“You know that I can’t read your mind about what you want… right?”
They were the words spoken by my partner in the middle of a conversation we had last year about the fact that I am rarely vocal about what I want in the bedroom.
Even though I am extremely attracted to my partner the relationship between my mind and my body has been a struggle prior to our relationship and it’s stemming from something inward.
Based on conversations I have had with other women I know that I am not alone in a lack of confidence when it comes to the bedroom.
There isn’t one answer or reason as to why some of us struggle to voice our desires but this is what I believe to be some of the root causes.
We have been told that our sexuality is something we should be ashamed of
When I was young, I grew up in a religious environment where I was told that it was inappropriate if I were to ever show my shoulders. According to the elders in our churn, my indecency would only cause young men to lust and I was to be blamed if they stumbled in their walk with the lord.
Although this is an extreme instance, women deal with shame when it comes to their sexuality in many different facets.
For example, Britney Spears was considered more “desirable” when she was a virgin and Justin Timberlake used the fact that he slept with her as bragging rights.
On the other end of the spectrum, Shakira and Jlo were criticized for how they dressed at the halftime show.
With so much public outrage and criticism, how are we able to go from being told that we should hide our bodies, to sharing them with our partner/partners?
We aren’t taught that our desires matter
If you were to ask me what the messaging was around my sexual education growing up it would be two things.
- Don’t have sex
- If you have sex, don’t get pregnant, or else your life will be over
Sex and intimacy were always covered in a veil of fear because giving in to those desires could result in a family/child before we were ready.
I was told by leaders in the church that I would get married, have kids, and I would please my husband. There was absolutely no education about women’s pleasure, and how to navigate our own bodies.
Many young girls were left to figure that out on their own, and some of us still haven’t navigated those confusing waters because of the immense shame around our pleasure.
Some of us have to deal with the aftermath of sexual assault
To further complicate the relationship between my body and sexuality, there have been multiple times in my life that I have been sexually assaulted… and it still affects me at times to this day.
There have been moments in the last few years when I am suddenly taken back to being in a car with my ex-boyfriend as I scream for him to stop touching me, or with a trusted family friend that has me trapped against a wall and I can’t see before we’re in a place that is so dark.
Sexual trauma can impact everyone in different ways. In my case, I went through a period of recklessness with my body, and then I began to withdraw and there were times I flinched at the very touch of someone else even if I cared about them.
We don’t always date men that care about our pleasure
My partner is extremely caring and giving to the point where at times I feel as if I need to step it up in the intimacy department. However, prior to our relationship, I dated people who didn’t care or ever even ask what I wanted and it was all about pleasing them.
Writing that makes me ache as I now realize that I shouldn’t have been willing to tolerate behavior towards me, but it took a long time before I realized that I deserved more.
Relationships should be equal when it comes to the bedroom. If someone doesn’t care about you in that arena, it will begin to seep into the rest of the relationship.
Becoming better at communicating what we want intimately begins with us
I share this topic today because my body has always been something that I have struggled with and just when I believe that I’ve figured it out… something comes to the surface.
As confident and self-assured as I can be in the other areas of my life, there are moments when I struggle immensely to open up completely to someone that I have loved for many years… and that is something that I hope to change. I want to know my body intimately and I want to be able to convey what I need without shame or guilt.
If we openly have these conversations without shame or embarrassment as women, we can remind each other that our bodies are powerful and beautiful and our sexuality is something to be embraced… not something that should ever make us feel ashamed.