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UPA’s Bringing Sexy Back 2014 started today. Every year I like to participate by sharing photos, videos and of course by writing a blog post. I usually write something related to pole dancing and sexuality. This year I decided to approach the topic a bit differently. I thought about how confusing it can be to navigate one’s sexuality living as a woman in America today. There are so many mixed messages we receive from the time we hit adolescence right on through our adult lives.

The recent California rampage was a wake-up call for many regarding women’s issues. The killer, Elliot Rodger, targeted women in anger because he was a virgin and felt resentment over it. The female body is objectified in our culture, seemingly built solely for a man’s pleasure.

The plain truth is, women don’t owe men anything. We don’t owe them unauthorized access to our bodies and we don’t even owe them a conversation on the street. The way we dress does not give permission to violate our basic human rights. The first question asked when a woman is raped should not be what she did to bring it on. The solution is not to hide female sexuality out of fear of its power. One of the most prominent traits of a patriarchal society is to shame and repress female sexuality.

So where do we go from here? Here are some of the conflicting myths I have personally heard over the years regarding my sexuality as a woman:

I can’t be aggressively sexual. 

I am only a sex object meant to be enjoyed for men’s pleasure.  

I am only my body.  

I can’t enjoy displaying my body.  

I can’t be intelligent and sexual.  

I can’t control my sexuality. It needs to be tamed and hidden.  

If it’s hidden I’m a prude and if it’s open I’m a whore. 

From the look of this list it seems a woman will be criticized no matter what she does. This is frustrating to me. But what I love about UPA’s Bringing Sexy Back is that it’s a celebration of sexy in general. Man or woman. Any form you want. It’s open, accepting and positive.

It is my goal to inspire and empower women to take control of their own bodies. I hope for them to feel a sense of comfort and learn how to express their sexuality in any way they desire.

I will end with a quote from the book Sex at Dawn that I believe best sums up my feelings on this topic.

If women were as libidinous as men, we’re told, society itself would collapse. Lord Acton was only repeating what everyone knew in 1875 when he declared, “The majority of women, happily for them and for society, are not very much troubled with sexual feeling of any kind.” 

And yet, despite repeated assurances that women aren’t particularly sexual creatures, in cultures around the world men have gone to extraordinary lengths to control female libido: female genital mutilation, head-to-toe chadors, medieval witch burnings, chastity belts, suffocating corsets, muttered insults about “insatiable” whores, pathologizing, paternalistic medical diagnoses of nymphomania or hysteria, the debilitating scorn heaped on any female who chooses to be generous with her sexuality … all parts of a worldwide campaign to keep the supposedly low-key female libido under control. Why the electrified high-security razor-wire fence to contain a kitty-cat?

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