As women get older we tend to become more comfortable in our own skin. We are more open about our sexuality. I rarely see a young woman secure in her sex, though many of us are very good at pretending. I’m of the opinion that maturity and wisdom coupled with life experience play a huge part in how we grow, or don’t grow, into our own sexuality.
A woman’s coming of age is often met with shame. Most parents make a young girl feel awkward or embarrassed about her developing body. Menstruation is treated as a foreshadow of trouble to come. What adds to the problem is that, first, most young girls–especially girls of color–develop at an extremely young age. It takes years for their maturity to catch up with their bodies. Second, the topic of sex is taboo within the Black family. Most Black families aren’t comfortable with having an open and honest discussion their children about sexuality. This leaves young girls essentially on their own, armed with a powerful force that they are too young to fully understand.
With this as a backdrop, many women spend decades going through life with a feeling of shame about their sexuality. We are insecure about our bodies. We are too self-conscious to explore. We are afraid to discover what we like or don’t like in bed. We have no idea how to ask our partner to please us. And these only describe the basics. What happens if the woman finds out she has some unusual fetish? Maybe she’s a voyeur or likes to swing. Perhaps she’s attracted to both men and women. Those (not so unique) situations place additional societal pressure on the woman, making her even more uncomfortable with who she is. It leaves the woman unhappy, extremely unfulfilled, and ashamed.
Shame typically breeds self hate. Self hate is usually why so many women are destructive with their sexuality. It’s almost impossible to have a healthy relationship, or a relationship at all, with feelings of shame and self loathing. Some grow out of those feelings and others never do. The ones that grow past them become confident in themselves and are extremely secure in the knowledge of their identity. The women that don’t…well…they remain lost, trapped in an unhappy and confused place they can’t get out of. That’s the best way I can describe that.
I wrote this post because as I get older I find myself contemplating my own sexuality. My coming of age was met with shame. I developed way too young (I hadn’t even made it to junior high yet) and others always made me painfully aware of my body. However how I felt about my body was not translated into my sexuality. My saving grace there was the fact that I was always more mature than my age and I never truly cared about what others thought. I have always been and will forever be a free spirit. Though, like most free spirits I was reckless (yes with my sexuality too). I won’t say that I am discovering it now for the first time but rather I am settling into it. I’m allowing it to be and I am comfortable with it. A sexual epiphany if you will. I figure sharing my sexual enlightenment may encourage others to try to reach theirs. Society already gives us so many things to be ashamed about, we don’t need any more.