When I was first exploring my sexuality, I didn’t resonate with using the terms masculine and feminine to describe myself — especially not when they applied to sex. I resonated with the idea of these energies co-existing, but not how having both of them could help me have a balanced sex life. Now, ten years later on this journey, I resonate much more with these terms and understand why that balance can be so helpful in sex and intimacy. At times in my explorations, I’ve swayed heavy to one side or the other, and thankfully this pendulum swing has been helpful in opening up a longing in me for the side that was missing.
I’ve always identified strongly with certain aspects of traditional femininity. I became a mother to a big family at a young age and the role of nurturing my children and husband felt at that time, like my highest purpose in life. Motherhood allowed me to tap into the soft, nurturing parts of myself that longed for connection and intimacy — through tending to the needs of others. Caring for my family became my attempt at meeting those needs in myself and yet, I often felt like something was missing. Without embodying my masculine side, I found it difficult to ask for what I wanted and needed or make decisions for myself that conflicted with my ability to care for others. My femininity lacked self-care that may have helped me feel nurtured or beautiful or comfortable in my body, and was solely focused on the needs of others. I stuffed my own needs down as deep as I could to protect this. As my children got older and built their own relationships and interests, parenting no longer met my need for intimacy, and the deep longings I felt bubbled to the surface. Slowly, I pulled them out one by one and learned that I liked to feel my body move through dance and to wear dresses and to feel pretty — for myself — and that femininity wasn’t only about caring for the needs of others.
Around this same time I discovered my pleasure in a more embodied way and the nurturing part of me that used to have sex for my husbands pleasure, started wanting pleasure for myself. It took awhile to learn how to do this, but eventually I no longer cared if he connected with me before we had sex as I’d long since been asking for. I learned that I could have sex solely for pleasure — as he had seemingly done for years and years — and that sometimes that was exactly what I needed. I learned to own my right to orgasm by making sure that, with the help of my hands, I always orgasmed in sex. I initiated sex, turned on the lights and took the pillow off of my face that I’d used for years to hide in shame. I didn’t have to feel shame to live in pleasure. It was my BIRTHRIGHT. I was doing what men have done for centuries and took ownership of my own pleasure. I’d believed my husband’s pleasure to be a given and that it was necessary for me to provide that for him during the 17 years we were together. Until I found my masculine, I couldn’t imagine believing my pleasure could be a given or necessary too.
High on this masculine energy I rode my right to pleasure as hard a cock. (see, just writing about my masculine gets me in that mode!) When my marriage ended, I continued seeking my right to pleasure in a masculine way — rarely asking for the nurturing or connection I also needed, or even discerning adequately who I was experiencing pleasure with. There are moments I remember in sexual situations where I felt almost out of body, wondering why I divorced my husband just to be back in the same situation of disconnected sex I’d wanted out of. I could orgasm just fine, but the longing for connection and intimacy and being seen, was still there.
Listening to my feminine, I started practicing discernment and realized that deep intimacy and pleasure (beyond just a basic “get me off” orgasm) happened when I felt relaxed and safe. Just “taking” my orgasm wasn’t enough anymore and I still longed for the more I craved in my marriage. I wanted pleasure yes, but also connection, softness, surrender. To have this, I had to learn to trust and to receive — both very feminine qualities. I realized it was much easier to long for these things than to actually make myself open to them, but I committed to practice. Using breath, presence and masculine confidence, I learned to soften my body like a jelly fish or sea sponge — able to absorb and feel the subtlest nuances of pleasure. Slowly I opened my legs, arms, hands and heart to myself, my partner and the universe. Allowing the feminine in me to receive and soften meant I could allow my partner to pleasure me for as long as I needed. When I felt insecure, the masculine in me was helpful as the strong voice in my ear reminding me, as it’s reminded men for centuries, that “this is my right!” Finally, the two parts were working together.
Looking back I feel that as a traditional, non sexually embodied woman — so far swung on the pendulum in that way — it was necessary for me to swing as far as I could the other way and find my masculine. I needed to own my right to pleasure and exercise it as my own, so that I could come back and own my right to embody my full femininity too. In order to surrender to pleasure, love and allow myself to be fully seen, I needed to know I deserve that. It’s my right as a human being. Regardless of gender or sexual orientation, I believe these two energies exist in all of us, as does the potential to actualize them. To know if your pendulum is swung too far in one way, you can simply ask yourself “what else am I longing for in my sexual and intimate life?” Your answer, is an invitation to explore what’s missing.