Sex. There it is. The word in all it’s glory. We, as humans are the only consciously thinking species that has the novelty of understanding sex as an act beyond reproduction and survival. Reading about it, hearing about it, or actually doing it, the art of understanding sex and sexuality embodies itself in various instances, experiences, shapes, sizes and positions, of course.
Sex educator Emily Nagoski’s novel “Come as You Are” operates as a guide to ultimately transform her readers’ sex lives. Sex, being so heavily context dependent on the individual, is not a one size fits all approach, and neither is understanding individualized sexuality. It is not a guide to perfecting whatever you feel your physical performance needs or exposes the secrets behind becoming a master sexual being that society so heavily desires and expects women to be.
Instead, Nagoski praises the aspects of female sexuality that immediately reject the common depiction of sex life through media, with the goal to instill a sense of normalcy and belonging within women who’s upbringing and self-comparison to mainstream sexual media forces them to believe they do not belong. The toxic influence of media, social standards and cultural tradition, which is not used for educational purposes, implements an unattainable stigma surrounding female sexuality.
These cultural constructs work opposite to one another to where females are raised to “be sexually dysfunctional, with all the ‘no’ messages given to them instilling a fear of shame, disease, unwanted pregnancy etc., but as their adulthood quickly approaches the expectation shifts for them to be “uninhibited sexual rock stars” Nagoski says.
Human beings are sexual beings. We are intrigued and challenged by the idea of sex. There is confusion and joy and fear and a conglomeration of meta-emotions that individual upbringings and personal exposures force our minds to view sex and sexuality through a tainted lens. The conscious understandings and emotional associations are aspects of sexual life that deserve celebration, for both sexes. Centuries of societal oppression continue to infect the minds of women from youth to adulthood, reminding them of the lesser hand their position as sexual beings hold, or how their deterrence from what society constructs for their bodies and sexual mind has consistently been represented in a negative light.
Existing in a “male-as-default” sexual realm, women immediately assign their deflection from expectation as abnormal or broken. “Come as You Are” functions to reject this sexual standard of women and act as an encouragement to harness themselves as sex-positive beings in an unfortunately sex-negative world. No attribute of yourself needs to conform, the only change required is that of public opinion and expectation.
Podcasts like “Girls Gotta Eat”, “Honey” and Barstool Sports infamous “Call Her Daddy” are positive media outlets that ultimately function outside of their comical category to install normalcy around the sexual beings that females are. Although comical, these platforms provide a sense of general education on the normalcy and reality of female sexuality in a way that doesn’t present sex as a biology lesson. Real women, real stories, real sex.
Allow yourself to view your sexual understanding and sexuality as to that of a garden; one that requires individualized attention and nurturing in order to thrive. Although your garden may not look anything like the ones next to you and calls for entirely different modes of caretaking, it is normal, whole and beautiful.
Sexuality breaks beyond the narrowminded definition that it is solely who you are attracted to or what aspects of sex you like or dislike, it is interconnectivity between all humans; we all have a unique, individual form of the same thing. It is a beautiful part of yourself that deserves unconditional positivity for exactly what it is and in that, it is entirely yours.