By Nina Dulac
Sex. There it is again. That word. Sex. That forbidden word. That word that holds so many meanings for so many people. For women, it would appear that in regards to sex we still walk a tightrope one foot at a time, dangerously swaying from side to side. One step to far to the right: Sluts. One step to far to the left: Prudes. All you have to do is keep balance right? Wrong.
In an ideal world, sex would mean the blissful union of two (or more) people coming together to explore pleasure, connection, desire, passion, intimacy and what it means to share something of yourself with another. It would be an experience in which you would always feel a deep sense of trust, safety and respect, where one would be able to loose themselves in the pure ecstasy of the moment and know there would be no judgment or shame to follow afterwards.
But this is not an ideal world. In this world many women find themselves pressured, manipulated and forced into sex. Growing up raised by a single mother who was always surrounded by a group of supportive female friends, I was familiar with stories of rape, abuse, and sexual assault and the response to these things occurring being “oh well, that’s just life” as if such things are a normal part of living, something to expect even. These stories have become so common in my life amongst people I am very close with and such things have even become a part of my experience. Sex became something to fear, something to be nervous about, something to be ashamed about and I have a feeling this is widely felt by others across the world. In this world, sexual abuse has become so common, the line has become so blurred that women are no longer able to identify the difference between what is abuse and what isn’t.
We are shamed for both having sex and not having it. We use our body’s to seek self-validation and worth. We repress our sexual appetites out of fear of how we will be perceived. We apologize for our sexual urges and even resist or deny pleasure. Sex has become an ‘enter at your own risk’ game like sticking your hand into a lucky dip and not knowing what experience you might pull out.
There is increasing pressure on women to be sexualized creatures and the definition of what is sexy is becoming a smaller, more restricted box that most of us just can’t fit in to. Those of us who feel we don’t meet these standards, find ourselves feeling unattractive and in some cases unworthy. We as a gender find ourselves -accepting relationships in which are wholly built on sex with partners who are unwilling to take it to a deeper emotional level therefore leaving us feeling like sex is all we have to offer.
On the flip side of this, we also have pressure put on us to hide their sexualities and sexual impulses, we are told to dress ‘modestly’ to be taken seriously and respected, in other words, cover our bodies so that we have a small chance of being accepted as intelligent beings and not just objects of sexual desire. I was once told by a boy that my limited number of sexual partners made me desirable and worth respect and once I began to explore my sexuality I was told that I was no longer beautiful and “pure”.
The views on sex in regards to women are both backwards and unjust and it is high time for a change.
So how do you manage? How do we make this change? How do you find the balance? How do you become a respected woman who enjoys sex, her body and isn’t shamed for those basic human needs? How do we as a collective shake off centuries of guilt and sexual shaming that cripples us as a whole? That is so entrenched in our human history that are beginning to think things that should be considered abuse are normal?
It starts with us, it starts with us trusting in each other and supporting each other. It starts with us accepting that we are empowered sexual beings and that we can have healthy and enjoyable sex lives with partners who appreciate and respect us as human beings and not as an object of pleasure. It starts with us accepting that our sexuality is a natural and sacred part of who we are, not something we should be ashamed of. It starts with teaching our daughters that their sexuality is sacred and something to value and honor. If we start with us and work together we can make an impact on the world.
About the Author
My name is Nina Dulac, I’m a young actress who recently left my home in Sydney Australia to move to London to pursue my career. I am incredibly passionate about gender equality and think it’s incredibly important to get people talking and sharing with eachother. I like to write about the distorted views of gender, sex and feminism in society and would like to help or inspire others. I am interested in cultures and think now is the time more than it has ever been to come together and break the stereotypes. It is my hope to share my ideas and have other people connect with them and I feel most comfortable doing that through writing.