Ashleigh: DMP 2

Images courtesy of the author.

All my life, I’ve always felt uncomfortable asking for head or centering my sexual pleasure the ways I prefer to climax and be stimulated. I’ve spent my entire life being a Black fat femme, and so much of that time not asking for pleasure or head from my partners because no one showed enthusiasm around my wants and my body in the first place. I was constantly shamed around my body — expected to smell bad because I’m fat and Black, expected to be more likely to give pleasure to any guy who asked for it because I’m too ugly to say ‘no’ and expected to be okay with any type of affection offered to me because I’m not worthy of love anyways.

I internalized that my body wasn’t worthy of something so vulnerable and personal because it was so foreign to my everyday sexual experiences. It was always give, please, make them climax, praise them for the good time that I put most of the labor into. Fucking while fat and black and femme (but not necessarily being read as a femme that is deemed worthy of pleasure, vulnerability, or sexual stimulation) meant always being fucked in the dark, being used as a masturbation vessel, and being shamed and hyper-criticized for your body.

Related: Fuck You, Pay Me: Reparations for Fat Black Bitches and Everything We Provide

My history of being raped and sexually assaulted, with the reality that most of my partners were never concerned with my pleasure or the care for my body, has forced me to confront how dysphoric I feel around my own pussy and my own sexual stimulation. As women and femmes, being trained to please, give, be silent, and be a vessel of perfection and stimulation for our partners and for masculine folks everywhere has harmed me in deep psychological ways that have altered my ability to be in touch with my sexual wants, my body autonomy, health and safety of my pussy, and the vulnerability it requires to feel worthy of pleasure.

Ashleigh: DMP 3

 

I became disassociated with my pussy, with my gender, with my body as mine. I disconnected with the idea of ever wanting to get head/oral because I had convinced myself that I was undeserving of it and built up a resistance to believing it was pleasurable. I internalized and manifested the idea that my pleasure is embedded within my partner’s pleasure. Even in the mental aspect of my sexual experiences, I would imagine how stimulating it is to witness my partner pleased not realizing how much of that was an imaginary falsehood tied to trauma and internalized misogyny.

Similar to my years spent engaging in rough sex and BDSM, convincing myself that it was pleasurable, it took me years of abuse and self-inflicted sexual harm to realize how much of this was a projection of the violence I experienced from my rapists and my abusive partners. Asking to be choked, slapped, tied up, and hurt was my way of feeling in control while also engaging in fantasy as a self-identification tool to rid of the shame of being raped and taken from. I was feeding into many of my cisgender, straight male partner’s actual sexual fantasies while I was ignoring the trauma that convinced me this was what I wanted.

Related: What It’s Like to Not Remember Your Rape: I Am Emily Doe

 

Ashleigh: Decolonize My Pussy

Aside from my experiences feeling sexually ignored and abused by my partners who were straight cisgender men, I also came in contact with other folks (non-cis-het-men) who also experienced internalized misogyny and body shame when it came to their bodies. When I came out as bisexual (before I moved into queerness), and when I was caught up in the politics of a patriarchal, binary gay/lesbian world — I met/hooked up with many masculine-of-center women and bois who do not want to receive head or sexual stimulation. It was strange being sexually centered enough to receive oral sex as a primary sex act, while also feeling disconnected from my partner to not please them back. It always came up in different conversations, relationships, and social settings that head/oral sex for a lot of masculine of center women/bois/studs can represent a bitch-ness/femininity/a vulnerability of wanting to receive pleasure (see: touch-me-not’s). But in contrast, cis-men who are more masculine receiving pleasure is seen as powerful, the default, the ultimate turn on, or a mutual experience for anyone involved even if we don’t actually climax with them.

Although their body dysmorphia and disassociation (also navigating masculinity) is their experience, hearing so many of my ex-sexual partners and friends tell me “I don’t need that.” made me sit with the depth levels of body shame and sexual stigma that exists in marginalized people due to patriarchal violence. Of course, it’s possible that they really weren’t interested in receiving physical, sexual stimulation, or that they might have been asexual — but it’s realistic to call attention to the harm patriarchy, gender constructs, and misogyny create within the navigation of our bodies and desire. There is a policing of gender performance and presentation that it manifests as dysphoria and disassociation for many of us who experience marginalization within desire politics and also, sexual violence.

Ashleigh: DMP 4

My personal relationship with my pussy has evolved into a pride and gentleness that I never had for that part of my body unless it served a purpose to reclaim power or to please someone else — almost using my body as an offering but never reclaiming it for myself. In so many ways, the desire politics surrounding my body not only affected how I view myself, but how my previous partners treated and perceived my body and my pleasure. Many of my partners never expressed explicit, enthusiastic interest in giving me sexual stimulation that was seemingly only centered on me, but I also never felt like I was in a position to demand or ask for it.

Related: Ask Ashleigh: How Do You Handle the Backlash You Get for Being Fat and Visible?

Being in healthier relationships, being with partners who value my body and my desires, and being able to individually move through a lot of the body terrorism, sexual shame, and trauma I experienced has allowed for me to value and demand respect for my pussy, and therefore my desires. My pussy smells like pussy, and I’m no longer ashamed. Most of the time, I’m not going to climax from penetration, and I don’t want to pretend as if I prefer it for the sake of my partner anymore. I want head when my partner consents to giving it, and I’m unafraid of asking for it anymore. I’m understanding my body, my gender, and my identity more and more every day that I decolonize and divest from white supremacist patriarchal ideologies. And I no longer want to internalize the shame of what rape, sexual assault, and misogyny has done to my perception of the praise, care, love, and vulnerability my body deserves.

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