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Women's Internalized Oppression: Undermining Your Own Sexuality

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Other than professional sex educators, virtually no one is telling young women that they must guide their own sexuality, not relinquish the job to men or "circumstances" (or bury it altogether).

If you have daughters, are you hiding your sexuality from them? For example, do you pretend you don't notice men on the street, or use contraception, or dress to highlight your best physical features, or have a sexual relationship with your mate (assuming you do)? This is not "flaunting" your sexuality at your child - this is simply acknowledging it the way you acknowledge the rest of your personhood.

Your mom probably hid her sexuality from you; this surely made it more difficult for you to develop a mature sexual outlook. Like most women, as a result, you have been more vulnerable to society's mixed messages and dehumanizing myths about female sexuality.

At some level, every girl tries to be like mom. Copying a mom who seems to lack sexuality, or most of its parts, can provide a shaky foundation for a girl bound for womanhood.

So we come full circle. What shall a woman do instead of honoring oppressive myths, undermining her own sexuality? Honor her sexual experiences, rather than try to interpret them through a distorted social formula of powerlessness, ambivalence, wholesomeness, pseudo-maleness and perfect-body-ism. And see sex as an active partnership between lovers, not some mysterious thing created by tradition to be passively accepted.

Yes, for some women this perspective will require personal, relationship and social change. But healthy adult sexuality is worth it: a dependable source of rich, nurturing, intimate, fun experiences during which you can feel powerful and womanly. Making that part of your life is probably long overdue...isn't it?

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The way to embrace your sexuality is to indulge it, with the caveat to take safety precautions. I certainly indulged mine from a very young age until I was 48, and then I basically lost interest in sex and have never regained it and don't miss it. Maybe enough was enough.

Of course, I think it was easier in those days, except when I was very young; the political climate then was much like now and people did talk trash about me, although I've never cared what people said about me. Later in the '60s that disapproval ended, especially here in San Francisco.

Other people's opinions, whether women's or men's, never stopped me. By the time I was an adult, no one dared say anything to me, and if they said anything behind my back it didn't affect me. I encourage other women to be the same.

June 26, 2010 - 12:54am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

This is great text, really made me thinking...

June 25, 2010 - 12:25pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Number one- you can enjoy sex without being in a relationship just fine. Just respect hygiene rules, be safe, be smart, be discreet for pete's sake. No one says it's wrong to love having sex when you're not in love. Nothing's wrong with being laid!
Personally, I use the term "slut" (yes everyone says it) to describe women(or girls, or teenagers) with little or no self respect. These are girls who take pride in calling THEMSELVES these things, who like sleeping with anyone- dirty or clean- just for kicks and giggles. They sleep with people to end friendships with people they don't like anymore, they betray and hurt people on purpose. These are sluts. People on a pole, not sluts. People with their asses hanging out of their pants (maybe need a reality check) but not sluts.

i'm a 17 year old girl, and this is what I think.
Respect yourself, your partners, yours and their health, and yours and their right to privacy- and you aren't a slut.

You're a sexual deviant.

June 22, 2010 - 2:54am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

This is a horrible attempt to justify being a slut with feminism. I'm sad that people agree and support this. -_- A slut is NOT a woman who can enjoy sex without being in love, that's not negative at all, and rarely do I ever see that looked down upon. The only time women like that are called sluts is in high school. In fact, me and my current boyfriend started out acquaintances with a relationship no further than sex a couple times a week. No, a true slut is a woman who wears near-illegal next to nothing clothes based on promiscuity who are willing to have sex with married or taken men or multiple partners within a short period of time. I think the poster and supporters of this article know next to nothing about sexual health and the modern definition of a slut. Its important to be sexually healthy, now I'm not saying everyone needs to be in a long term relationship to have sex. Nonono. Even relationships based purely on sex have the potential to be healthy. Its -sluts- who sleep without knowing the others past sex life. Not just once either, but with multiple partners. (Whether in the same time frame or not.) I'm sure every right minded individual can see this is a bad idea.
This article would be okay if you were speaking up for women being called sluts that ARE NOT sluts, or women sleeping out of long term relationships or wedlock or any such thing. But to simply stick up for sleeping around...
And you compare it with a male. "Men do this, so we can too." Do we praise men for such things? "Oh you slept with me and then with my best friend. Its NATURAL. Its OK." Does this happen? Using that attitude is bad for any scenario. "They got away with dealing drugs, so I can too!"
Also! For someone who is against generalizations and labeling a group (Sluts in your case, which for some reason you think is any sexually open woman.) you are very hypocritical. Despite what anti-man thoughts and ethics you have, not all men sleep around. In fact, many men find the idea gross. Sleeping with a sexually clean and healthy woman is far more intriguing to them then sleeping with several different promiscuous ladies whose sexual health is questionable.
This is how AIDS became such a big deal; promiscuity.
I wish people would think about such things before being for a cause.

~Michelle, 18, TX

May 25, 2010 - 6:06pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Why is this not written by a woman??? Thanks, but we - women- do not need men to tell us it's OK to be sexual and excited and loud and beautiful...

May 23, 2010 - 6:57am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Hey, worked through all that and yeah... all well and good until you come up to men who get offended if you make suggestions, don't want to be bothered taking the time, lack imagination or curiosity... or basically don't care what YOU want as long as they are happy campers. Back to square one in the ladies cheerful sex department.

April 22, 2010 - 2:35am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

live and let live

March 23, 2010 - 5:38pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I think,and I truly know,where is truly lowe there haven't sex,and vise versa

March 21, 2010 - 3:33pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Wow, generalize much? Even if I agreed with much of your article (which I don't), I would have become much less offended reading it if you had chosen to use other words than "like most women", "you probably", and "virtually no one". While I think that some of your point was fair enough (that women should feel comfortable with their sexuality as it is on their own terms), this was mostly lost in your assumptions about how most women feel, behave, and think, which seems to reflect some kind of bias in your own interpretations of the your relationships with various women in your life.

March 18, 2010 - 11:41am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Anyone who thought this article was thought-provoking should definitly look into "Lip Service" by Kate Fillion. Warning; this book will make you think! About almost every aspect of the myth of 'True Femininity' from our relationships with other women both personal and prefessional, to owning up to the fact that every woman owns her own sexuality (and that there is an enormous difference between 'unwanted' and 'unavoidable' sex and NOBODY seems to care about it!! This is a pet hatred of mine) to being responsible when her own machinations go awry (That is NOT repeat NOT an argument of the "Oh she deserved it" variety, machinations occur outside the arena of sexuality you know!). This is not a book to read if you cherish the semi-divine idea of femininity, if however like me you're sick to the back teeth of trying to reach the impossible standards of other people (insert; 'other women' here) and just want to enjoy your short time while you're here, then this is the book for you.
just prepare to the chargrined at the embarrassing memories....

March 18, 2010 - 10:56am
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