Fem·i·nism \ˈfe-mə-ˌni-zəm\ (noun): the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
Lib·er·a·tion \ libəˈrāSH(ə)n \ (noun): Freeing a group or individual from social or economic constraints or discrimination, especially arising from traditional role expectations or bias
When I was in college, I went on a date with this guy I had just met a few days prior. Aside from the fact that I found him physically attractive, I don’t really remember anything about him. I don’t even remember his name. I don’t recall the array of things we discussed over brunch, but I do remember one conversation. I remember sitting across from him in the middle of this crowded restaurant and talking about sex.
I don’t know how this came about, but I remember casually enlightening him on my low sex drive and accentuating the fact that I didn’t care much about sex. For some reason, I was being blatantly honest with this guy about my sexual desire (or non-desire.) I told him sex was something I could really live without.
I remember the look on his face.
“So, you don’t like sex?” He legitimately seemed confused and put-off by what I said.
“I do like sex. I just have a low sex drive, and it’s not that important to me,” I said to him.
After leaving the restaurant, I never heard from that guy again.
I quickly realized that this one conversation played a big role in him never asking me out again, and all of my male friends told me this was the worst thing I could ever tell a guy on a first date. Unfortunately, what I was saying was true. I didn’t care about sex.
Fast forward to present day, and I see sex as one of the most important aspects of a romantic relationship. The fact of the matter is, for years I was having shitty sex. I was having sex with guys I wasn’t connecting with, guys who didn’t care about my sexual pleasure. I wasn’t fully comfortable with my own sexuality and looking back, I can’t even confidently say that I cared about my own sexual pleasure.
I didn’t realize it then, but when I had sex, I was never doing it for me. I was in denial. If anyone would’ve asked me if I was doing it for me, I would have said “Of course.” But the truth is, if I was doing it for myself, I would have enjoyed it more. I was doing it for the pleasure of men, and kind of just “doing it to do it” – something I would tell my younger self to never do. I was faking orgasms left and right, and my life was filled with casual, orgasmless sex for years.
I was just another statistic in the very real “orgasm gap.” According to a study on sexual practices in the U.S., women have one orgasm for every three orgasms a man has. Another study details that straight, single women have the least amount of orgasms.
Imagine having casual sex with different people over the course of three years without ever having one orgasm – that was me. This made me not really care for sex, I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. Good sex is never solely about climaxing, but I can assure you that men would probably have less interest in sex under these circumstances too.
This isn’t about my inability to climax, nor is it about a man’s inability to make me climax. It emphasizes the notion of sexual experiences for many women around the world. At the time, I never spoke to anyone about this, because it wasn’t normal for women to talk about. Again, I was in denial. If anyone had asked me if I was having good sex, I probably would have said yes.
I thought this was all normal, I thought this was what sex is. In my experiences, sex generally consisted of “an okay time” that ended with a guy having an orgasm. I didn’t know any better. It really makes me think of all the young women who are currently in the same position, having sex with their boyfriends just for their boyfriend’s pleasure or doing it “just to do it.”
No one taught me about a woman’s pleasure and society taught me that sex wasn’t really about (or for) women. I learned that sex was a man’s thing. Leave it to society and misconceptions about sex to make a woman believe she has a low sex drive. Really, it was partaking in mediocre sex that made me believe I had a low sex drive.
Bottom-line: There was nothing wrong with my sex drive.
My subpar sexual experiences consisted of no foreplay. I went down on guys who never went down on me. I never told my partners what I liked or what I wanted. In most cases, I don’t think I knew what I wanted. When I was in high school and college, women’s sexual liberation wasn’t blasted all over mainstream and social media.
Unfortunately, it took me a few more years of having sex to understand that I actually love sex and have a very healthy sex drive. I started having great sex once I realized I deserved it and demanded it. Embracing feminism allowed me to learn more about myself and become more comfortable with my sexuality; accepting myself as a sexual being, rather than a sexual object. Sex started to mean something to me. I became more honest with my partner(s), and with myself.
Reaching this level of sexual liberation is so freeing, so exhilarating and I don’t think it can be reached with a partner who doesn’t value it.
What I learned is this:
You can’t have great sex in the absence of sexual liberation, and you can’t have sexual liberation in the absence of feminism.