If you’re a modern woman, odds are you’ve been told countless times to “own your sexuality” as a step towards women’s empowerment. And while sexually empowered women are at the forefront of society right now, many of us are left asking what the hell that means. Am I supposed to own my sexuality by going to clubs in short skirts? Does a sexually empowered woman have to know exactly how to twerk? Can I still be a voice for women’s empowerment if I don’t want to have sex? Let’s take a chance to answer all these pressing questions and get some clarity for womankind.
Do I have to be “sexy”?
What even is “sexy” should be the real question here. In its typical usage, sexy is how others perceive us. When we look through it with a stance on women’s empowerment, we learn that it is how we perceive ourselves. Women’s empowerment means owning who you are and being proud of your gender presentation.
The key is in trusting how you feel in your body more than anyone else. Whatever makes you feel strong and excited to show up in the world, that’s your “sexy”. Letting this continually evolve is another critical element of the women’s empowerment movement. Sexy can change based on the season of life you’re in, the time of the year, or even the time of the month. It can even mean feeling like you’re ready to get it on at 8am and would much prefer to just watch TV and go to bed at 8pm.
So if all this means dressing “sexy” for you, then sure, wear those short shorts and crop tops. But if that feels uncomfortable, then your “sexy” can be different. It’s OK to enjoy sweatpants and messy buns or even power suits and bowties. Check-in with yourself. Do what makes you feel sexually excited to be you, even if no one is looking. Real “sexy” is feeling alive in your skin.
Do I have to have sex?
Nope. Women’s empowerment isn’t about having more sex. For some, it may be engaging in abstinence before marriage; for others, it may be threesomes and polyamory. If really feeling sexy is just being alive in your own skin, then there’s any number of ways you can do that that don’t even involve sex.
Speaking of sex, what is that even? Sure we know about oral sex and penis in vagina intercourse, but what about a heavy makeout session? Dry humping? A really good massage? Masturbation? What does and does not constitute as “sex” is blurry. So whether or not you partake in it also doesn’t need to have starkly defined limits either. You can never touch your groin again and still be one of the billions of sexually empowered women in the world.
So the next time you’re in the middle of that project, and you get that *zing* to keep creating something amazing, enjoy that sex. By realizing your empowering female sexuality beyond the bedroom, you’re already a vehicle of women’s empowerment.
Do I have to enjoy my own sexuality?
Probably. And that isn’t easy. The journey of women’s empowerment, and especially that to sexual empowerment, has had the deck stacked against it for ages. While trends for equality have led to some greater gender balance, the world is still reeling from past and current abuse. Women are still victims of sexual abuse, harassment, and rape today.
The road to enjoying sex and finding true sexual empowerment can be a challenge. For many, it may mean time in therapy. For some, the chance at a restorative relationship can be healing. But for everyone, it is possible to enjoy your body and the energy you share with the world.
Do I have to share my sexuality with others?
Hard no. In the women’s empowerment movement, you stay in power. You are never under any obligation to share your sexuality with anyone else. Sexually empowered women are their own prize. And a prize it is. You’ve worked hard overcoming systemic oppression; you deserve a loving relationship with your body and your sex. Create, inspire, and enjoy your empowering female sexuality for yourself.
And just like any prize, sometimes it is really great to share with others. Just like winners of game shows bring home the bank and pay for presents for loved ones, it feels good to share. Once you feel confident in a solo session or looking at your body in the mirror, you may be more ready to enjoy intimate encounters with a partner. In fact, some sexually empowered women find that sharing their sexuality with others helps them to grow their sexuality even further. We learn more about ourselves when we share our bodies with others.
And if you don’t want to because it doesn’t feel good, that’s ok too. You always know what is best for you.
How do I share my empowered sexuality with others?
In ways that feel good! Being in touch with your sexuality means staying in tune with your body. Once you learn to trust yourself and your body, let others know what feels good to you. That means if you do choose to share your sexuality with others, you advocate for the spot you like for them to touch or the spaces that don’t feel good to connect with their body.
If it’s challenging to share these opinions with your partner, give yourself some grace and time. Learn to love yourself first and share your body second. The key to women’s empowerment is taking on the stance that you are worthy of feeling good. And while it can be fun to share our sexuality with others, we can do so best when we know our needs are met.
How do I interact with other women about their sexuality?
With compassion and grace, of course! Listen, the women’s empowerment movement isn’t an easy road for any of us. While we’d love to share our sexual empowerment (or lack thereof) with other women, we need to respect others’ journeys. What your version of “empowerment” might be is different from mine. And we need to trust one another that we’re all doing the best we can to feel our most powerful.
So in practice, this means not making a comment about someone wearing the “too short” skirt. And in contrast, it means not judging someone who is more interested in modesty. There isn’t one way to be a sexually empowered woman.
Can my sexuality change?
Absolutely. In fact, you’ve probably already gone through a huge sexual change. During puberty, our bodies rush with hormones as we figure out this changing part of ourselves. Women who are reaching menopausal age sometimes have more or less sexual energy. If you don’t want to have sex after you eat too many tacos, your sexuality has temporarily shifted.
Just like we shouldn’t shame other women for their sexual journeys, we shouldn’t shame ourselves either. We may have made different decisions sexually at different times in our life, and that’s OK. You don’t owe the world consistency here. True sexual empowerment is letting yourself constantly turn toward what makes you feel good.