Have you ever sunk your fingers into yourself? Not in a flurry of horniness, or during some sexy time with a partner or out of boredom at 30, 000 feet during a flight (if that is your thing). Not rushed it but touched yourself slowly, deliberately so that you really understand what the feeling between your legs is all about? Allowed yourself to submerge into yourself?
It is important to explore the depths because the vagina is a magical, largely unexplored wonderland, and powerful place. Not only is it wildly misunderstood but the vagina, like its female host, can bounce back from intense trauma as you do not call it the miracle of child birth for nothing, the miracle being how does one even begin to do anything with it again. This miracle aside there is also the, equally important, fact that it is an all engulfing, all consuming, vortex of pleasure that one can literally get sucked into.
Kegel muscles are a very real thing. You contain the cosmos between your thighs, feel the big bang.
I have increasingly become enraged with the idea that women are secondary consumers of pleasure with men being the target market and us picking up the scraps. I also understand that in the general scheme of things this may not be the most ‘important’ thing to be angered about when it comes to the fight for women globally however, issues of pleasure and sex tie into matter of agency over one’s body. If one cannot negotiate a sexual transaction with a partner what more can one negotiate from a place of power in other sectors of your life?
Understanding the importance of sexual agency, I went looking, trying to find out about women and pleasure. The first thing I properly learned about the power of female sexuality was baby sexology 101.
It is criminal to mention sex and women and not mention the clitoris. Which is why a great number of men (and some women) need to be be brought up on charges of corrupted coitus. Driving the dick under the influence of ignorance. More often than not people will think of pleasure in terms of simply filling a woman up with a swollen appendage and not stopping to think of the numerous erogenous zones doted around the female body, one of the most important ones being that little bulb of desire between her thighs.
A great deal of the information I found about loving your vagina came from very western sites. I was given all the usual advice. Touch yourself, do a weeks worth of stretches and get into a yoga type pose and have a good look at your pussy. Know it well enough to pick it out of a line up if it was arrested. However, the inner traditional farm girl in me was reluctant to go all the way.
I needed to ground the knowledge of knowing and owning my sex and sexuality in something. Thus my Afrocentric nature refused to allow me to stop there. The notion of the power of women and pleasure could not have started as something in a ‘Journal Of Sex’ published somewhere in the States. There had to be something here, on the continent, that had gotten us to a point where women’s sexuality had to be so seriously policed that the aforementioned clitoris was in some places cut off.
My search led me to find AfricanSexualities: A Reader, with information about Osunality, an Igbo-based belief in the goddess Osun. She was the goddess of childbirth, the life cycle and most importantly pleasure. Osun represents ‘a female centered, life transforming energy that courses through and animates life’. It is a force that is ‘highly sensual and sexual’. The paper ‘Osunality’, by Nkiru Nzengwu, states that women who embody the Osunality force ‘brandish their sexuality openly and quite unselfconsciously.’
The notion of the phallocentric nature of sex was actually birthed in Ancient Greek philosophies, with the local context being a little more female friendly. Other traditions from within various African countries and contexts recognised the vagina not as being penetrated but as engulfing the penis, able to completely drain it of its power but still able to continue even when it is sexual partner is deflated. This idea of the vagina flips patriarchal notions of sexuality on their head, and allows for a new conceptualization of the agency of women within the sexual ritual.
So outside of all the socio-historical research and rights rhetoric what does it mean? It all means that you should be having amazing sex. Epic sex, mind blowing sex. Because understanding the power of the vagina means that you understand that it should be getting first class treatment. To waste the sensual power of the vagina on bad sex is the equivalent of using a nuclear power plant to power a couple of street lamps.
There is so much potential that is lost with current ideas of sex, furthered by porn, and widespread ideas of men being the main consumers of pleasure — ‘giving it to her’, ‘pounding the pussy’ and ‘having a third leg’ takes power away from the vagina and places sex in an extremely phallocentric light. Sex becomes all about the penis and how whenever it turns up to the party then it becomes the shindig of the year. This takes away from the fact that the female body has so much, and needs so much, and can do so much, all on its own.
A woman can have multiple orgasms and the vagina can rejuvenate and reinvigorate itself after marathon sessions. The female body is built for pleasure, in so many ways however this has been suppressed not only physically but mentally. Not only is there the physical manifestation of women not needing pleasure (a survey showed that only 54 percent of heterosexual women experience regular/any orgasms) but women themselves have been wrapped into cognitive notions of sex being a ‘chore’, ‘duty’ or something that is supposed to happen in a relationship or interaction that can sometimes be enjoyable.
This thinking needs to be dismantled. The sexual act is more of a personal, spiritual, and social journey to get women to the point of being able to know about, own, and have the sex they want.
Some men do understand that there is sex outside of the penis but so many men (and women) still believe that a penis is the only thing that makes sex, sex. Those who do understand that there is more to life than that make amazing lovers. They are the ones who their partners speak about their trysts in hushed tones over glasses of chardonnay and giggles. They are the ones who make their partners shift their hips when the memory of the last night the spent together floods them. It is the partners who high-five themselves for giving head or knowing that they need to stroke the clitoris to make a woman’s knees weak that secretly rule the world of sex. They are the ones who understand the pure, astronomical force of a woman’s sex outside of the penis and for that they are silently saluted around the world.
For the women with these astronomical organs it is about finding out what makes the big bang happen. It is about finding what it is you want in bed, no matter how much or how little. How ordinary or how weird. It is about understanding the path to power is a personal one, not only is it about suddenly becoming a sex goddess, it’s about knowing what you want or do not want.
The power is in the choice made in knowledge, not the act.