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Ever since puberty, I found my body to be a site of shame, something I desperately wanted to escape.
A transplant to predominantly white Catholic schools on Long Island, I was immediately deemed ugly. I had an older sister, but we were close enough in age that we were navigating puberty around the same time. As second-generation daughters of immigrant parents, we were on our own as far as navigating the personal and social meanings of our bodies.
A lot of hurdles were awkward for me. I grew flustered and self-conscious when relatives felt no qualms about making unsolicited comments about my body.
“You’ve got boobs now,” an aunt told me bluntly when I came over with my mother once. How could she mention them? I was mortified.
I could avoid it for a while by wearing starchy undershirts under my school blouses, but soon, I couldn’t hide my growing breasts anymore. I crossed my arms over my chest in an attempt to hide my nipples as they showed through my shirt, but I might as well have beRead more...
When I was younger, I was caught "experimenting" with oral sex by my parents. They reprimanded me severely. Ever since then I've had a hard time coming to terms with my sexuality. It took me a long time to get over my feelings of how "sex is bad," but now I'm in a healthy, sexually active relationship. My problem is that, although I want to be intimate with my boyfriend, there's a part of me that still feels the shame of my younger self. It's led to me being uncomfortable with myself, and especially uncomfortable with oral sex (giving, but mostly just receiving). My sex life is fine, but I can tell that my partner doesn't really understand where I'm coming from. I haven't told him any of this, and I'd rather not. What can I do to get over this feeling?
I'm 13 years old. I've had an interest in sex since I was 10. So when I heard about masturbation for women, I was all for it. When I tried it, it felt great. But afterwards, I felt sick to look at my self in the mirror. I was disgusted by what I had done. Whenever I went back to school, I felt like everyone knew what I had done. I know they don't, but it still feels like it. It felt so good, though! Should I try again or just give up for the time being?
I'm a girl and I've been with my boyfriend for 8 months. I'm 18 and he's my first boyfriend. We've never had sex (he has had it before) but we've done other things. I have a problem though, I'm really scared to orgasm. Like we'll be doing something that feels so good and I know that if we just continued a bit longer I would get there (I feel the muscles contracting, the heart pumping, the intensity building and all that) but then I chicken out and make him stop. He's fine with it and very supportive and respects that I'm so scared, but it bothers me. Why can't I just let myself get there? It's the same deal if I um, "pleasure myself." Is there any way I can or he can help myself get over this fear of the unknown?
I'm a 24-year-old woman who's never had any kind of partnered sex or been in a relationship. Until very recently, my libido was like a quiet walk in a very dull park. I had to make a serious effort to become sexually aroused, and was attracted mostly to men, but not very many men. I would masturbate maybe five or six times a month, and never orgasm. Intellectually I knew there was nothing wrong with that, but I felt freakish and insufficiently sexual.
I recently learned how to give myself an orgasm, though, and now I get incredibly turned on sometimes when I'm not even thinking about sex. I've gone from quiet walk in the park to stuck on a runaway train. It's distracting, embarrassing, and physically exhausting. When given the chance I will masturbate about fifteen times a day. On top of all that I've started noticing women as sexually attractive, and more men as attractive than I did before. This all happened within the space of three days. I know sexuality can be fluid but I kind of assumed the changes were gradual.
Why am I suddenly insatiable? I'm worried that either this will continue and I'll spend my days in perpetual need of a cold shower, or I'll go right back to being mostly desireless.
This is our final installment of stories and photographs from I'll Show You Mine, a book by Wrenna Robertson and photographer Katie Huisman, and by all of the women featured in the book, collectively. To find out more about the book, Wrenna, and why we think this is such an important project, check out our interview with her here. Or, you can visit the website for the book to find out and more and get a copy for yourself.
If you'd like to ask the person whose body and words are featured in each entry any questions or have a conversation with her, most of the subjects have agreed to make themselves available here in the comments for discussions with our readers. As mentioned in Wrenna's interview, so many people never get the opportunity to talk about genitals in an honest, open and safe way with others, so we encourage you to avail yourselves of the opportunity, and are so grateful to the women involved for making this kind of conversation available to Scarleteen readers.
We're alsoRead more...