Em-URGE-ing Voices

Your urgent thoughts, urging action

No More Shame

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March 14, 2013

I’m going to let you in on a little secret of mine.

I. Love. Sex.

(OK if you know me well, this really is no secret)

I love sex with boyfriends, with lovers, and even with those who are just for a night. I love that I decide to have sex when, where, and how I want. If I don’t want to have sex, I don’t have sex.

So, we stand up for birth control, access to safe abortions, and we take a stand against sexual assault. But who is standing up for our right to get laid (or perhaps make love if you prefer)?

I’m standing up for myself to get laid. I am standing up for my friends to bump uglies. For my parents to do the hanky panky. I am not ashamed.
Unless you’ve been stuck in the sheets for the past few decades, you might have noticed that attitudes about sex are changing. Sex is no longer means to an end, that is, to continue the human race. Sex is no longer just women lying passively on their backs while their husbands thrust into them until they plant their seed. Sex is what liberates us. The ability to experience, control, and dictate our own pleasure is just one of the many benefits of having higher mental function.

For some, sex is intimate and special and exclusive to one partner (and that’s great for them!) For others like me, it’s spiritual, invigorating, and capable of being shared among many. I love my body and my sexuality and having lovers allows me to experience things about myself that I could never do alone.

Sure, when I was younger I thought I’d “save myself” for marriage. But back then, I was ashamed of my body; I was influenced by society to think that sex (unless I’ve got a ring on my finger and my intentions are for baby making) was a shameful and dirty act. But as I’ve grown older, discovering my own personal values and sense of bodily autonomy, I’ve realized that sex is so much more than that. No longer can others use my own body to oppress me. No longer do I feel the need to hide my sex from myself or from the world.

Among many other qualities that we can develop, no one can take my sexuality away from me.

We talk a lot about slut-shaming in the frame of sexual violence, but why don’t we talk about the oppression of ourselves as sexual human beings? Judging people by those (or how many) people that they sleep with is rampant, and debilitating. If we don’t start promoting safe, healthy, and consensual sex then we’re going to have a real problem on our hands (well, we already do have a real problem on our hands.) Not only does this promotion need to include inclusive and accurate sex education in schools, and educating people to respect boundaries and the word “no,” but it also needs to encourage sex! Let’s get excited about masturbation! Self-discovery! Things that make our bodies feel good, things that blow our minds. When everything we are taught about sex comes from a negative perspective, we perceive sex as something to be scared of, something to be avoided for fear or STD’s, pregnancy, or rape- not something that is spiritual, invigorating, or in any way good.

I’ve had my share of bad sex, sex that was maybe not so consensual or life-changing or mind-blowing sex. One of my favorite things about being an advocate for reproductive justice is the right and NEED to talk about the root of it all – SEX!

So go do whatever you need to do to shake the last bit of shame from your conscious – may I recommend self-stimulation? Most importantly, start talking about it. Talk about sex with your best friend, your not so best friends, and even people you don’t even know, I don’t care how, when, or where – just do it. It’s why we write, blog, speak, rally- we need to talk about it. We need to end the shame. We know the strength that comes with the numbers (ahem, thank you and you’re welcome Mr. President,) but in order to get the numbers, in order to bring the change and end the shame, we need to start with talking about it.

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