Women On Top is an interview series that features everyday women from around the globe and asks them straight-to-the-point questions about their sexuality. Women On Top aims to inspire and grow a community of women who learn and grow from each other's sexual stories and wisdom. This week I interviewed Georgia about monogamy and open relationships, sexual fluidity, her futile pursuit of the fairytale romance, and dropping her inhibitions in the boudoir.
I struggle with this question as labels often fail to capture the nuances of what it means to be sexual. Labels represent identity and are often incongruent with sexual attraction, emotional connection and sexual behaviour. They’re defined in relation to the gender of both parties and discount sexual fluidity (the changing sexual orientation of an individual throughout the lifetime). Labels can be means to in-group cohesion. However, like many of my friends, I don’t feel any label is necessary to describe my self-defined and self-ascribed sexuality. It’s complicated.
In short, as I've invariably dated the opposite sex, people would assume I’m straight. The truth is that I'm actually somewhere in the vast in-between. Idealistically, I like to think I'm person-focused and able to be with a lover despite their gender. It’s about the individual. Having said that, the few sexual experiences I've had with women are yet to transpire into a relationship, or an orgasm...
What was the message your mother gave you about sex as a little girl?
My mother was very open about sex. Funnily enough, early on I developed a sense of embarrassment around sexuality. I have vivid memories of my mother, to my horror, telling the story of my conception at dinner parties. Despite feeling a little embarrassed by my mother’s carefree attitude towards sex, she always taught me to respect my body, and that sex was something women should feel empowered to enjoy. As I’ve grown into a women, I still dread what outlandish stories my mother may tell at the next social gathering. However I’m grateful for her open attitude towards sex. It gave me the confidence to pursue sexual experiences and connect with partners authentically, rather than mimicking pornography in an attempt to act sexy.
Can you identify a moment when you feel you officially entered womanhood?
As an adolescent, my understanding of women was superficial, restricted to appearing physically attractive to men. I constantly judged my worth by comparing myself to other women, which led me to zero in on flaws that I constructed for myself in my own head. I sought out fairytale romances in a futile pursuit of validation. In my 20’s, I transformed. I finally spent some time alone and found contentment within myself, free from the company of a male suitor. By appreciating my mind, body and the wonderful women surrounding me, women became my allies, not competitors. For me, this is when I officially entered womanhood. Yet womanhood is ever-evolving. With age comes new stages, which I am yet to reach, therefore cannot comprehend. I expect the next step for me will be motherhood, which I must admit is terrifying.
How important do you believe it is to embrace your sexuality as a woman?
Yes, it’s super important, but certainly not black and white. Societal expectations of sexual expression can be dangerous. Women may feel inadequate or rejected when they do not fit into society’s preconceptions. Embracing your own sexuality is idiosyncratic. For example, for a highly sexual woman, being sexually active is important. For someone who is asexual, it is equally important for them not to force themselves to have sex just because society says that is normal. The same can be said for sexual complexities across the board, as people exist along a spectrum. Embracing and feeling comfortable with sexual orientation, even fetishisms, spontaneities, whatever gets you off (granted it is consensual) is essential to living a fulfilling life, and having good sex.
After a stint of unsatisfactory sexual partners, I began to develop the confidence to speak up and drop my guard in the bedroom. Forming an open sexual dialog allowed my partners and I to explore each other’s bodies and have new kinds of fun. My inhibitions were gone and I was free to be in the moment, instead of stuck in my head. For me, sex is prominently psychological and by understanding myself - being open and honest about my needs - I can transcend road blocks to a fulfilling sexual experience.
For all women, authenticity is a must. It's about being honest with partners about what works for us. People often believe that if we’re a good match, our partners should intuitively know how to please us. While it's crucial to tune in and be present with our partners, the idea that people should be innately great in bed is ludicrous, and sets us up to fail. It shuts down a dialog that can lead to great sex through communications and exploration. Sex like relationships takes practice. Being defensive about feedback in the bedroom means the partnership stagnates and sex is likely to get stale. Being open to feedback is crucial to embracing evolving sexuality.
How important is self-pleasure to you?
To me, self-pleasure was a stepping stone to tune into my own body. Self exploration has allowed me to expand my horizons in the bedroom. Getting hot and messy with an intimate partner trumps solo playtime, anytime. Having said that, I have found myself with sexual partners who just didn’t do it for me, or had different libido levels (often during flings or long-term relationships). At these times, self-pleasure helped to satisfy me sexually, and became a release that benefited me psychologically.
What are three things you love about your body (that perhaps you've struggled with in the past)?
I’d have to say my skin, my eyes and my legs.
Coming in to adolescence, I was a harsh critic and hated everything about my appearance. Fortunately, I've been lucky to have some great partners, family and friends who helped me view my appearance differently. Learning to love my body and embrace my imperfections is liberating. It’s a work in progress, and will evolve with age. Most of the time I feel at home in my body. Especially when I'm looking after myself; eating well, meditating, exercising and managing life stress. When I drop the ball, some of my old and unhelpful self-criticisms sneaks in.
What are three things you look for in a lover?
The ability to be vulnerable and open, allowing space for growth, to be both a teacher and a student.
Curiosity, investigation and exploration of the world, and people. That includes me of course!
A sense of humour - someone who can be playful and silly - not taking life too seriously.
What inspires you to make love and enjoy sex (either alone, or with a partner)? Do you feel more inclined to enjoy sex at certain times of the day/month/year?
To me, it is all about who I’m having sex with. If they continuously mess up a few crucial elements, it’s all over. This includes an intimate and loving connection. Being held and adored is vital. Sex is a vulnerable and trusting act, and I must feel comfortable dropping my guard if I’m going to enjoy it – to get out of my head and fully experience.
As for certain times, definitely the morning, balmy summer days and when I am calm and content. I can spend all morning wrapped up in the sheets. It’s my favourite playground.
Do you have any particular women in your life who inspire you to be a sexually empowered woman?
Probably the most important is my wonderful and liberal female friends (you know who you are). Two of the most important ones are my big sisters. We get together and talk about what it means to be a women in this world (the struggles, and how awesome women are). These goddesses have taught me so much and provide me with a sense of togetherness. Deep girl talk is grounding, validating and supporting.
Also, my cousin, who is in an open relationship (and with a kid). I watched her satisfied in her functional open-relationship and it changed the way I saw partnerships. I realised there are is no ruleset which a relationship must obey in order to work, aside from having trust and honesty. Boundaries within a relationship are subjective and should be defined by the couple – whatever works for them. Being capable of challenging the shackles of monogamy is essential to sexual empowerment – and to accepting sexual diversity - as monogamy does not work in every relationship.
What rituals do you have for self-care and self-love?
As a psychologist, the industry can be demanding and stressful. I often find myself emotionally drained and sometimes preoccupied. Exercise, yoga and meditation are a regular part of my weekly self-care to stay grounded. I need a balance of healthy food, time with friends and solitude, to reflect and recharge.
Self-love…. I’m totally indulgent. I love treating myself to a massage, lighting candles, getting into nature, spending time alone, reading, long baths….. All the good stuff.