For years I let men “teach” me about my body and sex.
I let them tell me what I should like and how I should like it. I let them teach me what was normal, what I should feel, and how I should be able to get off.
This sounds a bit crazy, right? Crazy that we would expect a man to know more about our bodies than we do, and allow them to act as guides to our own bodies. And yet, I see this happen over and over again, both with clients and friends, and those early instances in my own life before I decided that I did not want to trust a man to be the guidebook to my body. I was going to become my own expert on myself.
There’s an unspoken (or sometimes spoken) idea carried down through our mother’s and grandmother’s generations that it is taboo to look at and explore our own bodies and discover our own pleasure—particularly in religious and patriarchal cultures. It is a subject of deep shame and something to hide. Sex isn’t talked about. Orgasms definitely aren’t talked about, or how to be empowered with sex and ask for what you need from a sexual partner—or even how to get to that point of self-discovery to know what to ask for.
I remember an instance as a teenager when I was on my period and my boyfriend said to me, “Oh, you’re probably really horny then. Girls always get so crazy horny when they’re on their period. Let’s have sex.”
This did not resonate with me at all. I always felt like cuddling (in a completely non-sexual way) and watching a movie when I was on my period. Preferring to take a hot bath or being alone to create, as the creative magic can feel extra strong during this time in my cycle.
But I assumed he was right—because he was a man, so why wouldn’t he be? Why wouldn’t he know more about my body and sex than I knew? So I kept my mouth shut because the only thing this could mean, to my warped young self, was that something was drastically wrong with me as a woman. And there was no way I wanted to let him know that, or he might decide he wanted to be with a girl who wasn’t broken and who was “crazy horny” on her period—the way she was supposed to be.
I believed men when they told me it wasn’t “normal” how I usually needed foreplay to get my body turned on and ready for penetration, so—for years, with partner after partner—I slapped on extra lube and let them do what they wanted before my body was turned on to a point of being able to enjoy it.
I believed them when they said it was my duty as a woman to give them pleasure—however and whenever they wanted it—because “men have needs.”
I believed them when they said I should have “porn sex” because that’s what’s normal, that’s what men want, and that I should enjoy it as much as the women in the porn they voraciously consumed obviously do (side note: porn is a performance and has nothing to do with reality or women’s pleasure.)
I believed them when they said I should love the taste of semen, and again thought that the fact that I didn’t, because it had been forced down my throat as I choked so many times, meant that there was something wrong with me as a woman.
I believed them when they said that I should be able to orgasm from just having a penis inside of me, no foreplay or clit stimulation necessary.
I believed them when they told me I should never need lube.
I believed so many things that were wildly untrue, and yet, had me feeling for years that I was broken. That there was something wrong with me sexually—something wrong with me as a woman.
Until one day it was enough, and I decided I was done taking advice from men on my body and that I would become my own expert on myself.
And you know what I learned?
>> Less than one in five women can have an orgasm from vaginal stimulation alone.
>> The approximate amount of foreplay a woman’s body needs to be turned on and ready for penetration is 19 minutes.
>> Porn is not “real.”
>> Porn is not about women or women’s pleasure.
>> Most porn is all about men’s pleasure and incredibly damaging because the reality that it portrays is so far from the truth. (I am aware that I am making a sweeping generality here. I know that some women love watching porn, some couples love watching porn together, and there is a new movement of “conscious porn.” I also know that there are so many studies over recent years that are showing how damaging porn is to our culture as a whole, to men, to young girls and boys learning about sex for the first time, to relationships, and to sex lives. If this triggers something in you, I would invite you to do some research on the subject.)
Every woman’s body and needs are different. That is what makes us so beautiful, mysterious, and sensual. Find a man who is turned on by that.
Find a man who wants to discover and uncover the mystery of you and spend a lifetime doing that, rather than a man who tells you “this is how you should be and if you’re not this way there’s something wrong with you.”
I’m all about men educating themselves on women’s bodies, just as I’m all about women educating themselves on men’s bodies. But there is a huge imbalance in our society where men have the sexual power and are seen as the experts. Especially if a man might tell them something that isn’t true for them—but they don’t know if it’s right or not—so they might feel like they are broken, and instead of speaking up about their needs and getting the pleasure they that is their right, they keep quiet.
And this breaks my heart.
So sisters, if this resonates with you—stop letting men be the experts on you and your body! Begin a journey of self-discovery and exploration. There should be no shame here—only pleasure. Become the expert on yourself and have fun doing it.
By the way, I am not in the business of bashing men. I love men. I don’t love when men try to manipulate women into having sex or thinking that there is something wrong with them. Men, please take an honest look at yourself and instances in your past when you might have done this to women—whether intentionally or not. Educate yourself, as well.