My sexual freedom resulted from choosing to ‘look.’ It could have been a terrible thing of course, maybe it was, plainly because of the thin line between admiring and objectifying. But at that time I had kept myself hidden from that world and did not know who I was or what I wanted.
The object of my sight was a fellow woman and to me she was beautiful enough to grip my attention. It was something that happened totally out of the blue and I will be lying if I say that I tried to shake off those ‘illicit’ thoughts. No. I basked in them. Every single night from that day was spent imagining what could have been. Alone with my thoughts, I did not feel shame or ask myself why I was thinking so but I knew not to share with anyone yet.
I did meet men when the opportunity presented itself but something was missing. The intercourse experience with the opposite sex was good but not enough to fill some void in me, until I decided to intentionally look to experience what I had a peek of some months prior.
Being able to stand bare in front of the mirror, being able to know my body in and out and being able to touch, to ask and to tell are all things I learnt from a woman. It was a journey that came naturally to me and it was void of doubts. Not once did I feel empty or unfulfilled. It was then that I experienced sexual freedom. I can say I was lucky in love, which to me was an important factor to experiencing this freedom. I was happy to have made that choice to go seek.
Sexual freedom to me was choosing my form of sexual pleasure, pleasure that comes with peace and certainty, even today. It is trusting someone with my fetishes, it is knowing that I like to leave the door swinging both ways because I get fulfilment from both worlds. To know to give and to receive. It is also in being myself, valuing my body and the pleasures it gives me. To understand consent and safety and autonomy. It is a positive thing.
With my experience with men, sexual freedom was communicating my wants and needs, with a woman, it was knowing them and embracing them completely void of any shame. There were differences in how the needs were expressed, the voicing the trusting and the giving of your intimate being into another’s hands. While there has never been harm with the opposite sex, I felt safer with the same sex, simply because our bodies are the same and our physical fragility was both sexy and understood fully to us. It is in knowing that my sexuality might one day take a solid turn, but before then, it is to explore my options and understand my limits and those of others.
The older generation wouldn’t even need to look within themselves to understand this. If secrets about the ‘sexperience’ and fantasies of every one of African women was written, then they would know it is not a choice. It is simply fulfilling a need that occurs naturally within them. That need should be valued by all genders, by all generations. It’s important to understand how allowing openness across the board would balance a lot of things.
Once women are safe in the world of sex, sexual freedom would be a thing for everyone almost. Once men’s needs are known and understood and given room to be expressed, there will be much more clarity of choice and consent.
The younger generation deserves education that factors in pleasure, that teaches the possibility of many outcomes of engaging in sex, safety while at it, consent, respect and the value of a fellow human being who opens themselves up to another.