By Natasha Ivanovic
What comes to your mind when you think of a sexually empowered person? If you struggle to formulate an answer, you’re not alone. This is partly because most of us struggle to grasp what sexual empowerment really looks and feels like.
For many, our perceptions might be limited to a minx-like woman strutting with confidence in 6-inch stilettos, or a man “scoring” a hook-up with someone he met that night.
But sexual empowerment is far more complex than what our society, culture, and the media leads us to believe. For many of us, we’re simply unaware of the various elements that have shaped our perceptions of sexuality, gender, and attraction, without making the connection that these perceptions may be inherently limiting. It’s a layered concept that requires candid conversations about sex, history, expectations, and vulnerability.
This toolkit is intended to help guide you in the direction of sexual discovery and freedom (can we get an ‘amen’)! Sexual empowerment is a continuous journey as we continually grow and change over time. However, in true BBXX style, we hope to help you get onto the right path with our handpicked resources on the topic.
Whether you’re in a relationship or single, it’s never too late to learn more about your sexuality and own it. By investing the time into creating a loving relationship with yourself, you’ll be able to more intimately share with a partner, or not; you decide what your sexual freedom will look and feel like.
After reading this toolkit, you’ll hopefully have a better understanding of how to feel more empowered sexually, to ultimately live your best, most liberated sex life.
Discovering Your Sexual Confidence
Wherever you look, the most common piece of advice—whether you’re about to sleep with someone for the first time, or try out a new sex toy with your partner—is to “be confident.” But saying this phrase and practicing it are two different things; when it comes to developing sexual confidence and empowerment, this is a daily challenge and one we must consistently pay attention to. What’s important is we know where to start: from within.
For many of us, our sexual empowerment began as an outward, extrinsically-motivated search as we sought out validation through other people.
Here’s how we re-frame that tendency: start by asking yourself the question, ‘what is sexual empowerment to me?’
A few hints: sexual empowerment doesn’t stem from your partner, how sexually ‘experienced’ you are, or how many people find you attractive; it often comes through the discovery of self-love and self-pleasure. In other words, if you want to achieve real sexual freedom, fall in love with yourself.
By exploring your emotions and bringing to the surface any oppressed feeling or desires, you can start to examine your own behavior and remove the emotional burden or shame you may feel. Through this journey, you’ll develop a deeper relationship with yourself as a sexual being. But the intrinsic, emotional side is only one aspect of becoming a sexually empowered person.
It wouldn’t be a ‘sexual empowerment’ toolkit if we didn’t talk about sex with another person, right?
What makes you feel good during sex? What are your sexual fantasies? What things do you want to try in the bedroom? Many of us have yet to reflect deeply on these questions and why we might feel uncomfortable with the exploration, to begin with; which ultimately impedes on our ability to experience true sexual fulfillment.
Now, you may be thinking, “Wow, I didn’t think there would be so many components to sexual empowerment.” Well, sexual oppression has been happening for centuries, so there’s a lot to unpack. But it’s well worth it.
Reading & Resources
The best way to understand your baseline of sexual empowerment is to first understand the history of sexuality. And, no, this isn’t anything like your high school history class; we’re getting straight to the good stuff.
By understanding the past you can work on changing the future, and the following links provide you with a better understanding of why we have specific beliefs and social norms regarding sex and intimacy, and why your current perceptions of sex may be more confining than you realize them to be.
For many years, it was believed that full sexual monogamy was natural to our species. Culture and religion backed up those beliefs over time; however, that narrative no longer serves many people in modern society. Authors Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá offer an alternative explanation about sex by digging through humans’ promiscuous past while exploring our present-day struggles with sexuality.
We can all have better sex. At least, that’s what London-based sex therapists Louise Mazanti, Ph.D. and Mike Lousada say. Couple and authors of the book Real Sex answer a Q&A about what’s wrong with the sex people are having, characterize what sexual energy is, and give helpful tips on ways you can better connect to your sexual energy.
Sexual shame isn’t specific to one place in the world; it’s a global issue. Every day, we are given mixed messages on the rights and wrongs of our sexuality. In this BBXX Podcast Dr. Tina Schermer, author of Sex, God and the Conservative Church, talks about how to address and resolve sexual shame and reclaim self-pleasure––and your greater wellbeing.
Sex hasn’t changed much since we first discovered it, yet we’re the only species that stigmatize certain sexual practices. Dr. Kate Lister covers a wide range of topics in her book A Curious History of Sex, debunking common myths and stereotypes while reflecting on human’s sexual history. Lister is full of wit and humor, with every page being more entertaining than the last.
Reconnecting with Your Sexuality
The first step to reconnecting with your sexuality is admitting that you’re disconnected from it. But where do you start? With so many opinions, it can be hard to figure out who to listen to. The resources provided below will help by teaching you the basics of both men and women’s sexuality, debunk popular myths, and give you the steps on how to reconnect with your sexual side.
Reading & Resources
The clitoris, for many, remains an unsolved mystery. But it’s time to start exploring the clitoris and learn everything there is about it—because there’s a lot you likely don’t know. Australian doctor Helen O’Connell, the woman who ‘discovered’ it, sits down with Yumi Stynes to talk about the sacred clitoris. Whether you have a clit or not, your mind will be blown by just how fascinating it actually is.
Sexual empowerment usually revolves around women; however, men also have their challenges in understanding their sexuality. This podcast features tantra teacher, sexual healer, and mentor David Cates, as he discusses male sexual issues, mindful intimacy, and developing a mature sex life.
Sexual disconnection is all too common in modern day society––but it doesn’t have to stay that way. In this article, goop sits down with Michaela Boehm about Tantra as she debunks popular myths about intimacy and energy. Boehm tells us how we can reconnect with ourselves and direct our energy down south for more mindful sex and self-pleasure.
Sexual empowerment is about reconnecting with yourself and being honest about your desires. In this BBXX Podcast, founder of Boulder Sex Therapy, Tara Galeano, discusses how she helps women reimagine their bodies and reconnect with the sexuality,particularily after cancer.
This documentary was seven years in the making before it was finally released, and it was worth the wait. Sticky: A (Self) Love Story dives deep into the topic of masturbation and our relationship with it. While the documentary interviews sexologists, porn stars, authors, and religious figures, it’s also full of humor and media clips that help bring some levity to this complex, tabooed subject.
Sexual expression is much more complex than the assumptions we tend to make about our own, or others,’ outward behaviors around sexuality. This article talks about the difference between sexual empowerment and seeking validation and how to make sure your sexual choices are made authentically.
If you want to become sexually empowered, it helps to stock up on some great pleasure products; but you want to make sure they’re safe and healthy to use. This article highlights the 10 best non-toxic essentials for your bedroom nightstand. Consider your sex life detoxed!
Tying it all together
When it comes to sexual empowerment, it really comes back to authenticity and vulnerability.
What’s important to remember is we’re all in this together, discovering more about who we are and what we want in the bedroom. But like any journey, it takes time and dedication to achieve fulfillment. So, be patient with yourself.
Our toolkit shows that sexual empowerment is crucial not only for healthy relationships with other people, but in cultivating a healthy relationship with yourself. By working through emotional issues and breaking down sexual barriers, you’ll be able to discover your sexuality and the things that provide you pleasure. The more you learn about yourself, the closer you are to controlling your own life.
Whether you’re wanting to improve your sex life with your current partner or discover more about self-pleasure, we hope you were able to take something from this toolkit to support you in your journey. If you have any questions or thoughts that weren’t addressed here, we’d love to hear from you at email@example.com or on IG at @bbxx.world.