By Shannon Boodram for WOMEN = BOOKS
Posted on December 29, 2009
Female sexual empowerment has no voice among the new generation. The media and the Internet encourage young girls to treat their sexuality like a grand piano—an instrument that performs only to please the pianist sitting on them.
I knew how to fake an orgasm before I knew what my clitoris was. I felt responsible for a guy’s physical pleasure and put little-to-no emphasis on my own. I even acted as though a boy grabbing at my body and clumsily poking at my crotch felt good because I wanted him to feel good.
This is not merely an isolated confession from one misguided girl. New sexual trends among teens such as sexting (sending naked pictures through cell phones); shag bracelets (thin plastic bracelets that indicate how far a girl is willing to go, with a gold bracelet signaling she’ll go all the way); rainbow groups (girls wearing different lipstick colors who all perform oral sex on boys, giving the recipient a “rainbow” penis); and girl-on-girl soft porn have only made things much worse.
By age 19, I’d had enough of being a pleaser at my own cost. My horrible teenage sex life drove me to begin writing pieces for and editing Laid: Young People’s Experience with Sex in an Easy-Access Culture (Seal Press, 2009). Once I began work on this anthology, I learned more in months than I had in my three years of being sexually active.
For instance, in “Popping,” Crystal Coburn talks about how after years of being sexually unsatisfied and disinterested in sex, she discovered the joy of her own body. She describes her loving sexual relationship with her fiance:
“I know what we’re making is more than love; it’s more raw, more human than that. This is what freedom feels like. It’s about feeding the appetite that’s discouraged in charm school etiquette by misguided mothers, fathers, teachers, and media. It’s about proudly breaking out of the “good girls don’t do that” mold and simply satisfying yourself and feeling good about it.”
Teachers: Encourage your students to know their body fully and to be proud of their parts. Mothers: Instill a sense of pride in your daughters. Show them that the female body is a precious gift and not a cheap toy. Girlfriends: Stop lying to each other about your true feelings on sex—and please, stop encouraging sexual trends that scar and reduce us.
Everyone: Check out Feministing.com and Scarleteen.com for female empowerment—not disempowerment and abuse—on the Internet. As Scarleteen puts it, here’s “Sex Ed for the Real World.”
I wonder what it will take for us to start teaching girls that pleasure is supposed to make you feel good about yourself? The best advice I can give to any young girl thinking about becoming sexually active would be “Get yours, girl!” Whether yours is a hug, a date, oral sex, or the works, put your needs ahead of anyone else’s—and before you even attempt to do that, learn what your needs are.
Shannon Boodram is a young journalist living in Toronto. She is the editor of and a contributor to Laid: Young People’s Experience with Sex in an Easy-Access Culture (Seal Press, 2009). She also blogs at ThoseGirlsAreWild.com.
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