It’s Okay to Say Yes to Sex!

Once upon a time there was an outgoing energetic little girl. She grew up in a lovely home with adoring parents and a close knit family. This girl was filled with sugar and spice and everything nice. But when the girl began growing older, physical and emotional transformations started to occur to her body, both inside and out. She was growing taller as well as fuller. She made that pivotal first trip to the store with the help of her mother to select her first bra. Oh, the pride she had waltzing into school in her brand new “Teenform” training bra!

Not long after this symbolic garment was purchased, the girl watched her first sex education film in the school library surrounded by dozens of other girls who vacillated between shock and uncontrolled giggling at the images they saw on the screen.

This girl was me, and I remember this time like it was yesterday. What I don’t remember, however, is any honest interchange about my sexuality as a woman. Sure, we were versed in what was waiting for us once we hit puberty—our breasts would enlarge, we would begin to grow hair in the most unlikely of places and mother nature would soon be presenting us with a gift that we could look forward to receiving for at least the next 40 years! We were taught that our bodies would one day carry a baby deep within our womb and were shown in fairly graphic detail the nine month journey into motherhood. Motherhood of course was to follow marriage, which was when we could finally have sex.

So even though I sat in sex ed class, enthralled and highly impressed that the school thought I was mature enough to be given a peek inside the world of adults, I didn’t really feel as though the majority of what they were revealing to me was of much use. Afterall, I wasn’t allowed to have sex until marriage. Sure, I thought it was cool to find out about periods and immediately went home to critique my own bush, but I didn’t see the relevance of the rest of this “education.” Girls were virgins and everyone knew that there was an alternate set of rules for the boys. While the girls stayed home, the boys were out sowing their wild oats, but with whom the boys were sowing, I wasn’t really sure, especially as all of us girls were supposed to be sitting eagerly at home in anticipation of our Prince Charming.

I guess the details weren’t important, all I knew was that I had to use the all important word every girl is taught… no! There was no discussion about experimenting with my sexuality, hell, I didn’t have a sexuality according to what I was taught. I was to ignore whatever sexual feelings that I did feel and sweep them quietly under the rug. After all, if you gave into your desires, the results would end in any number of horrible life changing events like losing your virginity and your reputation or even worse, you could become pregnant before marriage, producing a bastard offspring who would carry your sin with him or her the rest of its life. These were pretty compelling deterrents for my generation.

But these fear based tactics couldn’t rival our raging hormones. I know these teachers and religious instructors felt as though they were protecting young girls by discouraging us from engaging in any number of sexual escapades, but in doing so, they neglected to prepare us for the onslaught of this very physical and very real sexually magnetic pull we would naturally have towards another. I believe it’s this lack of conversation and encouragement about sexual exploration that snared women in a kind of trap, one which I didn’t escape until my late 40’s and didn’t even know I was in until I became a swinger.

Choosing to be sexual has been a recent change in my life, one that was initially very difficult. A woman wanting to have sex! Wow, what a concept! The thing was, I had a hard time being okay with feeling like it was okay that I wanted to have sex, and maybe with more than one partner! Coming of age in the ‘70s was invigorating. I was exposed to the women’s lib movement by some of my older female relatives and heard a lot about the sexual freedom movement. However, my upbringing was centered around the wholesome image of a virgin woman finding her Prince Charming.

The fairy tale involved a white picket fence and cherub faced babies, all revolving around the man’s sexual appetite. I cannot remember anyone talking to me about my own sexuality. No one came up to me and said, “Sex is going to be such an important part of your life, whether or not you have a partner, so not only should you experiment with sex, you should also embrace the process.” Wow! The lives of so many women would be much different today if we’d only been told it was perfectly normal for us to engage in and embrace our sexuality.

Although I believe we’ve made great strides in our quest for equality, women are still being taught the virgin story. So, even in today’s society, we’re still being instructed to save ourselves for our “soulmate” and ignore the hormones raging within us. So what happens? What happens when we want to act on the messages our bodies are sending? How can we be okay in participating in something we desire but are told is only acceptable within strict limitations and under certain circumstances? This is where the topic of consent becomes like glue; when the years of repressive instruction get in the way of our sexual freedom. How can we as women feel okay about saying yes to sex if we’re being taught we should say no?

If women are being taught that sex is wrong under circumstances outside of what society deems moral but yet is something we want to engage in, then a slippery slope emerges. How is a woman supposed to battle against these opposing forces? The first step for me was to own my decision. The first time I agreed to engage in a threesome with my husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, I decided that I wasn’t going to worry about what was on the other side of my choice because I was prepared to accept the consequences, good or bad. This may sound like an insignificant step, but for me, it was about power, resilience and confidence.

I remember sitting up straight and tall and telling John that yes, I did want to meet up with our play partner, and yes, I did want to explore this fantasy. I wanted to see for myself what I would think and how I would feel. I had cancelled some previous threesome dates with John because of fear—maybe John was testing my loyalty to him; maybe if I said yes he would leave me or vice versa. Regardless, something happened on that particular night. Something snapped within me and I changed my thinking pattern. If John left me, then John left me. All I knew at that moment was that I wanted to do this! I WANTED to say yes! I not only owned my decision, I embraced it.

It was this moment that I realized I had been in a trap that had encased my entire adult life. I had been snared into a place where my sexual exploration was a bad thing. I now knew this doctrine to be false, and not just false but dangerous. How many other women were and still are afraid to own their sexuality? How many refrain from sex when their bodies feel a natural instinctive response? Here I was having sex with someone outside the confines of what I had been taught all my life because I wanted to. I wanted to. I wanted to have sex with a guy I had just met. There, I said it!

Here’s the lesson: Whether you love the result of your choice or don’t, learn from the action either way. Take joy in knowing that if you learned something, you’re growing! As women, it’s our responsibility to own ourselves, especially when it comes to our sexuality. It’s up to us to begin a new version of the story we’ve been told, one in which we’re the masters of our own universe and own each and every sexual encounter. We’re only victims if we relinquish our power. We have to change the narrative that we’re “damaged goods” simply because we have sex with whomever. We have to teach the next generation to be secure in who they are sexually. It’s up to each and every one of us as women to stand tall and entwine ourselves in the power we have. It’s okay if we have sex! It’s okay if we have lots of sex! We don’t have to be ashamed anymore. We’re beautiful and incredible and powerful, not just because of our sexuality but also because we allow ourselves to live authentically.

12 Comments

  • John says:

    A powerful tale of human, of a woman’s true power. Societal control be damned!

  • Nikki says:

    You have just replicated my life story. I have struggled with my sexuality for far too long. I can be totally into it then cold shouldered the next day. I began to question what the hell is wrong with me but reading your story just helped me realize what I am struggling with. I agree that women have been sexually suppressed for way too long! No more shame, guilt or fear! Thank you for helping me find my courage. I’m going to own it!

  • Debbie says:

    Jackie,
    I brought my husband who in theory and on paper seemed very open to the experience of swinging, but once we were at the club and after he saw my enjoyment of the experience with another man, he completely backtracked. decided to shame me etc. etc. You can imagine. He is 18 years my senior 76 and it seems in his case that the generational difference was something I wasn’t prepared for. We are separated now, although he has said he can forget about what “happened” if I come back. I have decided to choose me! It has been sad but your letter just confirmed what I knew in my heart all along. Living authentically is always the best choice. And, by the way, I’m not necessarily choosing the swinging lifestyle but I damned sure choosing Debbie. I am a reinvention life coach and I now have what I believe will be the cornerstone of my work. Thank you, again.

  • Phil says:

    Wow, you go girl !!! I love it, Where were you 30 yrs ago…?

  • Lowell says:

    Amen ! Such a difficult journey through life to finally find that kind of ownership/authenticity-of-living, especially with your generation, and with older generations of women, as well.

    Nicely expressed & written from a first-person/third-person POV!!

  • Sonia says:

    Jackie,
    That has been my life up until I found your videos and articles. I’m very excited to read your book as well!!! I get up in a Southern Baptist Church and with EXACTLY what u stated above! I can also remember the first time I seen the videos in health class hehe….. I have rethought my own sexuality and my relationship with my husband. We are new in the LS, but are loving every minute. We wouldn’t have even tried this route if not for your videos! Thank you!!
    I’m having trouble now with what to teach my 14 year old daughter. I know what she’s feeling inside when she goes on dates and such. I, as her mother, would like to shelter her from everything until she’s 30, but I know that I can’t!
    Do u have any advice on what to teach these upcoming women about sexuality during the teenage years? I surely don’t want her to be considered a “whore” ar school but also want her to know its “ok” to have these desires. It’s ok for a girl/young woman to have these feelings inside. Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated Jackie and John.
    With much love and respect,
    Sonia

    • Jackie Melfi says:

      Dear Sonia,

      Thank you for sharing your story. John and I are so glad that you and your husband have found the lifestyle to be advantageous to your relationship.

      For me, raising 3 daughters who would be able to walk into the world with self assurance and confidence was paramount. The biggest thing I endeavored to teach my girls was to see their value. Yes, they were going to experience changes in their bodies and the boys would go from being “icky and gross” to cute. What better tool to equip my daughters than with a healthy self image. Now, I’m not just talking about an outward self image, but about how they viewed themselves internally. To see the beauty in who they were as a whole.

      I remember tons of conversations with my girls where we talked about the advantages of really getting to know the opposite sex. To develop friendships, to hang out with, laugh with, really talk to the opposite sex.

      Of course they were going to come up against some very new and exciting feelings. They would feel attraction towards others and those “butterfly” feelings deep in the pit of their stomachs. Not only was it to be expected, but it was natural. We also talked about the fact that even though these feelings were natural, a responsibility to those emotions was also relevant.

      The lesson so often waiting for us in our sexuality is ownership of our decisions. I never wanted my girls to ever feel pressured to do anything because of a boy, nor did I want my boys (I had 3 of them to contend with as well) to ever feel pressured because of a girl either. I think the biggest gift I gave my offspring was the gift of responsibility when it came to their sex lives. I didn’t try to “shelter” them from growing up, but instead tried to give them the tools of decision making when it came to their sexuality. Because we had open communication, they could come to me and ask me about issues they were going through. Having these open conversations stripped away the secrecy of sex and instead brought it out into the open. In doing so, sex took on a different concept, it was a responsibility. Something they could explore if they wanted, but with their eyes wide open to the details. I believe this approach enabled these young adults to not feel “hurried or rushed” to engage in sex. I know for my girls it actually curtailed them from sex until they felt ready and when they did, it was with self confidence.

      • Sonia says:

        Thank you for responding with such wise words. I love how you tell me what you did in your experiences with this issue and I can take away what I need to from that. You have said this in a way that I had not thought of ….”talk about sex openly and it will take the secrecy of sex away”. I will continue to do this with my daughter and I too believe she will take what she needs from it and make confident/wise decisions from it. Thank you so much!
        With much love,
        Sonia

  • Gary says:

    Growing up as a male I was taught that a female that had sex outside of the marriage was a slut or whore, so where is the male version of these words. Coming into the lifestyle I have learned that females as well as males just enjoy sex like any other activity. I for one am glad that females and males have over come these old ideas on sex to become swingers! Without this NONE of us would have no one to play with.

  • Girls were virgins and everyone knew that there was an alternate set of rules for the boys.

    …But these fear based tactics couldn’t rival our raging hormones.

    All very true Jackie; SADLY very true. Grrrrrr, why there are two different set of standards still taught children/teenagers — one for guys/boys and one for ladies/girls — baffles me and hits an infuriating nerve! Without going into tons of detail, I’ll use an analogy showing the absurdity of this socio-religious “tradition.”

    I am/was as a boy, teenager, then adult heavily involved in sports, specifically TEAM sports. A very successful collegiate, pro and semi-pro career taught me at least one vital life-lesson: you can NEVER achieve greatness without others! Period. In other words, you must always work as a TEAM through all circumstances. This most definitely includes relationships, commitment, LOVE, marriage, parenting, et al!!! Why then are we taught at young ages that a boy and girl (sexually involved) have UNequal responsibilities!? Riddle me that please!? WHY DOESN’T THE BOY/MAN have just as much responsibility as the girl/woman? Why doesn’t the boy/man receive just as much attention, positive AND negative, as the girl/woman?

    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander” was an all-encompassing lesson my ex-USMC father taught me extensively, further reinforced with all the team sports I played. It applies in just about EVERY aspect of life! Team, team, TEAM… ALWAYS!

    All the rest of your words Jackie are SPOT ON! Very well done and written! Bravo you beautifully empowered woman!

    • Jackie Melfi says:

      Professor T,

      Thank you so much for commenting on this…I love having the male perspective on this issue.

      I agree with you in regards to the whole TEAM scenario and responsibility. I know from my own experience with team playing, even though everyone had different roles (or positions) within the game, everyone knew the importance and responsibility each position held within the confines of the game. Everyone had to work together in order to succeed.

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