I love sex. Yep, I said it. Though I may be the only one among my friends who’s comfortable discussing sex, it took me a while to get here.
I was taught very differently growing up and sometimes those voices, shaming me for enjoying myself and my body, still ring in my head. But very rarely nowadays. I know how to shut them up; because I learned sex isn’t just about sex. It’s about loving our whole selves and taking back our power around how we take care of our bodies, as well as our relationships.
That’s why the good girl/bad girl dichotomy is so dangerous. It keeps us from owning who we are and creating our relationships in the ways that are important to us. If we’re subject to the definitions of others, it constrains us and keeps us from finding what’s right for us—whatever that might be.
I grew up in a religious family, where any sex outside of marriage was absolutely forbidden. It was wrong, a sin, and carried with it a punishment. Even certain sexual acts within a marriage were frowned upon (oral sex for one). As a ‘good girl’ I received the clear message that sex was only acceptable at certain times in woman’s life, in certain ways, and with certain people.
LEARNING THE RULES TO BREAK THEM
Early on, I worked hard at playing by the rules. I was a good student. I was polite to my elders, and (usually) remembered to do my chores. I was kind to others, said my prayers, and attended church three times a week or more.
As I got older, I started to bend the rules because I wasn’t sure they made sense. I saw the debate play itself out not only in my head, but in the conversations I had with my amigas.
While some friends could laugh and say they enjoyed this or that sexual encounter, there was no denying that the sentiment always came with a lot of guilt. Not only that, but it shocked me how many of my friends—even if they had had sex—had either 1) never had an orgasm, or 2) never really enjoyed the whole experience to its fullest.
So did it make me a bad girl to enjoy sex? To have had an orgasm or gasp (!), multiple?
I guess I’ve been fantastically lucky to have had warm, supportive and caring partners—both in and out of bed. Not exclusively, of course; I have had a couple notable exceptions to this rule. However, as a result of the pleasurable experiences, I learned to enjoy my sexuality in a safe environment that allowed me to experiment in a way that was mutually enjoyable for my partner and me.
I’ve learned to laugh in bed, as well as be strongly, deeply touched. I am continuously amazed at the capacity for pleasure my body affords me, and I have learned how to be responsible with my sexuality and my sexual health.
Aware of the taboos in our culture that clashed with my desires, it was important for me to have been able to find a peaceful balance with my sexuality. Yes, for me, sex is acceptable outside of marriage, but I want to be responsible and cautious about when and with whom I share my body. In part, because I respect my own desire for joy and sharing.
Does this then make me a good girl?
I strive to pass along healthy viewpoints to my friends, as they share their experiences, stories, and lessons with me. Sharing our sex life with girlfriends is important at every stage of life, helping us through them and to understand the dynamics all the better..
This is not just about our physical pleasure; it’s also about our health.
We can share stories about promiscuous single-girl sex, married sex (or the lack thereof), sex after having a baby, and the changes in sex as our bodies approach menopause. I’ve been able to talk to my friends about how to have one or multiple orgasms, how to get pregnant, and the pros and cons of hormone replacement.
If I hadn’t become comfortable with who I was as a sexual being, these conversations would have be painful and embarrassing at best. Non-existent at worst.
I’m no longer a good girl; nor am I a bad girl. I’m simply a healthy woman who enjoys her sexuality and is grateful that I can. No shame, guilt or embarrassment.
How about you? How did you get past the messages society inflicted on you growing up? Do you consider yourself a good or bad girl?