We are, in fact, sexual beings. We are also, in fact, beings with bodies. How sad is it then, that so many of us carry a whole lot of shame, guilt, anxiety and disgust about and within our beautiful bodies. Rejecting, neglecting and denying our very essence. Carrying this in to our relationships and perpetuating the insanity with our future generations.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a ‘free loving’, exhibitionist who loves to share intimate details with everyone. I’m more on the “I don’t kiss and tell” side of the spectrum. But … I am forever grateful to my parents and girlfriends for giving me the gift to grow up in an environment where my body wasn’t something to be ashamed of. Nor my sexuality.
I remember when I was in my teens and my mum brought me back a fluorescent yellow bikini from St Tropez, excited to share the latest fashion from the south of France with me. Upon exiting the water after a swim in the surf, my girlfriends enlightened me that it was, in fact, completely see through when wet. What’s a girl to do, other than confidently keep walking down the beach as if, “tout est normal”.
If I think of the stories I hear about how other girls may have reacted to that situation, it horrifies me, the potential ridicule and shame my peers could have projected on to me. A feeling of shame that could have “stuck” for years or maybe even my entire life. But not my gorgeous girlfriends … we had a laugh about it, and moved on.
Fast forward a few more years, in my 20s, and my dad gives me some solid advice … “sweetheart, it’s best not to settle down with the first guy you have a relationship with. You’ve got to try a few out so you know that who you end up with is the best one for you.” Was my dad, seriously telling me to sleep around? Not exactly. But it turns out, that it was the best advice I could have received. I’m a hopeless romantic and “falling in love” was my specialty. Whilst I had a handful of boyfriends in my 20s who were sweet and kind and absolutely wonderful in so many ways … they wouldn’t have been “right” for me long-term, and I certainly wouldn’t have been “right” for them long-term either. My husband, whom I met when I was in my 30s, on the other hand, is perfect for me and me for him. By having previous relationships, I knew in an instant, as soon as we started hanging out together, that he was my “match” because I knew EXACTLY what I was looking for in a long-term lover, life partner and friend.
Ok, so I’m certainly not encouraging anyone to leave the love of their life if they do happen to be so lucky and meet them early in life. Nor am I advocating multiple sexual partners throughout your life if it doesn’t feel like a nurturing kindness to you and your body.
The point I’m trying to make is that our body is nothing to be ashamed of, and nor is our expression of sexuality. (*between consenting adults, of course)
So, yes, I realise I was fortunate with extraordinary parents and friends who provided me with a healthy environment to grow in to a woman who is confident in her body and with her sexuality. But what about those of us who aren’t? Who do we turn to? How do we let go of any shame, guilt, anxiety or disgust?
I’m certainly no expert on sexuality, but what I do know is that it’s as individual and unique as the hairs on our head. What I also know, is that being comfortable and confident with our own unique body and expression of sexuality is nothing to be ashamed of, or anxious about. The shame, guilt and disgust that we carry may be nothing more than somebody else’s projections about what is right or wrong; good or bad; and acceptable or not.
I recently caught up with one of my favourite women in the social space of sharing about sexuality, and here’s what Elena had to say:
The most important sexual relationship you will have in your life is the relationship with yourself. In order to have epic sex life with a partner, learn to have epic sex with yourself first.The Yoni Empire
If this is a topic that you do have stress and anxiety with, whilst also being a topic that you’d love to explore further, make peace with, and have fun with, then I encourage you to check out Elena’s posts at The Yoni Empire. She has a beautiful way of talking about bodies and sexuality.4