When it comes to sex, those who identify as women are always held to a different standard than those who identify as men.
Womxn have always been taught to be sexually reactive, submissive, and led to believe a potentially dangerous narrative that suppressing their sexual needs is important to gain acceptance from society. A sexually liberated womxn with a healthy sexual life is even viewed as being sexually available at all times, resulting in a toxic culture of bullying and slut-shaming.
As a result, womxn often experience shame for having sexual desires and even fail to give themselves permission to enjoy sex that is pleasurable. A lack of autonomy over the body and inability to freely express sexual interests can often leave them as mere objects of sexual desire. This is what makes the conversation about female sexual empowerment an important one to have. Sexual empowerment is all about taking the power that has always been yours, exercising authority over your body in a way that feels good to you, and choosing your safety over the need to please others.
No womxn is fully empowered until she is sexually empowered. Here’s a list of some simple ways to help you feel sexually more empowered as a womxn:
1. Own your sexuality
Embracing your sexuality is the first step towards sexual empowerment. Start by accepting that you deserve to have sexual experiences that enhance you and toss out the fear that you may come across as a sexually demanding person.
Owning your sexuality is all about finding who you are sexually attracted to, your erotic preferences, how you view sex, your fetishes, and your past sexual experiences. You need to learn to be curious about your desires and have sex with someone who helps you explore your sexuality even further.
You may wonder if labeling your sexuality is a better way to own your sexuality. Here’s the thing — you don’t have to slap any labels to accept yourself if you find that suffocating. But you can definitely reflect on which labels you feel most comfortable with and if you would like to identify yourself with one.
Don’t forget that your sexuality belongs to you alone, and you glow differently when you embrace it.
2. Practise self-love
Self-love is pivotal for sexual empowerment. But it is not limited to self-pleasure alone. True self-love is all about appreciating and adoring your body.
Body positivity is a great way to practice self-love, as insecurities about your body can prevent you from having a healthy sexual relationship. A healthy sexual life begins with reminding yourself that you are good enough and your body is attractive just how it is. Being comfortable in your own skin increases your body esteem.
Poor body esteem is often responsible for the loss of sex drive and impacts your ability to become aroused. Tackling these negative thoughts and loving your body for what it is will make it easier to accept the love and attention of others.
3. Be unashamed of self-pleasure
For decades, self-pleasuring has been viewed through a shame-based lens. But masturbation can be beneficial for a healthy sexual life, and there’s absolutely nothing to feel guilty about.
Learning how to pleasure yourself empowers you to tell your partner exactly what you want. The more aware you are about your body, the easier it becomes to communicate — instead of saying something generic such as “ I don’t like it that way,” you can guide your partner in a specific way such as “I like it better when you tease me there gently but don’t go too hard.”
Intentionally pleasuring yourself also means that you permit yourself to receive pleasure during a sexual act because you are worthy of it. Moreover, if you haven’t been in a sexual relationship for a while and are wondering how to be sexually active again, it is best to get back in touch with your body and learn what you enjoy the most. Studies have also shown that masturbation can even ease post menopause sex-related problems such as vaginal dryness by increasing blood flow to the vaginal tissues and restoring moisture.
Lastly, it is a complete myth that indulging in self-pleasure uses up sexual energy and results in low sex drive in women. On the contrary, masturbation in women can make sexual experiences with your partner more intense and heighten your sexual arousal. Moreover, it also equips you with better control and autonomy over your body, leading to higher sexual self-esteem and better intimacy with your partner.
4. Be sexually assertive
A sexually empowered person is responsible for her sexual pleasure and never apologizes for being explicit about what she enjoys.
Part of learning how to be more sexually assertive as a woman involves telling your partner exactly what you want. Remember that pleasing yourself is just as important as pleasing your partner. So feel free to discuss sexual fantasies with your partner, try out different sexual positions, or even get sex toys to spice it up in the bed.
As long as the parties consent, nothing is off-limits. At the same time, true sexual empowerment also means that a womxn has the right to refuse any type of sexual contact, no matter how aroused her partner might be.
An understanding partner will never make you feel bad for speaking your mind, and you must let them do the same.
5. Never compromise with your sexual health
How you take care of your sexual health is an integral part of being sexually empowered.
A sexually empowered person always chooses safe sexual experiences that minimize health risks. Using the right type of contraception, depending on your individual needs and your partner’s, is the starting point. It helps prevent unwanted pregnancies and reduces the chances of contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
It’s best to set ground rules with your partner about using protection before things get too steamy. Be open about your sexual history and encourage your partner to share the same. Let your partner know why it is important for you to have safe sex. Discuss the risks you’re both willing to take and the type of protection that’s most comfortable for you.
But taking charge of your sexual health doesn’t end with using protection during the act. A study shows that women are more prone to getting vaginal infections after having sex. Maintaining optimal sexual hygiene after sex is equally important to keep STIs at bay. Cleaning the vaginal area with intimate washes after sex and keeping the vaginal area dry are some of the best ways to maintain appropriate sexual hygiene.
No matter which step you choose to take on and whether you do it on your own or with a partner, always remember that your sexual empowerment is a journey that is uniquely yours. Don’t let anyone weigh you down with their burden of expectations.
What is your type of self-care?
Related: Redefining sex and the Modern women