Last night, I attended an amazing event that left me feeling both incensed and deeply encouraged. The discussion, sponsored by the fantastic online magazine that I write for called Lipstick and Politics, was entitled “Sexual Intelligence and the Politics of Sex.”
The conversation was led by two sex and relationship experts and began by addressing some of the insecurities that women experience when it comes to appreciating their sexuality. Often, as women, we feel we must live up to external standards of sexuality. If we don’t reach orgasm in a particular way, for example, we often worry that there is something wrong with us. This negative self-talk, however, is destructive and unnecessary because every woman experiences her sexuality in a unique way, and that is wonderful.
The conversation then began to shift and the focus became the larger, socio-political implications of the ways in which women relate to their sexuality and their bodies. Why is it that we feel we need to live up to the expectations of others?
It is largely due to the patriarchal scaffolding that still supports much of our culture. If more women could truly own their sexuality, it would give them a confidence and power that they could employ in other areas of life. Attempts to limit the kinds of birth control that women have access to and efforts to take away our choices when it comes to our own bodies are insidious forms of control that serve to maintain the patriarchal status quo. Ultimately, it will be our agency as women – and our willingness to stand up for our and empower ourselves – that will result in positive social change.