I had a conversation a couple of weeks with my grandmother about her life. She was married at 16 when she got pregnant and had three children by the time she was 20. When I asked about this, she said it was just how things were. She and my grandfather were not aware of birth control options and made no conscious choices around it. No one talked openly with her about sex and everything she learned was through trial and error.
Not all that long ago, women were brought up to believe that nice girls didn’t talk about sex, let along enjoy having it. Sex was about having children and something many felt an obligation to rather than a desire for. This is not a post about sex however our ideals around sexuality are rooted in how we think about it. Culturally we are taught that men marry women who are innocent, yet we are supposed to know how to please them. We are expected to be demure, yet sexy and know our way around our bodies, but not well enough to completely please ourselves. So as I write about sexuality, I wonder, what does it really mean to me?
Sexuality is defined as our capacity for sexual feelings. This definition implies that regardless of how intense or grand our feelings are there is some sense of sexuality in all of us. We are all sexual beings, however, sexuality involves more than the act of sex. My capacity for sexual feelings increases when my husband and I connected spiritually. When we have an amazing conversation or when we have spent a morning working in our garden and feel at one with our home, nature and the life we have. I would describe this as intimacy. Therefore, for me, a component of sexuality is intimacy.
If I were to address culture again, I was brought up to be aware of what was happening in my body and to be comfortable talking about sex but there was still always an underlying theme of “talk but don’t do.” It becomes counterintuitive to how I was brought up then that I should embrace my sexuality. This only started to happen for me when I had my first really loving relationship. Where the person I was with cared deeply for me emotionally, as well as physically. I would call this trust. So, another component of sexuality for me is trust.
I would acknowledge of course that each person defines sexuality differently and that for each of us the components look a little different. For me, it involves intimacy and trust. What does sexuality mean to you and what components have to be in place for you to connect to your sexuality?