5 Ways a Man Can Truly Embrace a Woman’s Sexual Expression

by OneTaste Living Library  Feb 21, 2014

601123_358617950917670_1554513654_nOriginally posted the Good Men Project, written by Lasara Firefox Allen

Start with this: it’s likely that the women you are interested in, and who are interested in you, want to get sexy with you. It’s also likely that the women you want to get sexy with are afraid that if they do get sexy with you, you may not respect them afterward.

As outmoded as this may seem, the sooner you come to understand that these fears are grounded in a reality that reinforces them, and that you may be inadvertently reinforcing that reality, the sooner you will be on your way to creating an area around you that is a safe space for women to be feel comfortable in their skin.

How can you be possibly the ‘First Man Ever’ to encourage the women you want to get sexy with to be fully expressed in their sexuality? Here are a few easy steps.

1. Never call a woman a slut. Any woman. Ever.

Most of us are aware of the old double standard. He gets a pat on the back, she gets a slap on the hand. He’s a stud, she’s a slut. He’s a pimp, she’s a “ho.” He’s a dude, she’s a nympho.

Women and men alike fall into the thoughtless repetition of this kind of default name-calling. Without even thinking about it, without even meaning anything by it, even for nonsexual infractions against the standard format for interaction, women and girls are called names that lead to them feeling “dirty” about even the possibility of being seen as sexual beings.

Every time you call a woman – any woman – a slut or anything similar, you are reinforcing the idea that sexually active women are bad, gross, wrong, immoral, damaged goods. The purity expectation is the expectation that you will be her first lover. Even if you don’t think you have this expectation, cultural conditioning is sneaky.

I could toss a bunch of made-up stats out there about “how many is too many” as far as sexual partners go and illustrate the uneven playing field that way, but instead I’ll ask you to consider what your thoughts and feelings are on the issue.

This line of thought is perpetuating the “purity expectation”; another idea we wish had fallen by the wayside. The purity expectation is the expectation that you will be her first lover. Even if you don’t think you have this expectation, cultural conditioning is sneaky. I suggest, once again, that you sit with that for a moment and see if there isn’t some shred of attachment to this idea, as nonsensical as it may be.

How messed up is it that some guys will sleep with a woman, and then call that same woman a slut for having slept with him? I am sure you wouldn’t do that. But how does she know you wouldn’t? If you ever call any woman a slut, you are reinforcing the fear most women have that they will be exposed as a sexual being.

And in a cultural that vilifies a sexualized woman, that would be a bad thing.

Break the pattern.

Even better than merely not calling any woman a slut ever, how about taking it a step further and calling your bros on it when they inadvertently slip into this pattern? I know it may be a challenge to take the guys to task at first, but it gets easier over time.

Bonus: taking action in this way is sure to get you points with the ladies in your life.

2. Don’t sexually shame her.

It seems obvious; if you want women around you to feel comfortable in their sexual expression, don’t shame them when they express their sexuality. The moments of shaming that happen may seem harmless to you. But to her, those interactions may be deeply wounding.

Remember that a woman is already taking a risk by dressing or acting in a sexual manner, and even what you intend as gentle teasing or playful banter may actually come across as hurtful.

Shaming may be expressed as microaggressions. Microaggressions aren’t big and splashy. They can appear to be tiny, and be totally inadvertent.

While they may seem irrelevant if you don’t know how they work, microaggressions are an important concept to really get. Microaggressions are cumulative; they wear people down. They also normalize thoughts and behaviors that lead to the possibility of straight-out aggression.

Microaggressions are both the result and the cause of rape culture. Rape culture is the ultimate deterrent to women’s sexual empowerment. Recognize the microaggressions that allow for the continued deterioration of women’s sexual empowerment, and you will have made a huge difference for the women around you, and for yourself in the process.

Here are some examples of microaggressions:

  • “Concern” for her well-being: Making a statement of concern implies that she is doing something that is dangerous. If what she’s doing has been deemed dangerous, why would she feel comfortable in it? Additionally, this microaggression is paternalistic, and implies that you believe that you have the authority to tell her how to dress or behave. It can also be perceived as a threat; the underlying theme of “If you know what’s good for you…” is a deterrent to a woman feeling empowered in her expression.
  • Unsolicited input on her choice of presentation – clothing, makeup, etc: Unless she asks you, assume that she doesn’t want you to tell her what you think of how she’s presenting. Feel free to offer sincere compliments, but be conscious of tone and implication.
  • The assumption that her sexual expression is for your benefit: Women want to feel free to express their sexual selves. That means having agency over their own bodies, appearance, and actions. When you assume that a woman is being sexy for your benefit – or the benefit of men in general – you are in essence taking away that agency. You are making the woman an object, a thing to be acted upon, instead of a subject; that which takes action.
  • Making assumptions about her boundaries: Just because she’s dressed to the nines doesn’t mean she “wants it.” Just because she’s letting that other guy touch her doesn’t mean she’s open to whatever. This ties into the previous microaggression. She owns her sexual expression. And that’s what you want, right?
  • Talking about sexual choices of other women in a negative manner in front of a woman: This not only leads to a woman potentially feeling shamed, it will damage her trust in you as an ally, friend, or potential lover.
When you are in a relationship with a woman, sexual shaming can become much more personal. When she says she likes porn, the best thing you can do is take it stride, and go with the flow. (Unless you don’t like porn. In which case take responsibility for your feelings, and your judgments off her expression.) Both an over-exuberant “OHMYGODFORREAL?”, and an understated, “Uh, really?” can make her self-conscious.

Don’t ask her how many lovers she’s had. When she says what she likes, don’t ask where she learned that. If she says she likes kink, you don’t have to like kink, but don’t say, “Really? Wow.” If you want the women in your life to be fully sexually expressed, shock or disgust will not get you what you want.

3. Be curious, while also maintaining excellent boundaries.

Easy-going curiosity is a great way to let the women in your life know that you’re cool with who they are. Also, being a good listener shows a woman that you’re really interested in knowing who she is. It’s also breaking a standard male-female dynamic; the one where women are supposed to listen, giggle, and play with their hair, and men are supposed to brag about their jobs, cars, and money.

Be real, and open, and allow and encourage her to be as well.
Gross. None of us want to fall into that one, right? No matter what thePUA and MRA crap says, or the “how to get a man” tomes rely on, you don’t want to be known as your brags, and she doesn’t want to be known as her willingness to make you feel like a man.

Be real, and open, and allow and encourage her to be as well. Ask questions. Listen with curiosity. Engage with genuine sincerity.

4. Gently share your secrets.

Sharing secrets is a great way to create rapport, and up your intimacy quotient. It builds trust, and creates a bond that may help a woman feel safe with you.

One caveat; don’t over-share. Telling stories that are too intimate too soon may be received as a violation.

Cool secrets to share might be situations where you felt embarrassed but everything turned out well in the end. Off-putting confessions are humblebrags (“I don’t know why, but chicks totally dig me.”), the size of your cock, unresolved, uncomfortable stories, or “The weirdest ever!” tales.

Stay playful and light at first, and slowly move deeper as the intimacy allows. This builds on item # 3. Share and listen and create a sweet, safe, potentially very sexy bubble of intimacy.

5. Gently ask her to share hers.

Again with the double standard; as a man you have been told by the dominant culture that your sexual wants are to be expected and explored.

Yes, I know that if you have also been told a lot of other things from other sources. I also understand that you feel tons of pressure due to the expectations that the culture puts on you regarding your sexual expression.

That said, it’s still important to remember that she has very likely not been encouraged to express herself sexually. Remember that she has almost certainly been warned that her sexual desires are wrong, or that her sexual adventurousness is harmful to her, and even to others.

Without expectation, and with compassion, invite her to reveal the things she’s never been given the space to share.