Today I want to talk about something really important to me. This something that touches everyone, this reason that I do what I do, my passion in life: Sexual freedom. We live in a world where sexual freedom is not a given. It’s not a given to be at peace in your own body. It’s not a given to be able to love yourself. It’s not a given to be unashamed of who you are on the basis of your identities. This. Touches. Everyone.
I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned it before, but ever since I was a kid I knew I wanted to be a mom. That’s probably why this is so important to me. I don’t want my children to grow up in the world I grew up in. I don’t want them to grow up in a world where they are ashamed of their bodies or their sexuality. I don’t want them to grow up in a world ashamed of being who they are. While there’s definitely a selfish part of me that wants to protect what is (or, would be) mine, I honestly don’t want anyone to be ashamed of who they are.
I don’t have kids yet, but at some point in my future I will. I will have beautiful children. I will have children that will surprise me, change me, and teach me. And I will teach them. I will teach them how to love their bodies in spite of the messages telling them that everything they are is wrong. I will teach them that their bodies are theirs to control, in spite of the messages that say that their bodies are not their own. I will teach them that personal expression and identity is just that, and they do not have to conform to the roles that society has assigned to them.
I will teach them that sex should be pleasurable, and that pleasure is in fact a birthright. I will teach them that their relationships do not have to be constrained by the rigid barriers that society has given us. I will teach them that love is limitless. I will teach them the power of the word “no”. I will teach them that they get to decide who they are, who they love, and how they love. Most importantly I will teach them that messages that tell them otherwise should be used as kindling for the fire that ignites their passions.
The fight for sexual freedom is an exhausting, uphill battle. The constant fight against a movement that would see us praying to be forgiven for the sins of happiness and self-expression, is exhausting. The constant fight against our relationships and our identities is exhausting. The constant fight against messages telling us who is allowed to be attractive, who is even allowed to have sexual freedom, who to be, who to love how to love. We need sexual freedom because we should not be fighting an uphill battle to teach folks that their bodies are their own, or give access to basic scientific information about sexual health to those who need it most. Because there are so many people out there who believe somehow that they must make themselves smaller to fit inside a box that society has given them. Sexual freedom will never have a finish line, because the understanding of sex and sexuality are always adapting and changing, but we can certainly support organizations that fight for sexual freedom (like Woodhull Freedom Foundation) and make it easier to give support to all the parents, friends, teachers, partners, and children out there who are on the front lines wielding their identities and stories like weapons to create change.
[FULL DISCLOSURE: This post is being written for consideration in the Sexual Freedom Scholarship Contest. The details of said contest are located here and I encourage all of my fellow sex educators and folks to enter! So share the shit out of this, and wish me luck! If you’re not interested in sharing, or wishing me luck, then please donate to Woodhull here, or register for the summit here and I’ll see you in August!]