10 Signs You Are a ‘Good Girl’ & 10 Tips for Discovering Your ‘Good Woman.’

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Photo: Scarabuss

 Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice? Eh…I’ll Pass.

I’m noticing more and more these days that we women (my perfectionist, Virgo self included) have a hard time letting go of being a ‘good girl.’ You know, the one all in pink who sits quietly in church, never tells a lie and is the apple of daddy’s eye?

No, you don’t, because she doesn’t exist. As much as we try to be that ‘good girl,’ our desire sneaks out in a lot of ways (that energy has to go somewhere) and the work of trying to mitigate our desire leaves us feeling exhausted doting on others and guilty in our inadequacy. Or perhaps we’ve rejected our desire for so long that we react in anger and blame those who ‘took advantage of us.’

But that’s all in the past, right? We are grown women living in the 21st century—free to choose what we want, whenever we want it.

Well, not exactly.

Our bodies may have matured, but the way that we interact with the world has changed very little from when we were four years old. In fact, we still live in a society that reinforces the notion of a high-class lady as being pre-pubescent thin, impossibly beautiful and, above all, very proper. Any other type of woman is troubled, ‘too much,’ crazy, a slut, etc. (You’d never see Prince William fight for the hand of  Lady Gaga, even if he were madly in love with her.)

To break out of the ‘good girl’ mold, you don’t have to become Lady Gaga (one is enough, thank you). But you will have to confront and let go of a lot of old ways of relating that kept you safe and comfortable in the past.

I’m not going to sugar coat it: change hurts. Or more precisely, it burns. But the reward—discovering your ‘Good Woman’—is worth the time in the fire (or, at the very least, the sex is a whole lot better).

"The Curse of the Good Girl" by Rachel Simmons

10 Signs You Are a ‘Good Girl’ (and 10 Tips for Discovering Your ‘Good Woman’)

1. A good girl runs from fear. A good woman embraces it.

A good girl doesn’t want to rock the boat. She’s afraid of hurting people, going outside the box…essentially she is afraid of life. A good woman doesn’t escape her fear, but she leans into it because she knows her ultimate fulfillment comes from discovering the desire on the other side.

2. A good girl denies her hunger. A good woman relishes it.

“Oh, no thank you, I’m full.”

“Oh I’ll just have the diet platter.”

“I’ll skip dessert. I’m being good this week.”

We’ve all heard the catchphrase of women still caught in ‘good girl’ mentality. And we also know that women dieting are most likely not having sex (at least, not the kind of sex that they want). And this doesn’t mean that a good woman is stuffing her face all the time and pigging out on Cheetos and bon-bons. But a good woman slows down and knows herself well enough to choose what is nourishing and relish every bite…whether it’s the grilled fish and asparagus, or the double chocolate chip cake. She eats life to feed her soul, not to numb the sensation.

3. A good girl withholds. A good woman adjusts.

A good girl is going to tell her partner what she thinks he wants to hear, but in the process, she holds back a piece of her voice. That unspoken desire sits in her body and, over time, rots into shame and resentment. Thus, she will (consciously or unconsciously) do things to her partner to punish him—and ultimately herself. A good woman tells her partner the truth. She approves of him/her and learns to calibrate her words so she can be heard and received, while fully expressing what it is she wants. She adjusts her partner (and desires to receive the same kind of attention and honesty in return).

4. A good girl receives with guilt. A good woman receives with grace.

Good girls may accept a gift, but there is always a string of “you shouldn’t have,” or “that’s too much” or “you didn’t have to do this” that comes along with it. She has to knock herself down a few notches in order to make it acceptable to receive, lest she feel her hunger (and subsequent shame) that comes with receiving. A good woman says “thank you.” Just thank you. Because she knows she is worthy (without the insecure timbre of entitlement). She listens to her hunger, knows when she is full and pours out genuine gratitude.

5. A good girl does what looks right. A good woman does what feels right.

A good girl follows a tried-and-true structure that will elicit positive reinforcement from her partner and the people in her life. A good woman moves from an instinctual compass. While it may look messy from the outside, deep within her body, she knows it is the path for her.

6. A good girl stuffs her anger. A good woman alchemizes it.

Good girls don’t get angry. Bullshit. They just stuff it until it seeps out as passive aggressiveness. A good woman acknowledges her anger in the moment and feels into it so she can know where she is out of integrity in her life. From there, she can use the force of that anger as power to change course.

7. A good girl strives for perfection. A good woman lives in perfection.

A good girl lives her life seeking to perfect perceived ‘impurities’ in her life, so she is never fully able to relax and drop into the present, lest someone catch a glimpse of her ugliness. A good woman sees every moment as perfect, with both its divinity and its humanity.

8. A good girl’s desire is frozen. A good woman’s desire is dynamic.

A good girl is bred to want the same thing every day and desire only so much as is socially acceptable. She has lost the connection to the freedom that comes with spontaneity. In fact, she will often deny that she wants the very thing that will give her the deepest satisfaction. A good woman’s desire ebbs and flows like the tide: small and humble in one moment, wild and tempestuous in the next. But it is always, always authentic.

9. A good girl submits. A good woman surrenders.

A good girl submits, relinquishing her power to perceived authorities in order to escape the clamoring cry of her orgasm. A good woman surrenders control to her orgasm, and thus, holds her own amongst the truly powerful.

10. A good girl waits for the fairy tale. A good woman creates her own legacy.

A good girl is still trapped in a tower, like a virginal princess waiting in vain for Prince Charming to save her. Over time, she can turn jaded and bitter, a ‘victim’ of the happily-ever-after story society sold to her. A good woman turns the key to the door, descends the tower staircase and, like a Queen, enters the vast terrain of her own pleasure. It is from this place that she can choose the life she truly desires.


Editor: Brianna Bemel

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anonymous Sep 14, 2015 10:37am

Good girls are guided by holy spirit & they’ll always

hates evils.

anonymous Apr 1, 2015 12:52pm

You don't know what a good girl is. A good girl is a good woman who respects and values herself and others regardless of who they are, what they've done or where they came from. Is not define by society but by her own individuality.

anonymous May 28, 2013 10:34am


anonymous Aug 14, 2012 12:33pm

[…] Your parents said you were a good girl or a bad boy. If your parents regularly commented on you being a “good boy” or […]

anonymous May 19, 2012 9:07am

[…] a part of society, I’ve been conditioned to look good, to have acceptable attitudes and emotions and to never to say no. I’ve learned to never say,” I don’t like […]

anonymous May 1, 2012 11:48pm

[…] At that point, I think my father has blended into my ex-husband again, so I am unsure if the woman coming home was my stepmother or my ex’s current partner. It really doesn’t matter who the woman was. What matters is the feeling of loneliness, the hollowness in my chest and the tight ball in my throat. Again, I had the sense of “bucking up” and “being a big girl” in order to make room for those aroun… […]

anonymous May 1, 2012 7:46am

[…] […]

anonymous Apr 30, 2012 7:09pm

fabulous! found you through earthmother events…so awesome!

    anonymous May 1, 2012 12:43pm

    wonderful! so glad you liked it!

anonymous Apr 27, 2012 10:44pm

Lovely article, so eloquent . I am grateful for my own ongoing process of outgrowing the good girl I never was and becoming the good woman I strive to be.

    anonymous Apr 28, 2012 9:36am

    Thanks for reading!

      anonymous Apr 28, 2012 12:36pm

      Thanks for writing! I forgot to ask if you have read Appetites by Caroline Knapp. I recently started reading it, she addressed these very same themes.

        anonymous Apr 30, 2012 10:40am

        I have read it many years ago…GREAT book!!

anonymous Apr 27, 2012 1:15am

Thank you for this hugely inspirational piece which resonates with me in so many levels.

    anonymous Apr 27, 2012 11:52am

    Thank you so much for reading!! I am glad the piece speaks to you!

anonymous Apr 27, 2012 1:03am

Thank you so! Some years ago I also started writing about what makes the difference between a girl and a woman. Just making a list. I should pick up my list and see where I am NOW.
Thanks for the reminder!

    anonymous Apr 27, 2012 11:51am

    Sounds like a fabulous exploration! Glad the piece resonated with you 🙂

anonymous Apr 26, 2012 6:27pm

[…] 10 Signs You Are a ‘Good Girl’ & 10 Tips for Discovering Your ‘Good Woman.’ […]

anonymous Apr 26, 2012 3:14pm

I LOVE THIS!!! Thank you.

anonymous Apr 22, 2012 5:11pm

who needs good…I'm shooting for fabulous 🙂 beautifully written and stunningly accurate!

anonymous Apr 22, 2012 5:52am

wow!! just what I needed to hear now. At the age of 40 I'm trying to break free from the good girl and am left wondering why I wasn't more rebellious when I was growing up and why I was such a good girl. Fear, rejection and craving love comes to mind.
Thanks for this

anonymous Apr 22, 2012 4:31am

Probably like many "men," after knowing a few girls over the years, every once in a while I've met a strong woman. Like Dr. John (New Orleans), "I'm weak for a strong woman." I will love you all the more for being and wanting to be as much your genuine self as much as possible and never expect you to be perfect and think of you as being perfect anyway just because you know (most of the time) who you are, what you like, what you love, what turns you on, what you need, what you prefer, and I'll be totally forever in love with you wherever you are and whatever you do and groove on you completely as possible just because you're as much you as you can be in present time. And if you smile at me in my presence, you'll own me right now for right now and i'll know you're grooving on it too. namaste

anonymous Apr 19, 2012 11:19pm

just 2 words: Thank you!
I needed it! Embracing and changing.

    anonymous Apr 22, 2012 12:18am

    Thanks for reading! So glad it impacted you 🙂

Kate Bartolotta Apr 19, 2012 3:15pm

Candice I don't like this. I looooove it! Amazing & so right on.

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Candice Holdorf

Candice Holdorf is a writer, performer, sex + life coach and Orgasmic Meditation trainer. She is currently working on her book, “From 6 to 9 and Beyond: Widening the Lens of Feminine Eroticism.” You can pre-order your copy here. She is a writer for elephantjournal and The Good Men Project, as well as a performer and public speaker specializing in desire, sexuality and Orgasmic Meditation. She is also a former yoga teacher and recovering anorexic who has discovered that there is tremendous power inside of hunger. Find out more about Candice on her blog, follow her on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube