In honor of Sexual Health Awareness Month I’ve decided to shared my story. I’m a firm believer that in order to be more sexually confident physically you must start mentally. This blog post is a dedication to myself and to the women that want to embark on their journey towards sexual liberation.
It wasn’t until I hit my early adulthood that I found out about my clitoris and the power it held. Before then I assumed my vagina consisted off a “pee hole” which would also be the place that a man’s penis would go (within the context of marriage). Masterbation, though it was never talked about by my parents, was something I saw as filthy, sinful, and shameful even though I only heard about it in the context of it being something that men would only engage in when they watched porn or thought about sex but couldn’t get it. Anything dealing with sexuality outside of marriage was forbidden to engage in (because the Bible said so) and if it was talked about it leaned more on the opinionated and subjective side of pastors and leaders who were eating their fill (in other words, they had legs to lay in between at the end of the night). Ummm, sexual frustration ain't your testimony Pastor.
Oh yeh! Let’s not forget the condemnation from black church folk and damnation to eternal hell messages that was repeatedly indoctrinated in me since an early age. Mix that with an 18 year old girl who enjoyed reading erotica because puberty signaled to her body that it’s time to procreate (and ONLY procreate)? A sexually repressed black girl affected by religious trauma is what you get. Thankfully, my parents were somewhat open-minded and talked about sex with me but I still felt that the church cultivated a shame in me that was hard to shake.
An Opened Can Of Worms
I lost my virginity at 18. My memory of it is a blur but I do remember “God is watching you” while my ex-boyfriend and I tried to sneakily have sex and then out of nowhere his mom pulls into the driveway. Even though our time was cut short I remember the moment where I felt the most closest and connected to him. That was a feeling I would never forget. I also won’t forget the shame I felt after enjoying it.
Fast forward to when I started college after a few sexual experiences, some good and some bad, I decided that my social and religious conditioning was better for me to embrace more than building a healthy view towards my sexuality. You could say that I was having sex for all the wrong reasons like trying to get a man or keep a man. Anytime I had sex it was about the pleasure of who I engaged it with. I never once looked at it from the perspective of how I can get to know myself and the way God made my body to explore this aspect of life.
Back I ran to social and religious conditioning where I decided to become celibate. For 4 ½ years I didn't have any sexual contact but I still desired sex.
The Turning Point
During those 4 years, I learned a lot about myself even without sexual contact. I grew to be more confident in who I am as a person and I was able to develop mentally and emotionally where I no longer relied on a man to make me feel valuable. I also developed self-control as a woman with a high libido. I did notice that the same thing that I experienced in church as a child was still being endorsed 20 years later through the “Purity Culture”. Church groups for single women, books, rings, and conferences infiltrated my life as I entertained the idea that if I do these things then God will send me a man. My mind was set on if I keep myself pure then my Boaz (my husband) will rescue me from my sexual drought. In the Black church I saw favoritism shown to those that were young and married over those that were single. A few other things in regards to the purity culture in the church left a bad taste in my mouth.
It wasn’t until I started a job as a life coach to a 27 year old African-American male with cerebral palsy that a shift took place in my mind on taking control of my sexuality. Occasionally he would ask me if I would hook him up with a girl but there were times we had deep conversations on how people automatically assumed that he was asexual because he had a disability. From lessons on how to approach a girl to finding relief from sexual frustration through self-pleasure, I believe I learned more from him than he learned from me. There I was trying to help a young man who was born in a wheelchair be better in life when deep down I wondered am I truly living a satisfying one by living in the box that society and religion placed me in. Just accepting the fact that marriage might not be what God/the universe has for me is what pushed me in the direction of building a new relationship with my sexuaity. And to deny myself from such a good thing isn’t good for my mental and physical health because as we know (or should know) healthy sex (whether with a partner or solo) has amazing benefits no matter if you are single, married, or in between. Sex is beneficial, period.
After a few trial runs and building a new relationship with my clitoris, I’ve fell in love with body and with the things it can do. I’ve also fell deeper in love with the God who created it. I’m on a continuous journey of breaking down the walls of sexual shame in my life and leading other women to do also. I’ve also decided to not place my pleasure in the hands of another man (that’s the feminist side of me) because if I do get married I think my husband will greatly benefit from me knowing what I like and don’t like and if I never get married at least I can get myself off.