AmyJo_TEDx_Mar2014_.26.39In my TEDx talk “Own Your Sexual Power” I talked about how I was shamed by my mother for touching my genitals (and enjoying their smell) when I was eight or nine years old. What I didn’t share in my talk was that I literally stopped touching my genitals except to wash them forten years after that, right through my sexual in itiation, my initiation into dating life and growing into my young adult sexual body.That’s a long time, and a very effective 3-second unintentional shaming.

Being disenfranchised from my genitals meant disenfranchisement from my sexuality. It meant following the sexual patterns, desires and model of my partners, who were all male at that time. It meant not understanding how my own body works and it meant a lot less pleasure.

I didn’t have any reference point and was totally in the dark about pleasure and orgasm. I had a high school boyfriend who wanted to help me orgasm and tried his damnedest to even the score with mutually pleasurable sex so we could both experience that level of pleasure, and still, I couldn’t. I couldn’t because I wouldn’t touch myself. The shame was too deep. The message too strong. “Stop touching yourself and smelling yourself!” It echoed.

One day when we were having sex my boyfriend (who I was super in love with) was working my pussy and it felt good but I still couldn’t get over the hump. He put my hand on my vulva and moved it a little, directing me to try it myself. What a smart guy. But I instinctively yanked my hand away because I was well-trained. Girls don’t touch themselves.I went away for college and couldn’t wait to take SOC 152, the Human Sexuality course that nearly every student clamored for. On stage, in a lecture hall of roughly 900 students, my professors told us to touch our genitals to learn what felt good. It was an assignment! Being a high achiever, the spell was immediately broken, because the experts were telling me to go touch myself. So of course, I did! And after a few tries, getting stuck at that place before the hump, not being able to push over with that extra ummphh into climax…READ MORE>>

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