Note: Parts of this essay first appeared on my old, no longer active fashion blog, Apricot Tea, in June 2009.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, and thus marks the humble beginnings of Sex Love Liberation which turns four this month.
There’s a lot of pain and confusion in this post. I wrote it when I was 22 and I had yet to fully understand or embrace my innate sexuality. But I think it’s important to honor all the parts of the process of self-discovery, especially the not-pretty parts. And this is one of mine from what feels like ages ago.
Maybe you can relate to my story.
When they gave me the inaugural Birds and 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, and that having it before marriage was a sin. Whenever I tried to find out more about sex from my mother, she would just blush and 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 and 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, and be okay with doing those things, after you’ve been told over and over that sex is bad, dirty, sinful, and therefore, prohibited. (Unless, of course, you’re married, and then it’s all roses and 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 and smelly down there. I grew up feeling like my most precious parts were unclean and disgusting, and to touch them was inappropriate and 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 and sacred and wonderful.
Maybe I would feel like I deserve to have sex and it’s okay to suffice those needs.
Maybe I would want my him to touch me and pleasure me, and I wouldn’t feel like I was sinning.
Maybe my entire perspective would change, and I’d 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 and my precious husband, who has been so very patient. Sex just doesn’t come naturally for me. For Jonathan and I, it is the source of many arguments and frustrations. There are tears, angry words, and broken promises.
It’s such a heavy burden to carry, and 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), and then it’s back to drawing board. It’s an ongoing cycle of aggravation, resentment, confusion, guilt, and hope.
I don’t know what it’s like to make love and 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, and 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, and 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 and dogma and have found my own truths.
Now, I write about sexual liberation and I work one-on-one with women to help them step out of shame and into erotic power.
What a difference six years makes.
Of course, my journey isn’t done—this is a path made by walking, and there’s always more to uncover, release, and reclaim.
How different are you now since you began your sexual liberation journey? Email me and give me a glimpse of you.