It shouldn’t be “radical” to say that I’m a Black woman who wanted to have more orgasms.
But everything that I’ve learned about sex from the institutions – the church, my family, and the way that we educate everyone, especially women and trans/non-binary folks in a stigma-filled sexual education process – suggests otherwise.
Like most folks, I learned early that my sexuality was something to be hidden. The world said that “good girls” couldn’t afford to be sexual. And Black girls already had two strikes against us, so we couldn’t afford any more mistakes. (Ain’t it ironic that I’m writing while listening to WAP?!)
I wanted to be accepted, and I was willing to do whatever it took to achieve goodness. That came at the cost of internalizing a sh*t ton of sexual shame. My relationship with sex was the same as my relationship with the rest of my life. I was lucky to be in the room; there was no way I was about to ask for a seat at the table.
I learned this coping mechanism – aiming for survival as others thrived in their use of me – from the examples of the other Black women in my life. I grew up watching the world extract all sorts of pleasure from Black women – caretaking, emotional labor, sex – with no expectation to replenish what they’d extracted. In return, they got exhausted, but they rarely got pleasure or joy.
That destiny didn’t appeal to me. But I followed the script of respectability for as long as I could.