Are We Still Condemning Women for Their Sexuality?

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Are We Still Condemning Women for Their Sexuality?
Dr. Lisa Firestone discusses the ways our society still condemns women for their sexuality.

Of course, not every woman is brought up with an unhealthy or repressive view of sex. Many young girls are well-educated and rightly taught to respect their bodies and that developing as a sexual woman is a natural and enjoyable part of becoming an adult. Nevertheless, a parent’s outlook toward his or her own sexuality also impacts their children’s perspective on sex. The subtle attitudes we indicate to our children do not go unheard, and the conversations we have or fail to have help shape their feelings toward themselves, their bodies, and their sexuality. When we are critical, intolerant, or not accepting toward them, we teach them to feel these ways toward themselves. Teaching our children, with our words or our example, that sex is shameful, dirty, or not to be talked about leaves an impression that is hard to outgrow.

People often cite their young adulthood as the years they were the most sexually free or “themselves.” As we get older, our responsibilities increase, and we often become involved in long-term, committed relationships. Three reasons are typically given for a woman’s decreased sexual desire at this stage in her life: marriage, career and kids. Yet, it isn’t just a lack of time or an influx of responsibility that disconnects us from our sexuality.

Marriages and long-term relationships tend to deaden when each party pulls away from being close, attractive, attracted and alive. This naturally affects our sexuality. When we become too dependent on each other or become disrespectful in our familiarity, or restrictive of one another’s freedom and individuality, we become less sexually attracted to each other.

For many women, becoming a mother and shifting her focus onto her children can further interfere with her desire for her partner. Most of us didn’t see our mothers as romantic, and we tend to mimic these tendencies when we become mothers ourselves. Society feeds into this notion, indicating to women that now that they are a mother, it’s no longer appropriate to be sexual. Being free is deemed irresponsible, and being spontaneous is shunned as immature. The same can be said of work. Being overly focused on a career or parenthood disconnects a woman from her sexuality, allowing her life to get out of balance in a way that fails to acknowledge her as a complete person.

The primary goal for every individual in a close, sexual relationship should be equality. Having a personal, honest and emotional exchange is the best we can hope for in regard to intimacy. When a woman gives up her sexuality, she sacrifices an essential part of who she is. It’s not just about having sex, but about being acknowledged and acknowledging of her full self, her physicality, and her wants. Failing to recognize or repressing this part of ourselves can have serious consequences. Every person must feel they can accept themselves and their whole identity. If you are cut off from such an essential feeling, you become less alive and less you. That is why it is so important to debunk the myths about a women’s sexuality and allow every individual to live freely as their fullest selves.

Read more from Dr. Firestone at PsychAlive.org

This article was originally published at PsychAlive . Reprinted with permission.
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Dr. Lisa Firestone

Author

Dr. Lisa Firestone PhD

Director of Research and Education

The Glendon Association

www.glendon.org

www.psychalive.org

(805) 681-0415 x216

Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Credentials: PhD
Specialties: Anxiety Issues, Communication Problems, Couples/Marital Issues, Depression, Family Support, Parenting, Stress Management
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