Heather Gee, Founder & Director of The Urbane Flower Project
Last month's 'TUF Words' topic #STAYWOKE 'Embracing Sexuality' was a good one. Not too many women would be open to talking about sex at a table full of strangers, but we managed to get things going.
It was a bit intimidating, at first. However, the nervous chatter led to a very healthy and candid discussion on sex. We discussed social and interpersonal factors that affect sexual function like religious beliefs and cultural upbringing.
During the group, I told the women that I was celibate. And when asked why, I cited my belief in waiting until marriage. (Now, what did I say that for?) By the look on some of their faces, they must have thought I was trying to "Heather" them into a purity sisterhood.
-Wrong Heather. (Even though I LOVE her message!)
While abstinence is my personal choice, it is not the platform agenda of The Urbane Flower Project. (I just want people to be great.)
Sounds serious, right?
Well, let’s shape this up a bit, shall we? We'll paint the picture using the persona of two fictitious women.
One is a young woman named, Tia.
Tia is your younger sister/friend. She’s currently single, saved, career driven and heavily involved with church. Tia has also been celibate for the last 7 years.
[ Total Sidebar] 7 months is a long time for some, but 7 years? Yikes. (Ha!) Anyway, back to Tia.
The last guy Tia dated was her ex-boyfriend. His name was Eric and he was Bae. When Tia was with Eric, having sex was a part of their relationship. As the story goes, Tia started attending a local church. The more she attended, she began to feel convicted about having sex with Eric because they weren't married. Tia's inner conflict left her feeling as though her sexual sin was driving a wedge between her and her newly formed relationship with God.
Tia's new-found convictions caused she and Eric to break up. And while seeking a deeper spiritual relationship, she decided that celibacy was the best decision for her. Tia became very tight-lipped and closed off to even talking about sex, also repressing her own sexual desires. It was a struggle that she prayed about constantly, but also one she rarely shared with others.
Let's face it. We all know or have been a "Tia".
I can most certainly understand her.
I asked the moderator to address the topic of sexuality in the church. Especially because being a Christian alone does not stop our human, or fleshly, desires. We know the word “sex” itself is a very taboo subject in the Christian Church.
So, we began to discuss why women, no wait, most Christian women… hold on… some Christian women are so afraid to embrace sexuality.
I mean is it possible to have a straight up conversation about sexuality and not feel like you’re being judged? Well, that's often what happens. We all agreed that it mostly derives from what we are taught about sex in church and how it leads to sexual immorality.
We also discussed how sexual trauma like rape and molestation can greatly influence how we feel about sex and how we function sexually.
Here's where we meet Theresa.
Theresa is like your work 'Aunty'' who always looks out for you. She has 2 handsome sons you've seen in the photos on her desk. Especially the older one who she show's off to the entire office whenever he's in town.
Yep- We all know someone like her, but we don't know her story.
Theresa is recently divorced after a 21-year marriage to her younger son's father. When Theresa was 15, she was taken advantage of by an older teen boy and she became pregnant. At that point, sex for her was associated with trauma. She was also labeled by people who did not know the real story of how she became a teenage mother.
She later met her younger son's father and they married when she was 25. He was 43. Theresa believed that He would be a good father to her two boys, and he was. However, she was never sexually satisfied with him. For her, sex was mostly a part of her wifely duties. And he was the only other man she had been with sexually.
Theresa stayed with her husband for her sons. Now that they were grown and gone, so was she. She's older but she has yet to find herself sexually.
Both women are at two totally different stages in life. However, both want to find a balance and understand how to embrace their sexuality.
This group session taught us that human sexuality is a fundamental part of our human experience. As women, sexuality is different, and our experiences vary over a lifetime. Sex must be protected, healthy and fulfilling. It's how we procreate, connect and respond to our partners. We understand that sex is not everything, nor was it ever intended to be. However, it is important to understand sexuality and embrace it as freely and healthily, without anxiety, just as we deserve.
Can we further this dialogue? Let's talk about it. Comment below. I'd like to know how you feel.