TW/CW: this topic talks openly about some sexual perceptions and experiences and therefore may be quite confronting
I’ll start with some truths:
My first truth is that I used to tell myself “once I get married then I’ll orgasm.” Because, based on the human interpretation of the bible, you’re not allowed to have sex before marriage, and I, therefore, thought this was the reason my back remained distinctly intact in every sexual interaction. I did wonder if maybe my nut had been cracked and I just didn’t know it, though one of my floor mates in first year uni would vehemently disagree – I still remember her saying “when you know, you know” – but are you sure?! I don’t know though! I had really convinced myself that once I got married, it would suddenly change and I’d be experiencing 24/7 explosions.
My second truth is that I did not have my first orgasm till I was 26 years of age. It occurred within my third relationship, and I STAN for the fact that I facilitated my own nut – I mean, facilitated via the friendly shower-head. I’d had nine years worth of relationships leading up to this and I had no idea what stimulated me. The responsibility for my lack of orgasmic experiences was not solely on my partners though, I had to acknowledge that the onus to my own vulval-simulation-blocking also lay with me.
For 26 years I carried the guilt and perceptions of society, mainstream media and colonial christianity.
Mainstream media consistently prioritised and centred male pleasure. Women’s pleasure was at the whims of men, and absolutely not reflective of the REALITY – bro, I am not about to cum because we started off on your floor mattress with no sheets and now you’ve thrust inside me twice. (But I thought I should be able to). Only heterosexual relationships and intimate interactions were highlighted with positivity, whilst female pleasure was always secretive and naughty. Consequently, I held significant discomfort around the concept of masturbation. I did not even know what a clitoris was until I was 25.
“For 26 years I carried the guilt and perceptions of society, mainstream media and colonial christianity”
Mainstream media exposure was coupled with the uptake of Christianity within the Pacific Islands. Now an enmeshed part of our indigenous culture so much so that it is widely considered “traditional” and yet, when we dig deeper we see pre-colonial spirituality in symbiosis with nature. We see liberation in all forms, we see nakedness without embarrassment, we see fluidity within gender and sexuality that has been suppressed within the rigidity of Western societal norms. But yet, the shame attached to any relationship with my genitalia was huge. Even itching my genital region embarrassed me. The thought of someone knowing I had touched myself even without intimate intent caused me shame, reading intimate paragraphs within fiction novels that excited my body had me cringing and trying to suppress the sensation. And I carried this shame into my relationships.
I thought that if we had sex, then as long as we got married it would be okay. I tried to take on the role of a “born-again virgin” and to refrain from having any further sexual encounters until marriage within all three of my previous relationships. It stunted me and this mindset trapped me with people that did not work for me. For all of those years, I was simply a vessel for the pleasure of men. I didn’t like anyone going down on me – I thought it was nasty, I thought they didn’t like it and it was a burden for them, it also felt weird because I didn’t understand my own anatomy. So I would always stop a man and physically encourage him to penetrate me rather than continue with anything involving my own external genitalia – thanks again mainstream media. Over time, they stopped trying, and this became the norm. I thought I had a high sex drive, that I was always thinking about sex when the reality was I was just never getting off! If blue balls was real and there was a female version then I would have had it.
The change started with my third relationship, prompted by his sweet talking (which would fade very fast eventually), but at the start, he was consistent in his encouragement and reassurance. Letting go was hard, and I didn’t know what I was feeling to be honest. I didn’t know what I wanted and in reality it wasn’t that stimulating for me at first. But I tried to relax and not push for penetrative sex as much as I was used to. The epiphany occurred with a Facebook video that came up on my feed – I don’t even know where it came from or how I saw it, but some students filmed a secondary school teacher at an American school explaining the anatomy of female genitalia (search “dang that’s crazy” on Facebook to view). She explained some statistics around female pleasure such as the percentage of women who orgasmed in heterosexual interactions versus homosexual interactions and I was shook. She explained about the clitoris – and I can honestly tell you, this was when, even after six years at medical school I finally learnt about the true function of the clitoris; female pleasure organ. Surely this would have been something essential to cover in anatomy or something?
This was the turning point. The game-changer. The start of the release.
To be continued. . .