I remember just casually checking Twitter on my phone one morning as I was walking through town with a takeaway coffee – and I saw this tweet, asking women who talked sex to come forward and apply to be part of this campaign. I genuinely stopped in my tracks, and instead of doing what I usually do when I see an interesting link and just bookmarking it for later, I tapped the link and filled in the form then and there.
I joined the #ITalkSex campaign because I was so excited by the brilliantly simple – but seriously important – idea that it sprang from: women should be allowed to talk about sex. Women should not be ashamed of their sexuality. For too long we’ve been oppressed, shamed and ridiculed for our sexual identities – and we won’t keep quiet any more.
‘I talk sex, because I love it – and that’s okay’ was my campaign statement. I can safely say that is still 100% true for me.
On the day of the #ITalkSex photoshoot I was nervous as f*ck. I had no idea what awaited me behind those doors. I have honestly never been in such an electric, empowering atmosphere; I came into the prep room to find Jannette on the sofa working on her laptop (while holding a glass of bubbles, obvs), several gorgeous women (who I later got to know as Kit, Elly and Laura) in various stages of their photo shoot journey, and Sarah rushing in and out with pens and post-its and a video camera, stopping now and again to check out the ladies being made up. Once I was made up I went downstairs to shoot with the gorgeous duo that is Faby & Carlo…and I felt sexy as hell.
Since taking part in the campaign, I have become Scarlet Ladies’ FIERCE Community Manager. I’m always filled with awe and excitement when we work on our projects together, as the mighty Team Scarlet. I am also getting more opportunities and recognition for my blogging at Almost Amazing Grace, and recently won the ‘Influencer of the Year’ Award at The Brain Tumour Charity’s first ever Celebrating You Awards.
The campaign has affected my personal life quite a bit; old friends have got back in touch after seeing the images and stories online, all of them supportive and excitedly telling me anecdotes and opinions they’ve been keeping to themselves for a while. I realised that it’s not just me – there are women all over this country and all over the world who are eager to break through the ceiling and be a voice in the quiet.
I have grown in my own self worth, which not only means I love myself all the more, but I also know what (and whom) to prioritise in my personal life.
I want to tell teenage me, who lusted after the boys that skateboarded into school every morning – but was also a little too fascinated by the young women she’d do PE with every week – that nothing is normal. Also, teen Grace, don’t be ashamed of your Magic Number. It’s really not a big deal.
Teaching women from a young age that to want sex, or even just be interested in sex, is ‘slutty’ and wrong, is a poisonous practise. We have to end this, and destroy the stigma that’s been invented and somehow kept in place for years now.
My positive opinions about women’s sexuality and their right to express themselves have become even stronger with support from this community. And my mind has been opened wider and blown harder (!?) as I am learning new things all the time.
There are so many things I didn’t consider, sex-wise, and now a whole lot of new things I’m interested in trying. I’d say to all women who are wanting to explore their sexuality: try things. Go out and pursue your interests and be honest with your partners about what you want and who you are.
I’ve made a conscious effort to be more vocal about things. I won’t always wait til we’re three gins in before opening up to my best girlfriends about a recent sexual experience; I’ll proudly pull my pads out of my bag and make no effort to hide them as I walk to the loo; I’ll answer my male mates’ questions about pleasing the women they take home with complete honesty, and feel no shame in having my own distinct sexuality and unique sex life.
In all honesty, I haven’t got a clear idea of where I’m going to be in the future, but I know wherever I am, I’ll be secure in myself and totally positive about sex.
…oh god, I just got a vision of an old lady me, sitting in an ancient armchair telling her grandkids fun tales of her youth, teaching them the importance of openness and confidence in one’s sexuality…!
Scarlet Ladies Talks to…The #ITalkSex edition.
We are revisiting our #ITalkSex ambassadors to talk about life after the campaign, teenage regrets, sex positivity and all things empowering women.