By Guest Blogger Tara Baboushkin
I was one of the last of my friends to have sex. Yup, I admit it, practically a whole year behind the rest of my group. Now, that’s not to say that I wasn’t sexual, I just wasn’t having any sex. Like my other friends, I had a boyfriend, I went to grad – in short, I had opportunity. But I didn’t have sex.
So what does that make me? A prude, a priss, a “good girl”? By some standards, yes. By male standards, definitely. Perhaps even by some of your standards too. By my own standards, however, I was anything but.
The truth is that I was, in fact, very sexual and very sexually curious. From a young age, the idea of sexual intimacy as an expression of emotion and love fascinated me. I was always asking my parents to “TV kiss” (in other words, smooch) in front of me to show me they were really “in love.” Like most young girls, I fantasized about kissing my fifth-grade crush and slow-dancing with the cutest boy at the Saturday night camp dance.
In high school, I dated as much as my other friends, inhaled when I smoked, and had my fair share of encounters with the porcelain God, admittedly more than most. So a prude I was not – though I may have felt like one. The truth is that I was comfortable with my sexuality, I just wasn’t comfortable sharing it with anyone else.
I was scared. Scared of being vulnerable, scared of being judged, scared of not being good enough. It’s the eternal plight of womankind: not being a good enough daughter, a good enough wife, a good enough mother, a good enough worker. Not being a good enough woman.
And when it comes to sexuality, it’s no different. Most women are afraid of being too fat, too flat, too sexual, not sexual enough, or just plain bad in bed. As in all the other areas of our lives, we feel the need to be perfect and to make everyone else happy before ourselves, and that, as we all know, rarely ends well. We’re so focused on fulfilling our partner’s needs and expectations, on achieving a gold star in sex, that we completely neglect our own needs and wants. We become a sexual accessory, rather than a separate sexual identity participating in a mutually satisfying relationship. We become our own worst enemy, and our partner, whether unknowingly or voluntarily, becomes our accomplice.
Inhibition is yet another of our sexual nemeses. I doubt if there are many women who can honestly say they’ve never felt embarrassed or shy being in a sexual situation with someone whom they cared for or were attracted to. I don’t care if you’re a Victoria’s Secret supermodel with angel wings and a $12.5-million bra made of pink sapphires (okay, maybe that’s the one exception), taking off your clothes in front of someone else is embarrassing. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. So many women, and I admit to having once been one of them, are petrified to have sex. Petrified to be seen. To be felt. To be heard. Out loud. And since seeking help for their anxieties is an even more frightening alternative, they resign themselves to an unfulfilling sex life, convincing themselves that this is simply who they are and that they can’t do anything to change it.
Many women also fear the judgment they would potentially endure if they did expose their true sexual fantasies and pleasures. Though it can be a source of empowerment, sexuality is a double-edged sword, and as females, we teeter on the fence constantly on the thin line between the equally shameful stigmas of being a prude or slut.
And so, we deny our sexuality, our sexual selves. We busy ourselves being all the other selves that we are – mothers, daughters, wives, teachers, students, artists – and we convince ourselves that being sexual is just one of the things that we’re not. And these other roles that we play, these other identities, only help to suppress our sexual selves, as we are unable to reconcile our altruistic motivations with our own selfish sexual needs. How can we deserve and expect to achieve gratification as mothers, daughters, professionals when we also seek it through purely self-serving sexual indulgence?
The truth is that we are all these things, and to deny any one part is to deny who we really are. Sexuality is not something to be hidden, but rather something to be celebrated. Sexuality is not just about sex, it’s about closeness and affection. It’s about confidence, curiosity and openness. It’s about accepting who we are and embracing that person. Only then will we be able to truly feel comfortable in our own skin, in all its naked truth.
About Tara Baboushkin
Tara Baboushkin is a freelance writer and editor. She is also a mother, a wife, sister and daughter, a thirty-something-year-old woman who often still feels like a five-year-old girl playing dress-up in her own mother’s high heels. As a wife, mom and writer, her recent work celebrates the journey to and through womanhood.
Tara began her career in film and television production, on such shows as Debbie Travis’ Facelift and The Jerry Springer Show. After several years in the industry, she decided to refocus her career on her innate love of writing. Her interests and experience span a broad range of genres, including creative writing, editorial and feature writing, Web content, and promotional and medical writing.
Do you agree with Tara? Do you ever feel inhibited or uncomfortable in your sexual skin? I think embracing your sexual skin is no easy feat. I would love you thoughts here.
Happy Weekend, m’ladies. Maybe you just might have a weekend of mind-blowing, uninhibited sex after all! )