If you can count the times that you’ve had a real conversation about sexualty either from family or cultural surroundings how many fingers would you have up? When I imply real conversation I am talking about the realities of sexuality as a single, black, millennial woman without it being filtered through tradition and religion. Also, when I state cultural surroundings I mean our immediate family, community, church, etc? For me, I can only count on one hand the amount of times when I was in space where authentic conversations were had about sexuality, dating, and even race for that matter. I include race because, believe it or not, race plays a huge factor in the nature of conversations had. As I dive into the Pillow Talk Series, I will share my views on the many facets of sex from the lense of a black woman.
As a Black woman who was raised in the Black church my sexuality was decided for me. The way I should engage in sex was decided for me. The way I should look at myself in regards to purity and being desirable for marriage was decided for me. I did not have the space to think for myself because of this and I still am recovering from years of being told that if I hold myself then God would send me a man. If you’re like me you know the struggle. After almost 5 years of being celibate I decided to take control of my sexualty and I started the conversation with myself on why I thought the way I thought -- even deeper, why I chose to believe what I believed. I started to dig deep. I questioned everything. I cried. I accepted the emotions that ran deep in me as normal instead questionable. In the process of doing that I started searching for truth and I started having bold conversations with friends, family, leaders, and people in the church. These bold conversations started off with bold questions that not only challenged myself but those that have a very strict way of thinking.
“Why should should I suppress my sexuality as if it’s something to be hidden until a man puts a ring on my finger. What if I don’t get married?”
“Why aren’t there any discussions on healthy ways for single women to express their sexuality whether they chose to engage in intercourse or not?” “Damn it, why is chastity the only way?”
These and other questions have stirred some controversy on my social media as people started to question me and my stance on God, holiness, and being an example. But then I realized that I love God, I’m far from perfect, and I CAN be the example that I don’t see in my community by starting the conversation on sexuality. Through starting the conversation here are a few things that I have learned about it.
- There Is No One Size Fits All
There is not a formula on how to make talking about sex or even engaging in sex “perfect”. There’s always going to be preference depending on your social environment and upbringings but one thing is for certain, it is toxic to believe that the way you think is how everyone should think in regards to sexuality. If you were raised in a traditional church then more than likely you were raised to believe that women should save themselves for marriage, marry a straight man, and relinquish sexual control and desires to your husband. But, what if you’re not attracted to men? Should a person live miserably under the expectations on how society thinks you and I should view sexuality? I leave that for you to dig within yourself to find answers. But here is one thing I will say; don’t let anybody force their beliefs on how you should live without you questioning it first.
- Educate Don’t Indoctrinate
I’ve mentioned in my Sexual Emancipation Proclamation that I didn’t know about my clitoris until I was older. Before then I only saw my vagina as an object for a man to use to procreate. That is a got damn shame. What harm will it do to start the conversation about the benefits of knowing about our bodies? What about how self-confidence is so closely related to how much we know about the person we see in the mirror? Let’s dig a little deeper. How many marriages would be saved if expressive sex education is taught so that women and men would feel confident in the bedroom? And to even go deeper, imagine how low the teen-pregnancy rate and STD/HIV rate would be if we educated the youth in our community on safe sex by using protection and birth control as well as promoting abstinence. There should be a healthy balance in each approach and indoctrination, obviously, does more harm than good in the black community and as a black woman I am disgusted.
I’m walking this thing with you sis,
PS. I’m open to hear your stories, answer any questions, or just have a conversation with you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org