Remember Teri Hatcher doing those impossible splits right on the studio floor on Oprah? Or Carmen Electra positively gushing about what exotic dance has done for her body and bedroom tactics? A large number of celebrities have recently taken to a sexy alternative to working out. From pole vaulting they have leapt straight to pole dancing at the S Factor. And they aren’t stopping at pole-dancing, our celebrity pin-up girls have been everywhere and done everything, from Strip-Aerobics to Exotic Dance Work Outs, the motto this season is ‘Everything sexy goes’!
If this sudden gush for sex is making you blush, you go ahead and click your tongue and hang your head in shame — no one will begrudge you. “SEX SELLS!” And it’s available morning, noon and night through every possible channel. It screams at you from gigantic billboards featuring gorgeous demi-love-gods, pierces into your fantasy’s through the television and fondles your imagination with semi-naked bodies scattered all over the net. Living in the USA is like one giant, prolonged orgasm. And, as a woman, you are expected to idolize those models and endeavor to look like one.
Sure! You wanna be Carrie from ‘Sex and the City’ and moan and groan and roll around on your bed with a different guy every night, seven nights a week — turning your life into a series of fantastic sexual escapades. Eventually, you’ll snap out of it. After all, life is not a TV show, and learning how to embrace your sexuality takes time and effort.
In America — amongst the glamor of the TV shows and the supposed sexual abandonment, the skin and the G-Strings — we women have to deal with mixed messages, guilt trips, religious dogma, body image, and misinformation. Sure, getting your hymen snapped by 16 is a must, but so is regretting doing it by 25. Beneath all our external frills, getting laid is an issue we women deal with badly.
The concept of ‘Positive Sex’ is an idea not many of us have managed to fathom yet. Fornication is still essentially a male domain, where we women participate like whimpering goats, hesitating and interestingly enough feeling insecure about our role in it all.
A majority of women I know swear by making love in the dark. ‘It’s romantic’ they coo when I ask them the point of that. Here’s what I KNOW, most of us are ashamed of our body. Nudity is a concept we haven’t been taught to handle well. Seeing ourselves naked freaks us out, and knowing that someone else is watching us naked, desiring our body for itself, brings to life our worst fears. This is the gaze our parents warned us against, this is what Church lessons have told us to avoid. So off goes the light, plunging everything, from ourselves, to that desirous gaze, to our insecurities, into comforting darkness.
The truth is that the darkness serves as a warm invitation to what Susan Bremer calls our ‘Shadow” side. “Every woman wants to take a trip to their wild side” she explains, “We all yearn to seduce. But we’ve been told over and over again that to rejoice in our body is immoral, yet the wish to feel powerful in our sensuality, to express our sexuality remains.” Susan, a proud ‘Gentleman club’ dancer considers her sexual prowess to be her way of establishing her role in a world hounded by men. “When I’m at work,” she says “I’m surrounded by men in coats and ties — bosses and underlings, jocks and nerds. All of them are the kinds of men who made me feel small. But now I can reduce the top dog to a lapdog by staring at him, opening my top, and smiling”.
This sense of power probably needs some delving into. As women all of us suffer from our own insecurities. It’s a cliché by now but we all know that the world belongs to the testosterone thugs. They keep us down everywhere, be it in our boardroom or our bedroom. And slowly we grow used to being kept down, such that we soon we are conditioned to not reversing the situation at all.
A positive sex-image, whether you use it or not, can miraculously alter all this. Your sexual achievements in the bedroom can give you the kind of omnipotent confidence which oozes out from your personal to public sphere. For any woman with low self-esteem, the act of embracing your sexuality serves as a miracle tool for believing that she can have that effect on other people, in a non-sexual environment too.
The thing is, much as we try to shake it off, we are all sexual beings, sex is important to us and it has the power to make us feel good. 65% of women in the US do not, at their heart of hearts, take this idea seriously. Good sex and an attempt to have good sex for them is still a nudge-nudge-whisper-whisper issue. This attitude gets transferred from them to their kids and grandkids and so on, such that each generation of these young women grow up with the idea that every time they are making love they ought to feel guilty about it. This mystifying of the subject is harmful for a lot of reasons. For starters it gives us a lifelong baggage of guilt, every time we think about sex, every time we fantasize or our hands itch to masturbate we feel like a criminal. The constant feeling that sex is wrong or dirty leads to a negative self-image as a person. That misinformation means that when we are in the act it can be hard to enjoy it, leading to severe sexual frustration, not a feeling you’d like to carry around with you.
This discussion might go on and on, because of our trouble to face the fact that we like getting laid. But let’s just say, it all has a very easy solution. Get in to your sexiest lacy underwear, devote tonight to unleashing the temptress in you and for once really enjoy it without hang-ups. You will like the results tomorrow morning.
Originally published at chicklit.com on May 24, 2004.