Becoming a sexually-empowered woman has been an extraordinary journey. It is one that has required a deep sense of embodiment, ceaseless inner reflection, and a great deal of healing when it comes to unresolved shame and the ways in which cultural norms have conditioned me to regard intimacy. Throughout this process, I have shed an array of limiting belief systems, released myself from “good girl” etiquette, and have leaned into my feminine power to create a world in which my desires can be manifested simply by being my most authentic self.
If I told you this was an easy quest, I would be lying. And while supporting my clients through their own journeys of lessening shame and embracing sexual expression is a large part of my practice, I too, must continuously do the work in order to accept myself fully.
In a book called Unbound: A Woman’s Guide to Power by Kasia Urbaniak, the author writes about “good girls” and how it is their job to maintain the status quo. She writes: “Good girls are chaste and selfless. They’re modest, accommodating, upbeat, friendly, low-maintenance, and appropriate—while remaining sexually available to sanctioned parters, of course. A good girl is moderate, in temperament and appetite. She avoids conflict, responds in a timely fashion, considers others first, and is an expert at making do. She never outshines anyone, but never falls behind, either. She adapts and harmonizes and doesn’t ruffle feathers—which is precisely why she can never be a catalyst for change.”
When reading this passage, I was forced to confront my own qualities and how challenging it was—and sometimes still is—to leave behind these exhausting behavioral patterns and step into my erotic prowess.
And while doing so has enabled me to become a fierce and confident woman who is mastering the art of self-love, there are still moments when I become insecure and question the ways in which I am perceived by those around me.
This is a vulnerable sentiment to admit as an intimacy coach who advocates for self-approval despite the opinions of others, but I am only human. And it is for this very reason I feel so driven to speak on the subject.
As a sexual woman, I feel as though I am constantly tip-toeing on eggshells. Women in general are prone to hearing judgmental remarks. Your tits are too big or they’re not big enough. You’re too loud or you’re too shy. You’re too thick or you have no ass. You’re a slut or you’re too prude. We get caught between an endless teeter of being too much or not enough and it becomes a debilitating cycle for those of us in search of conviction and self-knowing. We abandon ourselves to the demands of others and create dishonest versions of who we truly are to align with what we think we should be. But with that comes a loss of awareness and self-esteem.
Allowing the words of others to disrupt our peace and giving into that “good girl” conditioning inhibit our ability to show up for ourselves and be true to who we are with integrity and compassion. But even with the courage to disregard the chatter and surrender into the deliciousness of my sexual self, I often times wonder if that is the only thing people see—but more specifically, men.
When it comes to social media, I am fully aware that sandwiched between fitness selfies and thoughtful reels are a handful of risque images—boudoir, submissive portraits, amorous entanglement with other women. And more importantly, I understand this exposure plays a part in my own objectification, but it is also part of my brand.
It is who I am as an intimacy coach and sexually liberated female. I think what really matters is impact and personal choice.
Yes, the images do attract unwanted attention. It comes with the territory. But I choose to share these images as a means of celebrating our bodies and inspiring others. I strive to challenge conventional mindsets, normalize sexuality, and encourage people to appreciate the depth and profound nature of intimacy. I control what I am revealing to the world and that in itself is a form of freedom and empowerment.
There are however, days when I over think and hesitate, becoming lost in the traditional ideas that women should contain their sexuality and only present themselves in a respectable and modest manner. While I have done a great deal of work to remedy my own inherited shame, every now and again, I fear I am only being seen for my eroticism rather than who I am as a whole being.
When a man asks me what I do for a living and I disclose my intimacy practice, I hear a handful of the same discomforting responses: Well shit, I need intimacy coaching. That sounds really hot, tell me more. Can you help me with intimacy (insert winking emoji)? I wanna play (insert devil emoji). Do you have sex in that dungeon, too? As a woman, it is not my responsibility to teach men how to behave or educate them on what is and isn’t okay. They should know better. And I certainly shouldn’t feel the pressure to make myself small or downplay my sexuality to avoid the male gaze.
When a man tells me he would like intimacy coaching, my first instinct is to agree and welcome him with open arms because I have a genuine passion for helping individuals. I want nothing more than to show them that intimacy and emotional connection are learnable and teachable. It brings me so much fulfillment in knowing that I have the ability to play a role in facing their wounds and challenges so that they can bravely show vulnerability and experience deep bonds and sexual expression. But when I receive these comments, I become skeptical of their true intentions. I often wonder how many of these men are sincere and how many are reaching out with the assumption that being a sexually empowered woman equates to giving myself freely. Additionally, this apprehension tends to pour into my dating experiences.
Individuals yearn to be seen, heard, and accepted for everything they are, without conditions—myself included. I move through this world generally unbothered by the opinions of others, but even with full certitude in who I am as a woman, I’ve recently discovered my lack of initial trust in those who pursue me romantically. I ask myself whether or not I am being courted for me or if I am being fetishized. I think about whether or not I am being taken seriously as an intimacy coach. I contemplate if they are only after sex because they expect it from someone who speaks unashamedly about the subject. I even ponder if the men I date can have a sense of security within themselves to be fully comfortable with what I do and still have the desire to build a solid partnership without worrying about what their inner circle may think.
These are some of the recurring thoughts that occupy my mind and I have to repeatedly remind myself of the strong human I have become. I have to affirm that I am proud of myself and that while I am not for everyone, I only need to be enough for me and I would never change myself at the mercy of connection. I have to trust that what is meant for me will be and that these musings will dissipate with the right individual.
Society’s ideologies around sex and emotions are hard to digest, especially given that sexuality has always been a potent force within me. I had to give myself permission to be unapologetically and erotically me, relearning myself as I outstripped the cultural understandings that once shaped both me and my intimate relationships.
I have to actively work at creating an empathetic environment for myself to heal and be uniquely me, to leave behind what is deemed appropriate and the ways in which I was taught a woman should and should not behave.
Women are sexual beings, if not more so than men, and we are allowed to seek pleasure and express ourselves in the ways we desire without remorse or shame. Our sexuality does not define our worthiness or loyalty. We are still owed love and respect. Women can be openly sexual, intelligent, artistic, and influential synchronously. Sexuality is complex, but leaning into our erotic authenticity is a natural element of our existence. It is how we build harmonious relationships with ourselves and others. Sexual empowerment gives us the grit to communicate our needs in all areas of our lives, to become settled in our love languages, and feel safe and at peace in our bodies.
In the book Loving Yourself Properly by Sylvester McNutt III, he writes: “If you want people to like or love the real you, then you have to commit to being your most authentic self. Be tactful and respect other people’s boundaries, but do not diminish yourself to keep others happy. We are off that.” I give people my pure and truest energy, the realest version of myself, and I always will. But I know I cannot control the energy I receive in return and I definitely cannot dictate the ways in which others choose to interpret me. So, I let these feelings ebb and flow as they come because I know myself and I trust that I am on the right path.
Being a sexually-empowered female is not for the weak of heart, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It commands ongoing self-work and realization. It is a continuous journey of knowing yourself, rewriting your sexual story, and cultivating an unfaltering relationship with intimacy and those you welcome into it.