By Liliana Ruiz-Healy
“You think you know what women want? Because I’m the one whose slept with many, so i know what they like.“ my ex yelled at me the moment I dared to bring up the topic of sexual fantasies and desires.
“But… I’m not like every woman you’ve been with. I have my own desires,” I retorted, taken aback by his reaction.
He stormed out, slamming the door behind him, leaving me in tears for daring to voice my needs. Sadly, this wasn’t the first time I faced such a response from a partner when I suggested discussing our sex life and exploring new things. In my head, I always thought it would be exciting and intriguing to have a partner who is sexually open and curious, but experience has shown me otherwise. This was also a man who got angry every-time I dared to post a sexy selfie on social media, but there he was liking every other woman’s half naked pictures.
Throughout my life, I have encountered partners who dictated when to have sex, criticized my self-expression, and stifled my voice when it came to exploring new things in the bedroom – and outside. For far too long, I regarded sex as a means of fulfilling others’ desires, neglecting my own needs and pleasure. My body became a source of shame and self-hate. But deep down, I knew there had to be more to sexuality than this one-sided experience.
Let me clarify that I do not generalize all men, as there have been some who embraced open discussions about desires and supported my journey of sexual exploration. But it’s been the minority. And when I talk to women: Same story, different body. I couldn’t ignore the prevalent pattern where women’s desires were often silenced and overshadowed.
It was in those positive exchanges that I started to realize my body was not the enemy; it was a vessel capable of incredible pleasure and empowerment. When I finally walked away from a toxic relationship, I made a promise to myself: I would no longer suppress my pleasure for the sake of male fragility.
And so, my sexual enlightenment began—a journey of personal liberation that extended beyond the bedroom. I started to voice my truths in all aspects of life, embracing my creativity, and unapologetically occupying my space.
Along this path, I shortly dated a man who saw a woman’s confidence in expressing her desires as a gift. His support and encouragement sparked a newfound sense of empowerment. I delved into pole dancing, embracing my body in a new light, and even dared to share sexy selfies on social media. Instead of judgment, I received empowerment and admiration from him.
There was something liberating about owning my sexuality and pleasure on my terms, letting my imperfect glory shine.
I started meeting empowered women, and learned that women who find their sexuality empowering, strengthen their focus, sense of self, creativity, motivation, and energizes them to set goals.
However, as I continued to embrace my sexuality, I faced societal repercussions. Owning your sexuality as a woman is a double-edged sword because it threatens men. A woman who knows what she wants and demands it boldly is unlikely to be easily controlled or feed an endlessly unsteady ego.
Sexually liberated women challenge the status quo of gender norms; they can’t be tamed.
This deeply ingrained perception of women’s bodies as dangerous to men began even in our school years, with strict dress codes and societal pressure to maintain a low “sex number.” The message was clear: our worth lies in pleasing others.
Stepping outside this confining narrative resulted in harsh judgment from both men and women. Women who deviate from this path face harsh consequences. “She’s being a wh*re, flashing her body all over social media. Doesn’t she care she’ll end up alone?” To answer this question: yes. But I’m more concerned of being with a man who waters me down.
The reality is that owning your sexuality makes men uneasy. And some women too. But that speaks more about their insecurities than the women celebrating their bodies. What does this say about their own sense of masculinity, which they believe hinges on female submissiveness? Still, I refuse to be silenced by their insecurities. Embracing my own sexuality and celebrating my body has become an act of defiance—an act that has helped me discern between insecure men and those who could genuinely appreciate a strong and confident woman.
Women are still objectified everywhere, and sadly, women self-objectify too. Women even objectify each other. But what’s empowering is when we do it for ourselves, embracing our agency and personal choices. Some may argue that sexy selfies cater to the “male gaze” and encourage objectification. But for us, or at least for me, they are a means to celebrate our bodies and sexuality, taking back what the male gaze tried to take away – our ability to enjoy our beauty without shame. And that’s true empowerment. Plus, do you know the guts it takes to post a half ass naked picture openly? I used to envy these women, now I’m proud of them.
Looking back, the men who asked me to silence myself and got their egos bruised because their girlfriend wanted better sex, and is all about positive sexuality, helped me weed out insecure men who can’t handle strong, free & confident women. Now, I recognize a man rooted in both his masculine and feminine sides; he’s the one who’ll celebrate his bad ass babe. He’s the one who’ll happily listen and won’t be scared to share his desires either. The dating pool might be smaller, but the quality is unmatched.