As the fainting bee, Reaching late his flower, Round her chamber hums, Counts his nectars –enters, And is lost in balms!
-Emily Dickinson, December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886
Women have always been asked to mask or deny their sexuality. In the early 1800s, women were expected to limit their sphere of influence to the home and the family. Women were not encouraged to obtain a real education or pursue a professional career. Emily Dickinson, however, grew up in a Puritan community where they believed that women had the right/duty to read the bible and also be able to write in order to confess their sins. Interesting enough, Emily used poetry, a socially acceptable form of expression for women to express some pretty erotic and sometimes radical thoughts. After visiting her museum in Massachusetts I decided to send out a poll asking women to anonymously share their confessions around sexuality:
|Confession #1 I love sex. What I like most is the feeling of touch. Actual penetration is great and all but a man touching you firmly and sensually is what makes me come. Kissing me deeply and teasing me is what gets me off. Sex for me is affection, tender affection, touching and groping affection. Second to that is domination. I would like to explore BDSM one day maybe not with all the craziness but definitely with some throwing, tossing, slapping and choking. And I mean he would be doing all of that to me. I like a man to be in control of my body. Now there’s a difference between control and disrespect- don’t tell me to suck your dick or push my head down there. However, if you carefully and sensually guide me to your pelvic area and I will nicely oblige you with a lick and a deep throat. I love sucking dick. Like I don’t know what kind of a woman doesn’t actually. That’s the form of control I enjoy most over a man.|
|Confession #2 It’s frustrating that men are often so self-focused, they’re not even fully aware of what I, as a woman like or what I enjoy. They’re often more concerned with what pleases them, not realizing that sex and sexuality are an ever growing and changing part of a relationship that requires careful nurturing. How can I discuss these kinds of concerns or create change in a relationship when we as women are excepted keep these concerns to ourselves?|
|Confession #3 As a bisexual, there are things I crave from both the masculine and feminine genders. Many times, men think a threesome will quench the thirst- it won’t. It’s more than that. It’s about needing more from someone that for whatever reason the one person cannot provide. I’m now talking to someone who believes sexuality is a choice. We have not been intimate and I am actually practicing a 6 month sensual celibacy cleanse so both things I have yet to tell him. I am hoping for the best but also hoping that because we are building a strong emotional intimacy the other things that I need sexually will build and come along easier when the time comes. Here’s hoping!|
|Confession #4 Sexuality is such a fluid, ever changing and very intricate subject. It’s depths are as deep as the ocean but most only ever swim on the shallow end afraid of the creatures beneath the waves and current. I am a bisexual. I’ve been with only one woman but did more things with her than I have with the few men I have been with because speaking with her was so easy. I can’t say if it was because she was a woman that made it easy or because we shared so many lived experiences.|
|Confession #5 Sex can be for connection and for carnal (flesh). I think it’s important to be clear about what sex is for you and your partner.|
|Confession #6 Women’s sexuality is not for our partner’s pleasure = We share and engage in sexuality as an expression of ourselves, not your sole satisfaction.|
|Confession #7 I do not talk about a threesome I had. Perhaps it’s because society looks at women differently than men when it comes to sex or maybe it’s out of shame because of the double standards we grew up with.|
|Confession #8 I’m 25, have slept with 4 men and I never had an orgasm.|
|Confession #9 As a bisexual woman I find it difficult to approach my partner about women I am interested in even though he states he is okay with me sleeping with a woman. I think there isn’t enough out there on polyamorous relationships and how to start that conversation. I feel like I’ll be judged, then left behind.|
|Confession #10 I want to reach an orgasm a 100% of the time but it doesn’t happen that way.|
|Confession #11 I fantasize about a threesome but fear that my guy will like the other girl more in bed.|
|Confession #12 I wish I could have sex whenever and with whomever I please to without being judged or categorized as a slut.|
|Confession #13 I’ve received the “side eye” from my partner for wanting sex “too much”.|
|Confession #14 I’ve fantasized about having a threesome but fear rejection and backlash from my partner.|
|Confession #15 The count! I’ve always feared sharing the number of men I’ve slept with prior to being in my relationship because of the epic double standard that exists!|
|Confession #16 I’ve never had an orgasm with a man. Only by myself.. But I pretend that I did sometimes just to make the man feel “fulfilled” I don’t know why.|
|Confession #17 I’ve never had an orgasm with a man. Only by myself.. But I pretend.|
|Confession #18 I’ve always been curious about having sex with two men. There’s something erotic about being desired sexually and pleased by multiple men, but because of the double standard I don’t think I’ll ever have the courage to experience it.
Confession#19 I recently blew a guy whose cum tasted delicious. It was so sweet like strawberry yogurt.
With this post I wanted to give women a platform to express their sexuality free of societal pressures and judgement. I thank all the women who participated for your authenticity. I hope you find peace of mind in knowing that you’re not alone in your human thoughts and desires. Because we are taught that sexuality for women is abnormal, many times as women we resort to shaming each other’s sexual decisions/behaviors. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I think it’s pretty interesting that the mental health handbook also known as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM5) published by the American Psychiatric Association removed sex addiction as a disorder in 2012. The removal stemmed from a few recent studies that showed that the neurological effects of sex addiction was null and void leading scholars to believe that the desire to have sex is mainly due to our individual libidos. While as women our sexual appetites, preferences and behaviors vary from from person to person. Our individual libidos also fluctuate over the course of a month or a year or a lifetime depending on partners, circumstances, and hormones. I challenge you as women to re-frame your way of thinking about womanhood and sexuality. Don’t be so quick to judge each other. In conclusion, in the words of Emily Dickinson may your flowers always flourish and your nectar even sweeter!