It all started with a piercing.
When I first discovered this phrase, I was in my early 20’s, and struggling with the perils of liking a boy who didn’t (really) like me back. (ie: he only liked me when I was in his bed). I realized that I needed to take my power back, and my younger, brilliant cousin encouraged me to “reclaim my sexy”. On my own. Sans man (this is when I was still “straight”). So she took me to get my nipple pierced. This was how I took ownership of my body, and my sexuality, back.
[Side note: nipple piercings fucking HURT.]
From then on, every time anything occurred in my life to “strip” me of my sexy, I did something to take it back. I bought fishnets. I taught sex ed. I wore fancy underwear around my house. I took a sexy dance class. I bought a vibrator. You get the idea…
I didn’t realize it at the time, but this has actually been a key piece of claiming ownership of myself. My whole self – which encompasses my body and my sexuality definitely, but also includes my heart and soul and mind. And by default, my relationships.
Owning my sexy has given me a sense of autonomy over something that the world so often tries to co-opt. As Erin Brown put it in a recent Instagram post about why women post sexy photos of themselves: “we see this as art until a woman is both the artist and the subject. The beauty and the eye beholding it. That kind of agency terrifies us.” (see the whole brilliant post here: Erin Brown). When we become the type of women who take back our own beauty and sexuality and power, the world no longer knows what to do, so they panic.
It is neither new, nor surprising, that we find women’s bodies beautiful and artful (*bodies of every gender are beautiful, for the record). But as soon as a woman puts all of herself out there, including her body and sexuality, unshamedly, the judgements and whispers begin. As if we are only allowed to appreciate other women’s bodies and sexuality, or our own, behind closed doors – with a lover, for their benefit, usually. Never really and truly for ourselves and by ourselves. And never out in the open as if we are sexual beings who enjoy our bodies and wish to share them, powerfully. Especially not if they deviate from the norm (*note: my body is pretty normative by most counts). This is a radical act.
For me, this has begun to feel natural. It’s a part of my becoming, my awakening. A part of my growing appreciation for myself as a woman. Sharing photos of my body, pieces of my sexuality, my ever-changing view of relationships – that part feels easy and organic. The hard part is untangling the judgements, and biases, and stories that have been told to make it seem like it’s shameful or wrong or dirty.
So in owning my sexy, I have taken the story back.
I have taken back the ability to say: “I’m going to be real, and honest, and I’m going to exist here. I’m going to put my body here, and you can judge or not judge, whisper or yell, and that doesn’t fucking change a thing.”
I have reclaimed my own boundaries. I have learned how to ask for help.
I have discovered a passion for sexual health. For sharing this passion with others, in order to create more open, loving, healthy communities.
I have found my voice, and claimed myself for myself.
I have unleashed who I truly am: open-minded, non-judgemental, wild, raw, real, sexual, powerful, creative; a human with ever changing needs and desires.
I have learned, perhaps most importantly, that we are all human and beautiful, raw, and real, and sexual. And the world will claim this part of us, and rip it apart, if we don’t take it back. If we don’t reclaim it. If we don’t own it.
It’s been a process and will continue to be, as I continue to unravel layers of myself. As I continue to work with women, and non-binary folks, and men, to understand what makes us human. To see the shadow sides of our own thoughts, and judgements, and biases. To learn how to experience ourselves wholly and completely. To learn how to show up authentically. And to say “fuck it” when we do something that the world has decided to judge.
To start this process, I encourage you to own your own sexy – you don’t have to get your nipple pierced, consider yourself warned! Do whatever feels good to you. Whatever that looks like. If it scares you, or excites you a little bit, you’re probably well on your way.
As always, if you are looking for guidance or want to share your thoughts, reach out. I want to hear from you.
Yours in sexy solidarity:
xo – c