I came across this post in which a woman asked for advice on how to speak to her daughters about sex when she herself has never really enjoyed it:
Dear Abby: I’ve been married more than 20 years and have three children. What I haven’t had is a real desire for sex — nor have I ever had, as far as I know, an orgasm. Before my wedding, my mother warned me that sex was overblown, uncomfortable and messy, but she said I had to put up with it if I wanted kids and a good marriage. Movies, TV shows and ED ads all suggest that “normal” women are just looking for the next opportunity to jump into bed with their man. Am I a freak? Are there others like me? What do I tell MY girls as they grow up?
I felt so strongly about it that I felt I had to answer this for all of the women who find themselves in a similar situation. You can see the original post here.
Dear Waiting in Wichita:
First I want to acknowledge the sadness that I feel when reading your question. To have been married for over 20 years with 3 children and never feel as if you’ve enjoyed sex leaves me somber and is exactly why I do the work that I do. Of course, you are not “a freak” and unfortunately, many women find themselves in your same exact situation, feeling the same way you do. Only about 1% of the population is truly asexual, but many more women have never been given the chance to not only enjoy their sexuality, but to celebrate it too.
It’s also very disappointing that your mother passed along her negative attitudes about sex to you. As I detail in my book Wanting to Want, negative statements such as the ones you heard can create expectations about sex that will literally diminish your experience of pleasure. Yes, sex can be uncomfortable at times, but it can also be glorious and all-encompassing. Yes, sex can be messy, but so can be eating fresh lobster with melted butter or licking all the cake batter from inside a bowl. Does that make them less enjoyable? What sex is not is overblown. Not only is it the way that we come together to create life, but it’s also the primary way that we bond, balance our hormones, and experience the vitality of the life force coursing through us.
Unfortunately, people are often taught to be wary or frightened of sex. Others are taught that there is no pleasure for women and that it is just meant to be tolerated. Still others may be taught that it is not “right” for a woman to have sexual pleasure or desire, so a strong layer of guilt might act as a cement coffin for your sexuality – if you let it. The most important thing to do right now is start to explore your own sexuality and how it can give you pleasure. That might not be with your husband/partner right away and may just be your own personal thing.
Start to explore your body, its sensations, your thoughts and fantasies, and your pleasure in all things. Your daughters will not only be listening to the words you say, but also learning from how you actually feel inside. By learning that your sexuality deserves to be enjoyed and celebrated is the first step. Yes, there are many books that can be recommended to you and/or your daughters. But it will be experience that shapes how you think and feel about it. Please don’t give up on your sexual self.
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