Obviously we’re big believers in shouting about sex from the rooftops (if that’s what you’re into and feel comfortable with, of course). And while I personally see writing and talking about sex as super important because it normalises the conversation surrounding female pleasure, there are many reasons why other women feel the need to speak openly and freely about it. Plus, we’re lucky to able to when many women across the world don’t have that privilege.
As a way to get women to bang on about banging in a loud and honest way, Scarlet Ladies has launched their ITalkSex campaign which is all about sharing womens’ personal stories that explain why they… well… talk about sex, of course.
“We believe that no woman should ever be ashamed of her sexual experiences, needs or feelings,” says Scarlet Ladies founder Sarah. “We know that sexual oppression, rape and abuse thrive when women are ashamed to speak. We talk openly about sex because every woman, everywhere, has a right to feel good about her own body and her sexuality.”
From survivors of abuse to those who champion body and sex positivity, these 6 women explain why the conversation about sex is SO important.
1. “I talk sex because I was raped – and too ashamed to report it.”
Sexual predators take advantage of women’s silence. When I was raped, it took me a while to even realise what had happened to me. Because it did not happen in the way that we see on TV: I was not dragged into a dark alley and beaten within an inch of my life. I was on a first date. He took me to dinner. We kissed. He raped me. I blamed myself and was too ashamed to report him until two years after it happened. He never saw a court room.
Not talking about sex has allowed the lines between sex and rape to become blurry. We are unsure of ourselves and, in a time when it is still more shameful to be a rape victim than it is to be a rapist, we blame ourselves and allow ourselves to be silenced by our sense of shame.
Having been raped changed my life. It changed how I look at sex and how I look at men. I still feel the desire, but I no longer feel capable of allowing myself to let go, to trust anyone enough to be naked, to make myself so vulnerable. I am scared to not be able to control a situation. Scared it will happen again and not sure how to overcome that fear and get back to enjoying a healthy sex life.
Talking about sex allows me to air my worries and work through my feelings. By talking about sex, we can overcome shame, eradicate stigma and help each other overcome challenges to live a fulfilling life, in and out of the bedroom. – Sarah
2. “I talk sex because it may ultimately change another woman’s life for the better.”
Silence breeds shame and ignorance, and allows oppressive behaviour towards women to go unchallenged. By speaking openly and sharing feelings and experiences, we can teach and learn from each other. Ultimately, we can cast off the preconceived ideas, myths and misinformation that have been used for too long to hold women back.
I believe that knowledge is power. Whilst we encourage women to be empowered in every aspect of life, when it comes to sex and sexuality we are told we should be open but only in the bedroom, behind closed doors. We teach young girls as they grow into women that, no matter what else they achieve, their value can be measured in terms of how many people they allow between their legs.
By allowing that kind of thinking to continue, we teach women to be silent around their sex lives. Which ultimately teaches young girls and women to be silent about their abuse. Young women are told their pleasure is only approved for a man’s satisfaction, and we are encouraged to judge and shame each other for what we do with our bodies. By uniting, sharing, and finally speaking openly, we empower ourselves and each other. We will realise that, if we are to be happy within our lives and relationships, our pleasure should always come first. Your experiences are lessons that can and will help another woman. – Jannette
3. “Sex is a very human thing – yet only one gender is allowed to speak openly about it.”
Sex is constantly around us: as a very human thing, necessary to our survival as a species; and also as a very commercial thing, used every day by the advertising world to sell products not even slightly relating to sex. Yet, only one gender is allowed to speak about it openly without fear of scorn and repudiation. This is the paradox of being female: we’re sexy women, yet we’re also motherly life givers. This conflict ensures many women don’t know how to tread when discussing their sexuality.
Opening a conversation around women’s sexuality is especially essential for women in countries who have to curtail and emotionally imprison themselves due to their oppressive governments. – Rudo
4. “I talk sex to put an end to narrow-minded ignorance and abuse.”
I’m originally from Brazil – when people hear this, they instantly assume I have a lot of sex and love any physical contact. I have also been a victim of sexual abuse: at the age of 10 I was sexually abused by an uncle. When people hear this, they assume I hate sex.
Because I’ve spent most of my life trying to please people, I’ve tried to fit in with both of the above stereotypes. This, contributed to a mental breakdown a few years ago.
Now, I’ve walked away from abusive relationships – including one particularly harmful one where I became a personal porn star for a good 10 years. I’m in therapy and I’m finally getting to find out who I am. I am someone who enjoys sex, but now I can only be intimate with someone I love, respect, and feel extremely comfortable with. (Which apparently goes against my Brazilian roots; as I’m not having sex all the time …)
However, I am still very sex-positive; one of my favourite things is talking about sex and being open and honest about sex in my life. And how it is an important and big part of my identity. I also love learning about others’ experiences, and their views on sex in our society. – Endrielly
5. “I talk sex because I survived: I was raped because no one ‘talked sex’ to me.”
Everything I know about sex has been self-sought and self-taught, through experiences and discussions that were always too taboo for my environment or my peers. Last year, as a first-year at the prestigious country club of a university in upstate NY, USA, I was raped in the blurred-lines manner so typical of American college-town culture.
I remember telling my sister, in this shaking unsure way, that I thought I had been raped. And I remember my sister getting so mad at me, getting angry at the secondhand reputation she might attract because of friends of friends who know me and routinely relay to her how much of a “hoe” I am.
I am still very much confused about what I want and even more confused about what has happened to me and how it has affected me. But this confusion dissipates with the people I meet and the discussions I have. And that is why I (need to) talk sex. – Kit
6. “I talk sex because I love my body.”
Talking sex is important to me because black women are usually left out of the sexual empowerment conversation: we are often over-sexualised.
I would like to be a face for the woman who finds sex interesting, empowering and powerful.
I want to represent the woman who has a bit of extra fat and celebrates her curves. I believe you have to be the change you want to see. I want to be that. – Rachael