair

kinky-hair

// photo : Love Fola

Occasionally, I get a question from a reader that is compelling enough to become its own article. This is one of those questions.*

Ev’Yan,

I love my natural hair and I don’t even mind how it looks when it’s wet out of the shower or after I’ve just gotten out of the pool. It’s very kinky and shrunken up and I don’t have curls that bounce around. With that, I feel some kind of way with my hair looking this way while I’m having sex with my husband.

After a romp, the heat and sweat does a number on my fro and I feel like I lose my sexy with matted hair. It’s interesting that I feel this way and I don’t know where this is coming from. Any advice?

—Nikki

 

Nikki,

I can absolutely relate to this, & I know a slew of other naturals can. The transition back to our natural roots is so much more than simply chopping off the relaxed ends of our hair (or using clippers to cut it all off & start anew). It’s about rewiring our brains, reconciling with our new reflections, reestablishing our confidence levels, & unlearning everything we thought we knew about the standard of beauty. When going natural, we prepare ourselves for new hair growth, but never for the grueling, emotionally taxing kind of personal growth.

If I had let it, feeling sexy—or lack thereof—in an afro would’ve deterred me from going natural in the first place. We just don’t often see black, afro’d naturals in the mainstream media. What we see most frequently is a very specific standard of beauty that seems to go across the board: light-skinned, straight- & long-haired, light-eyed, thin-framed beauties. Anyone else that goes outside of that box is considered an anomaly.

Even our own supposed black role models easily fit into this overplayed template of beauty (Rihanna, Beyoncé, Jordan Dunn). And don’t even get me started on the absence of accurate portrayals of black women/men in porn. It’s true that we can watch two relatively attractive blacks get hot & heavy on screen, but the female star is often weaved.

So thank goodness for Solange, Esperanza Spalding, Folasade Adeoso, Yaya DaCosta, Grace Jones, Lupita Nyong’o, & the many, many other black, afro’d beauties we see outside of the mainstream media & inside blogs, YouTube videos, & Tumblr accounts. Without them, I would’ve thought that sexy afro’d women didn’t exist.

When I first BC’d (big chopped), I had steady knowledge that depictions of black afro’d women were rare, so I told myself, “Well, I’ll just create my own standard of beauty, then!”

Now, I’m not saying that my outburst of inner rebellion wasn’t a noble cause. It was. But my therapist once told me that you can’t be what you can’t see. And she’s right.

If there are no consistent images of faces, curl patterns, skin tones, & noses that look like mine, the harmful assumption is that it’s because that’s not what “sexy” & “beautiful” is.

A tough outer exterior & confidence in one’s self is not enough. One needs positive, unabashed reinforcements that their body, their hair, & the expression of their sexuality is as beautiful as it is important.

One needs proof. One must go a step or two further.

So I began to make it a mission to surround myself with images of sexy, afro’d naturals, pushing aside the falsehood that they don’t exist. I had to dig, sometimes tirelessly, for healthy depictions of afro’d beauty. I also had to make a conscious effort to truly see those images & those portrayals, & in doing so, put it in my head, loud & clear, that the it was beautiful/sexy.

That, & being armed with some helpful indie media depictions, helped me to find my sexy as a bushy-haired black woman.

Want to find your sexy? Here are 7 tips to help preserve (or provoke) your natural-haired, erotic self:

(1)  Ask yourself what it means to you to be sexy. What qualities does a sexy person have? What qualities does a sexy person not have? Many of us agree blindly to the terms of “sexy” without actually reading the contract. Remember: You can define what sexy is & isn’t.

(2) Devote a few hours to taking some sensual, scantily clad pictures of yourself. A private photoshoot, of sorts. You control the shots, the angles, how much skin is showing, etc. Use a self-timer & go at it, beautiful. Keep only the pictures you like, or destroy all of them. Absolutely no one has to see these images but you, but you can absolutely share them if you’re feelin’ yourself.

(3) Ask your significant other what it is that makes them sexually attracted to you as a natural. If they say, “I love your hair,” ask them to articulate what they love about it. Have them go into a little detail so you get a clear idea of your sex appeal in their eyes. Their answer(s) will certainly give you a new perspective on yourself as a sex symbol (because you are one in your own right).

(4) When you catch yourself coming out of the shower (or even just walking past a mirror), sit with your reflection for a few seconds longer & admire yourself. See if you can pinpoint features (or an essence) that you feel is sexy. If you can’t think of anything, try harder. If you want to look away, keep your eyes fixated on your body, your curls. This won’t be easy, but it’s needed for you to realize the sex goddess you are.

(5) If you know a romp in the sheets is in your future, plan for it. Braid or twist your hair & pin it back gracefully with bobby pins before bed so that you won’t worry about your man messing up your ‘fro during coitus. I do this myself, & feel 100x more confident when I know my hair is out of the way, but is still being showcased beautifully.

(6) Set boundaries. It’s 100% OK if you have to tell your lover to keep his hands out of your hair while you’re getting it on. And this doesn’t have to be forever. Just at least until you feel comfortable with who you are as a sexual woman & what that entails. . . frizzy hair & all.

(7) When you see a black, natural woman, rather than think, “She’s pretty,” go further. Shift your thoughts to, “She’s sexy. She’s sensual. She’s erotically beautiful.” Admire her body, her skin color, her curls. Soak in her essence, & try to remember that what she’s got, you also have within you, too.

Bonus! A few films & sites that helped me find my sexy as a black kinky-haired woman:

(Some of these sites / videos may not be safe for work.)

Kwensi Abbensetts (photography) : A talented photographer with an eye for black, unadulterated beauty. Most of the models are natural, afro’d, & sexy. Check out one of his most frequent muses, Folasade Adeoso.

Arielle Loren’s CORSET, issue #1 (magazine) : Arielle’s first, inaugural issue featured her own sultry, sensual, nude photoshoot. The pictures of her chocolate skin & gorgeous afro gave me goosebumps. It was one of the first times I saw myself in a form of media.

Who Is Amanda James? (web series) : I was turned onto this newly created web show by its director, & even though there’s only one episode so far, I was hooked. Mostly because in the first 10 seconds of the show, the afro’d star exclaims that she “loves sex!”

A Good Day to be Black & Sexy (film) : An independent film that features several vignettes of black men & women on the topics of sex & love. I appreciate this film because it shows an array of diversity amongst black women, not just in how they express their sexualities but in the way they wear their hair: braided, afro’d, weaved, & relaxed.

Black Girls R Pretty 2 (Tumblr) : A gorgeous collection of sensual, sultry photographs of black women all over the world.

/ / /

The road to true sexual awareness, regardless of who you are & what you look like, is an arduous one. It’ll take years—perhaps even a lifetime—to fully reconcile with yourself as a sexy woman.

It won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it.

*This post originally appeared on KISFORKINKY in 2012 & was reposted here with their permission. It’s been reprised & updated just a little.

Taking Matters Into My Own Hands: Why I’m Trying to Masturbate More

diy-sex

// button image from Tumblr; mini-collage by moi.

I don’t talk about it much—I’m not one to brag—but the sex I have with my husband is amazing. Even after 8+ years together, our sex continues to get more & more exquisite. And the frequency of our sack sessions seems to be increasing, too.

It’s wonderful—beautifully, lusciously, cosmically orgasmic.

But.

An interesting thing happens when you’re in a long-term partnership with someone & have such amazing sex with them: The sex you have with yourself tapers off quite significantly.

Or maybe it’s just me.

When we first moved in together (& before I ditched my vibrator), I masturbated way more often than I do now, which I attribute to a few things: Jonathan was working a typical 9-5 back then which left me—unemployed, directionless, & home alone—plenty of free time to jill off.

I was also just beginning my sexual liberation journey, & self-pleasure was the first point of contact for me as I uncovered my erotic power as well as a safe place for me to explore the territory of my adult sexuality, especially when sex with him didn’t come easy.

These days, things are much, much different. Not only does my sexual identity feel more mature & grounded, but I’ve got shit to do. I can’t spend as much time as I used to to self-pleasure during the day. And the great sex I have so often with Jonathan only compounds all of this. It’s always seemed a little pointless to take matters into my own hands, when he does it so well already.

But lately I’ve been thinking about the relationship I have with myself, about how I was mine before I was anyone else’s, & how the embodiment of that truth should extend to my own solo sexual relationship.

Because it doesn’t, & I want to change that.

One of my erotic intentions for 2015 is to masturbate more. The purpose of this intention isn’t necessarily to get off more frequently (though that is a delicious bonus). I’m mostly interested in masturbating more as a pilgrimage to coming back to my individual sexuality; to remind myself of the inherent power within that erotic relationship; to empower my sexuality with my own hands & not rely solely on my partner to fulfill my sexual needs.

Even if he does it superbly, even if we do create sex magic together.

If I’m being honest, I’ve relinquished some of my erotic power to my husband by relying solely on our sexual relationship to provide me pleasure & release.

Unconsciously, I’ve made him responsible for my orgasm.

So, masturbating is now an expression of me taking my erotic power back. It’s an opportunity to hold myself accountable to my orgasm. It’s a way for me to renew a sexual relationship with myself, the first relationship there ever was, outside of my partner’s involvement.

And that leaves me here: Doing my best to touch myself more.

I’ve been surprised by how challenging this has been, as well as the kind of things this is bringing up for me.

For one, masturbating is usually the furthest thing from my mind most days. Even though I adore my orgasm, even though it makes me feel incredible & brings me instantly back into my body, I’d rather do other things instead. And not even the must-do things, like managing my business or buying groceries, but the silly little pointless things, like plucking my eyebrows or scrolling endlessly through my Tumblr feed.

And it’s not that I’m without amorousness. Whenever I have them (I have them often), I tend to associate my lustful feelings to partner. When I feel an undeniable urge in my body to get sexual & release, I immediately refer to him—Is he busy? I wonder if I should jump his bones right now or wait until later. . .

It’s as if my sexual expression is so connected to our partnered sex life that it doesn’t seem to exist without it.

Of course, there’s a gorgeous aspect to that. I mean, I am married, & married sex is incredibly enjoyable (I can’t get enough), so there’s no harm in that being the instinctual first choice. But I’ve been feeling uneasy by how much importance I place on our married sexual relationship over my own solo sexual relationship. It feels unbalanced.

Another thing that’s come up for me as I play with playing with myself more is my love/hate relationship with pornography & how often that dictates my emotional availability toward masturbation. Going on porn sites drains me—the flashing grotesque ads, the endless pop-ups, the slew of plastic women perfectly equipped to meet the standards of the male gaze. . .

It’s evasive, but mostly it’s exhausting. And while I can come without visual stimulation, it certainly helps. A good porn video is hard to find amongst the garbage, & sometimes I simply don’t feel like digging.

But I’m most surprised by how often I find myself doing battle with harmful belief systems around my orgasm, beliefs that I thought I got rid of long ago, beliefs which keep me from seeking my orgasm on my own. In some ways, I still see my orgasm as cumbersome, arduous, convoluted. And on the days were I do decide to take the time for myself, I’m pushing away daunting thoughts of, It’s going to take too long for me to reach climax, so why bother? 

That isn’t true, by the way. My orgasm, when my heart & body is fully in it, is really quite easy-breezy. Still, these thoughts somehow arise.

I really didn’t anticipate how challenging this would be. This voyage of coming back to my sexual individual self is so layered.

But it hasn’t been all uphill.

In taking time to re-forge a solo sexual relationship with myself, I’ve been reminded of the innate power of my sexual energy. That is has the capacity to awaken my creative muses, inspiring me to show up to my work fully. That it can open me to heights of arousal in & connection to my body with a depth that isn’t always available when I have sex with my husband.

And, most interestingly, I’ve found that as I continue to seek this solo sexual relationship, it only enriches my shared sexual relationships. Because subconsciously I thought that masturbation would somehow subtract eroticism from my married sex life. But it’s complemented it sensually.

Or course, this is all a work in progress, & I’ve certainly slipped a few times in keeping my once-a-week quota. But that doesn’t matter as much to me as rebuilding a foundation to my erotic self that has gotten lost in the shuffle of long-term commitment.

I was my first.
I am responsible for nurturing that union.
I am responsible for my orgasm.

You Were Yours First Before You Were Anyone Else’s*

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// photo by Chérmelle D Edwards

*Inspired by Nayyirah Waheed’s poem in Nejma.

Before you felt your body expand at the touch of another.
Before you were brought to your knees by a tsunami of heartache.
Before you found unconditional love in your loved one’s shining eyes. . .

You were yours.

Your first love, your first home, your first understanding of companionship, your first great romance was between you & your skin & your cells & your heartbeat. That’s where it all began.

It might be hard to comprehend this now. It might be hard to even imagine a love so great, so total for yourself. The lot of us have found ourselves divorced from this love, transmitting it instead toward other things, other people. We forget where we came from.

But it started here, in your body, in your bones.

You were your first love.

It was a relationship born of intimacy & deep inner knowing. A sacred marriage of devotion & self-protection, of the incredible strength & softness of the truth of who you are.

This is a love whose origins are rooted in radical acceptance, a love that asks nothing of you except questions that prompts you, gently, to go deeper within, to uncover & express: What do you desire? How do you feel? Who are you becoming?

A love that can fosters authenticity, sovereignty, your gorgeous blossoming.

Big, big love.

This love of self, this coming back to the center of you, is alive within you right now, ready to be stirred, waiting to be remembered. And you can always return to it.

All you have to do is remind yourself.

How will you remind yourself?

When Sex Was the Hardest Thing I Could Do

self

// self-portrait, 2011

Note: Parts of this essay first appeared on my old, no longer active fashion blog, Apricot Tea, in June 2009. I’m reposting it here because it was this post that began my very public journey into sexual awakening, & thus marks the humble beginnings of Sex Love Liberation which turns 4 this month.

There’s a lot of pain & confusion in this post—I wrote it when I was 22 & I had yet to fully understand or embrace my innate sexuality. But I think it’s important to honor the all parts of the process of self-discovery, even the not-pretty parts. And this is one of mine from ages ago.

Maybe you can relate to my story. . .

/ / /

When they gave me the inaugural Birds & Bees talk, my parents didn’t tell me about orgasms, or masturbation, or what a healthy sexual relationship should look like, or how I should embrace my sexuality because it is a gift from God.

All they told me about sex was that it created babies, & that having it before marriage was a sin. Whenever I tried to find out more about sex from my mother, she would just blush & say quietly, “I just don’t feel comfortable having this conversation with my daughter.”

But I wish my parents had told me everything, without any sort of religious perspective, just to give me the wisdom I desperately needed & wanted. Perhaps if they had, my entire perspective on sex would be completely different today. Perhaps I wouldn’t be so baffled by it.

I find it so very unfair that you’re all of a sudden supposed to just know how to do things, & be okay with doing those things, after you’ve been told over & over that sex is bad, dirty, sinful, &, therefore, prohibited. (Unless, of course, you’re married, & then it’s all roses & chocolate covered strawberries.)

When I was little, I was taught that I had to wash in between my legs very, very well because it is dirty & smelly down there. I grew up feeling like my most precious parts were unclean & disgusting, & to touch them was inappropriate & gross.

Yet, all of those messages are supposed to magically fall away when my husband would like to become intimate with me. I still find this so confusing.

My parents never taught me about the good kind of sex; the beautiful kind of love you make with your husband. The kind that isn’t sinful; the kind that is filled with love.

I wish they would have; with every part of me I wish they would have. But I can’t entirely blame them; perhaps they didn’t know. Perhaps they were never taught the healthy way, either.

Sometimes I think that if my parents — not my high school friends, or The Bible, or the internet, or my ex-boyfriend, but my parents — would have given me the information I so needed to know about sex, the intimate relationship I have with my husband today would be quite different.

Maybe I would feel confident to make love to him.
Maybe I would feel like sex is beautiful & sacred & wonderful.
Maybe I would feel like I deserve to have sex & it’s okay to suffice those needs.
Maybe I would want my him to touch me & pleasure me, & I wouldn’t feel like I was sinning.

My entire perspective would be changed, & I would be normal.

Sex is the hardest thing I’m trying to comprehend at this moment. I wish it were easier for me, for the sake of my marriage & my precious husband, who has been so very patient. Sex just doesn’t come naturally for me. For Jonathan & I, it is the source of many arguments & frustrations. There are tears, angry words, & broken promises.

It’s such a heavy burden to carry, & because of all the drama surrounding it, I’m not sure I want it anymore. And then, of course, I think of how silly that sounds (to not want to have sex), & then it’s back to drawing board. It’s an ongoing cycle of aggravation, resentment, confusion, guilt, & hope.

I don’t know what it’s like to make love & to enjoy sex — truly enjoy it for what it is, with my husband, my very best friend. I don’t know what it’s like to feel sexy. I don’t know how to just let go, & view sex in a positive way. (With all of my might, I wish I did.)

When I engage in intimate moments with my husband, I feel like a little girl all over again, & my thoughts keep repeating “This is wrong. This is sinful. This is disgusting. You shouldn’t enjoy this.”

I don’t know how to make those thoughts stop. But I’m trying my damnedest.

/ / /

Fast forward to today . . .

I feel deeply comfortable with my sexuality. I enjoy sex. I seek it, I ask for it, I surrender to it. I have healed the wounds of sexual trauma & dogma, & have found my own truths. Now, I write about & celebrate sexual liberation & I work one-on-one with women to help them step out of shame & into erotic power.

What a difference six years makes.

Of course, my journey isn’t done—this is a path made by walking, & there’s always more to uncover, release, & reclaim.

How different are you now since you began your sexual liberation journey? Tweet me.

(Have yet to begin? I’d love to help if you want guidance. Just send me an email & we can talk.)

An Open Letter to Women Who Squirt

woman lying back in pink water

// photo by Edie Sunday

A study came out recently by way of the Journal of Sexual Medicine where a group of French researchers were trying to scientifically understand (i.e., debunk) the “controversial” nature & origin of squirting—a.k.a., female ejaculation.

What they found in their study of 7 women between the ages of 18-56 was this:

“[S]quirting is essentially the involuntary emission of urine during sexual activity.”

Now, I have all kinds of problems with this study—their use of only 7 women in their research; their calling squirting “controversial”; & the implication that scientists know women’s bodies better than women know their bodies themselves. And I have even more of an issue with their findings (pee?—really, scientists? How about you tell that to my Skene’s gland).

But I’m not going to write about that (though I did have a nice vent on Facebook about this).

Instead, what I want to do is write a little letter of love & support to all the squirters on this planet. Because something tells me that this study will cause many women to feel goo-gobs of shame about their orgasm & question the way their body expresses pleasure.

So this is for them.
It’s also for me, a woman who squirts.

/ / /

Dear Women Who Squirt:

A study came out recently that says that your ejaculation—also called by the ancient Taoists ambrosia—is urine. You might be as pissed off about this as I am. Or maybe you feel confused because this doesn’t speak at all to your experience of orgasm.

Or. . . maybe you’re feeling a little grossed out & are inching toward never having a gushing orgasm again.

Here’s what I want to say to you, no matter what your response to this ridiculous news is:

Do not let scientists tell you about the way your beautiful womanly body expresses & experiences pleasure.

Don’t let doctors do it.
Don’t let psychologists do it.
Don’t let your boyfriend or your wife do it.

You are the expert of your body. You are the expert of your juicy orgasm. No one else.

Please, do not allow people with fancy degrees & uppercase letters after their names contradict what you inherently know to be true in your body, in your yoni. Do not let them impose their beliefs onto you.

Remember: It was doctors who told you that your clitoral orgasm was “immature.” It was doctors who continued to debate (& still do to this very day!) the existence of your g-spot & its orgasms. It was doctors who called your sexual urges a form of hysteria & prescribed hysterectomies as a cure.

So you see, scientists, doctors, psychologists, people of power, can be wrong.

Please don’t take their word for it.

Take your body’s word for it. That is the only voice that matters.

If anything anyone ever says about your orgasm sounds contrary to your own common sense & body experience—like that your orgasm is controversial—chuck it in the garbage.*

And please, continue to squirt. Continue giving yourself sweet, exquisite, incredible gushing orgasms—yes, even if it is urine (& it very most likely isn’t). That is one fun way to fight ignorance & falsehood.

But especially, celebrate your orgasm & the way that you come, whether it’s gushing or vaginal or clitoral or cosmic.

Sincerely yours,

Ev’Yan
(a woman who squirts)

*Which is precisely what I’m going to do with the information found in this study.

 

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