One of the biggest shifts I’ve made in my sex life over the years and that I encourage my clients to make is away from the painful dynamic of men hunting reluctant women down for sex, towards the more enjoyable dynamic of both partners owning the totality of their sexuality and showing up to a sexual encounter turned on.
By turned on I mean showing up as equally desiring and responsible for the sex—being ready to play, rather than reluctant, or obligatory. When I’ve done this, a whole new level of sexual innovation becomes possible.
I just had this experience with a lover.
He texted me and said, “Would you like to know what I want to do to you when I see you Saturday night?”
I felt heat rush through my body, and a small giggle escaped by lips. I felt slightly nervous and excited—and of course I wanted to know! So I and fired off a few hiding-monkey emojis then said, “Yes.”
He proceeded to tell me, in wonderful detail, the delicious, slightly dirty, very sexy acts he wanted to perform on my body during our date.
And then I did something that 5 years ago I never would have done. I send him a huge smile face and said, “OK!!!”
He was shocked. He wrote, “Oh my God, I am so happy that’s your reaction!”
Because it’s not the one we are conditioned to hear as men or to give as women in sex.
Many of us as men have been conditioning to have the opposite experience: where we reveal our desires to our lover or partner, and are met with reluctance or disgust. Where our advances are denied or criticized. Getting the sex we need involves “work” on our part. And we had better expect to be rejected a good amount of the time!
Many of us as women have been conditioned to NOT enjoy sexual offers and to become squeamish or swat them away—regardless of whether we are aching to be touched inside or not. It’s as if it’s part of the Disney script: he reaches out, we pull back and squirm, he persists and then we finally we can fall into his arms and he can ravish us.
Why do we do this? First off, squeamishness around sex is normal. It’s vulnerable, physically and emotionally. It makes sense that we have our guards up to some degree—and there are healthy reasons to keep that guard up.
More interesting for me, however, are the social reasons why we keep this pattern going—most notably the very real threat posed to the fabric of society when women openly like and want sex. Not when we want it for “him” or do it as a favor to men or in oder to look sexy or comply with beauty standards—but for ourselves and our pleasure. Because WE want it. Because it feels good.
When women are no longer objects that men pursue, but are instead willing sexual partners—our beloved stereotypes shatter and we’re thrust into the unknown together without our typical protective shells. When women openly exercise our sexual power, our culture shifts.
So why don’t we fully own our sexuality as women?
Because hundreds of years of shaming women’s sexual expression has led us to cope with our own innate, physical desire for sex by pawning that desire off onto MEN—and pretending THEY are the ones who want sex. Not us.
This sets up a dynamic many of us are familiar with: men chasing after reluctant women for sex. And women showing up to sex lukewarm and expecting him to turn us on and convince us this is worth our time.
The pain this dynamic causes infuriates me. It’s as if we have at our disposal the entire kingdom of pleasure and instead of exploring it together, we are standing at the gate fighting over who go through the metal turnstile first or who is going to pay for the tickets.
The remedy? Buy your own ticket to sexual fulfillment. Explore and embody your own sexuality to the degree that you aren’t tempted to pawn it off on anyone—but can play back to his advances, and make ones yourself. Because the old rules about gender roles don’t apply here. Here, everyone can want and like the sex they want and like.
The payoff? For me it is confidence. Connection. Safety that’s sourced inside of me. Physical pleasure and fulfillment. Exploration and adventure. Feeling loved and adored for who I am—not for a stereotype.
The payoff of owning my sexuality as a woman is not only that I can easily say NO to sex—it’s that I can easily and whole-heartedly say YES.
How would your sexual experiences be different if there was no convincing required? What would happen if your typical sexual dynamic completely changed?
Advocate for women's sexual fulfillment