Posted by Isidora Durán Stewart
It is of my understanding that women generally undergo two distinct sexual awakenings throughout their lifetime: the first, a seemingly necessary leap into a selfless world characterised by confusion, naivety, and fear, and the second, a dialectical consequence of the debilitating shame produced by these early sexual experiences. While the sexual realm of existence is, from my experience, an endless process of unlearning and relearning, the moment a woman is forced to come face-to-face with her own pleasure is the moment that the veritable sacredness of sex is revealed from behind the patriarchal veil.
The first time a partner paused, grazed my hand or cheek, and softly asked “what would you like?”, shattered the pane which had forever existed between the sexual acts I engaged in and my own sexual self. This is not to imply that such person was a ‘saviour’ type figure, but a catalyst for my own revelation in how to be sexual with another person. I masturbated regularly since age 13, had erotic fantasies about many people and delved into the world of online porn, but once I lay beside a partner, my mind went blank, bar a rushing tirade of insecurities, which was manifested into desperate efforts to please him, just to take the attention off of myself.
In spite of the general divergence between the notion of purity and sacredness and the general discourse on sex, I firmly believe that little else in life is as divine as sharing sexual pleasure with another person. Realising this relinquished the shame that I felt and presented itself as an opportunity for me to re-learn how to enjoy sex.
Currently, I could not feel more connected to my erotic energy and sharing it with another person could not be more satisfying, self-affirming and profound. Such an experience begins either in bed (before going to sleep or after waking up) or during the day when my partner and I feel particularly close. Deep in conversation, I brush past his leg with my hand as our eyes lock, and, still chatting, our connection extends from the verbal to the physical as we become closer, and closer.
We often brush one another’s hair out of our eyes while we’re having sex, and smile, giggle or gaze deeply, basking in what is a truly positive, virtuous act. Saying this may seem obvious, but in some previous experiences, I could not have been more disconnected from my partner, restrained by feelings of shame and insecurity. Even then, I would know that sex is not a shameful thing, although the absence of positive representation in various societal institutions framed it as taboo. Engaging with one’s sexual self, proclaiming one’s needs and desires, and communicating with an another seemed daunting and unattainable.
Now, desires which often encountered a blockage within flow out of my mouth easily, and the presence of a loving, respectful partner has helped to transform my self-doubt into affirming moments of dignity and affection. Brushing pubic hair, smiling and saying “I love doing that, it feels nice”, placing an extra pillow under a head, or behind a back, asking “Is everything okay? You’ve gone a bit quiet,” or suggesting a kinkier position or act, all previously incited fear within me, but now allow for a closer connection and more diversity, satisfaction, silliness, intimacy, and fun.
What I find to be most pressing is not the pleasure-drought which exists worldwide among women, but the consensus among groups that this is what sex is. Sex, in itself, is an isolated physical act, a sexual experience with another is a multi-faceted coming together of multiple minds and bodies and experiences of the world into a connection like no other.
Sex needs to be coaxed out behind the prohibitive bars it has been placed behind by patriarchal institutions; doing so will re-define what it means to be sacred, and reunite spirituality with the mundane, because that is what sex is, a truly divine, higher form of connection which is so common, so sought after, so essential to life that it could not be more banal.
Isidora is a 22 year old writer currently living and working in Dublin, Ireland. She has written for local newspapers; the national LGBT+ press (GCN), and is currently working on publishing Ireland’s first environmental magazine, Hoax. With a background in philosophy and a passion for the creative arts, Isidora tries to write pieces that are both linguistically pleasing and thought provoking which also challenge the status quo. You can find her on Instagram.
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