Peggy Orenstein recently published her new book, Girls and Sex, Navigating the Complicated New Landscape. Part of her research won’t be news to us, disturbing as it may be. She reports that half the girls are participating in oral sex, sexting, and nonconsensual sex with boys in order to please the boys, in hopes that the boys will like them. Not because they want to.
Orenstein says that young women are given no encouragement to understand their bodies, let alone their desires, and instead they grow up to understand sex as an act that is about pleasing others—rather than pleasuring themselves.
Women. The portal to life. The sacred entry point of human life on this planet.
Reduced to a convenience store, a service station.
A woman’s deeply seated confidence cannot come from how many degrees she has, what kind of job she has landed or how well she is conforming to society’s expectations of her.
A girl’s—a woman’s—sense of confidence comes from how she feels in her body.
And how she feels about her body is, in part, a legacy, passed mother to daughter.
Which only works well when her mother thinks she is glorious, delicious and wondrous.
Which is an exceedingly rare perspective for a mama to have and to hold in this patriarchal world.
And the other part to her confidence comes from her learning to know and love her own instrument. Which is super hard in a world where women learn how to compromise before they learn to come.
The generosity of woman is boundless. It’s our innate nature to fiercely create, care-take, love, embrace, appreciate.
But our custom has been to do all this caretaking from an empty well, rather than from a gloriously full tank. Filled with our dreams and desires prioritized and nurtured. Filled with a body that is known and loved and revered.
I’m interested in how this pattern influences our ability – or inability – to know and speak our truth.
I notice that many of us, when faced with a decision or a moment of choice – whether it be a job, a blow job, a date, an invitation – we often take our attention off ourselves and we put it on other people, or on societal expectations, and whether we will please them, or disappoint them.
What will he think of me? Will they approve of me? Will I be accepted?
And we bypass our deepest truth without even noticing.
What we don’t know is that our deepest truth is something that not only we require, but the world requires. When we use our truth to make decisions, they become decisions that not only take us higher, but take everyone in our world higher. And when we bypass our truth, we take everyone down with us.
One of Ornstein’s proposed solutions is for us to all move to the Netherlands. Dutch parents, teachers and kids talk about sex, condoms, pleasure and how to say yes and no. Which is so good to know that somewhere in this world, progress is being made.
But how can each of us make progress, right now?
How can we, right here, right now, step more powerfully into our hell yes or hell no?
The first step is the same step as when you want to uplevel your workouts, or change your eating habits, or start dating. Tell everyone. Letting people know that you are on a growth spurt helps to make it real.
I challenge you to experiment with a commitment to your own truth.
Here are a few tips to help:
1. Tell all your friends and fam that you want to try to locate your inner truth more consistently and that you are going to ask for their help with that. (You don’t need to know how you are going to do it, you just need to declare that you want to.)
2. Tell your pals, family and co-workers that from here, forward, every time they make a request of you, you are not going to answer them in that conversation. Rather, you are going to practice checking in with yourself, and you are going to count to 10, or take a short break before you answer them. This requires bravery and patience on your part.
3. Then, you are going to head to the nearest private space to connect. Get in a few deep breaths. Place your hand on your heart, on your pussy, on your belly.Feel. Really just stop the train for a few seconds. And ask – feel – what is my deepest truth?
We, as women are so accustomed to pleasing others, folding on our desires, compromising ourselves, taking it for the team, putting our families first, that we don’t give ourselves time to sink into the divinity of our own truth and experience the enlightenment from within.
It might be hard to hear much of anything at first, but I promise you, the more you do this, the more information you’ll get. It’s all in there.
A faint whisper turns into a dialogue, which turns into the greatest collaboration of your life—you and your higher power, working together as a team, to stand for your value, each and every day. Rather than sidestepping your value. Or diminishing your value.
And by standing for your truth in this gentle yet powerful way, you are standing for a world of women and girls, to stand for theirs.
In the comments below, let’s collaborate and learn together.
- Where is the easiest place for you to hear your deepest truth? With your friends? Family? With strangers?
- Where is the most difficult place for you to check in and listen to what you truly long to say? At work? With your husband? Kids? New lover?
- What’s your edge? Where do want to find a way to step into a truth you have been sitting on?
- And how does it make you feel when you witness a woman stepping bravely into her power? Can you tell when she’s holding back? Can you tell when you are holding back?
For the girls of today, the women of tomorrow – it starts with you. In this culture, a commitment to your own truth is a revolutionary act.