Ladies: we do ourselves a disservice by keeping our sexual thoughts and experiences to ourselves. Being on TV, starting Scarlet Ladies and talking about my sex life openly isn’t because I am some nutty feminist who is angry at the world. I am just an ordinary black 28 year old woman wanting to feel normal about my sexuality, because I think every woman has the right to feel that way.
If you have ever read anything I have written on the Scarlet Ladies blog or if you attended any of our Talk of the Town panel events you will know that I am, shall we say, pretty open when I talk about sex. And there’s a reason for that.
I believe that sharing and talking openly is the key to changing perceptions: and I believe that changing perceptions is exactly what every woman and man must do when it comes to female sexuality. If you are a news-savvy person (unlike me) you may have seen that I volunteered myself and my vulva for the Channel 4 documentary, “The Super Orgasm” which will air on Thursday 13th at 10pm. You will find me under my bed on Thursday night, basically dying of awkwardness: but the reason why I chose to traumatise my vulva for Channel 4 was to open up a conversation that I think is important.
Since co-founding Scarlet Ladies, I have shared the my own orgasm story countless times, and it basically always ends on the same note: that I like to masturbate. Like, a lot. I believe that masturbation is the key reason for what the documentary describes as my ‘happier sex life’ and ‘super orgasmic’ brain. My new Scarlet Ladies nickname has become The Masturbation Evangelist: I’m very passionate about the importance of masturbating for a happier sexual ‘you’.
But here’s the catch: we ladies might masturbate all day, achieving millions of orgasms if we’re lucky. Yet very often, we feel like crap for doing it. Because regardless of how sex positive you are, we are all still affected with the shame and stigma that society has enforced on us.
Through Scarlet Ladies, I have heard from a plethora of women with all different types of sexual experiences, including anorgasmic women (those who can’t achieve orgasm); women who struggle with their own perceptions of masturbation – and of course, evangelists like me. Hearing their range of stories has led me to my own epiphany (sorta): we all need to talk more about sex.
There’s no shortage of experts out there, telling us what is and is not “normal” for women – but with so much conflicting advice and expertise going round about what to expect from our bodies, we can begin to feel like Dorothy in the storm. Experts are brilliant at informing us on the facts, but we as normal women have a lot to deal with when it comes to making peace with our bodies.
Which brings me to my point. Let us talk and overshare.
I was recently asked for the one piece of advice I would give to women everywhere, to help normalise positive sexual experiences for all of us. My answer is to talk to your friends openly about sex. What are friends there for if you cannot overshare? Your friend may be the “my masturbation is my own business” type of friend; you may have never heard her breathe the word sex, but that doesn’t matter. Because as women, we all experience the same concerns and insecurities: maybe in different volumes; but the general consensus is that “if you go through it, I go through it”. I can not count the amount of ‘me too’ conversations I have had, be it on the panel or with my friends. So, even if your friend doesn’t respond well to your sharing, do not take it personally: that is probably just because her own insecurities are creeping out. By sharing your experience, you have planted the seed of openness – so there is a pretty high chance the next time she feels a concern about her own sexual experience, she will most likely turn to you and so the conversation starts.
Now imagine this wild thought: if all of these tiny and personal conversations like yours were happening all over the world, how much change might happen for women’s sexuality and our perceptions of it? Women like you and me might just begin to feel normal about ourselves – because rather than spreading myths and lies, we will in fact be spreading ideas experiences and thoughts.
Women: our biggest problem is the oppression of our society, but our worst enemy is silence, which breeds judgement, shame and stigma.
Founder of Sonder & Beam.