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Q: What Does Women’s Sexual Empowerment Look Like? with Dr. Zhana

For our March Q&A with Dr. Zhana Vrangalova, we’re talking about Women’s Sexual Empowerment.

What does it mean to be sexually empowered?

Being sexually empowered means owning your sexuality, being strong and powerful and confident in the desires that you have, in the kinds of stimulations that you like to have in your body, and being able to express that clearly and assertively to your partners.

How can I feel less shame about being such a sexual person?

Our sex-negative cultures, especially the sexual double standards that exist within them for women, make women feel a tremendous amount of guilt and shame around their sexuality. We have to shed that by educating ourselves about our bodies, our needs, our boundaries, and then surrounding ourselves with sex-positive people and communities who can support us in this long process of shedding that shame and guilt. 

How do I shift the mindset that pleasure is something I am supposed to provide, not receive?

This view that sexual pleasure as something that women give to men but not receive in return is one of the most insidious and harmful views that we have in our cultures. It drives me crazy because it is a total lie. We are sexual beings as much as men are and we deserve to receive pleasure as much as we give it. Sex is a beautiful give and take of sexual pleasure. Learning your body, being comfortable with your body, expressing your needs, and finding partners who are willing to engage in that give and take dance are very important to helping change that mindset.

How to come with penetration?

The vast majority of vulva-owners do not come from penetration alone most of the time. They can, however, come during penetration if it’s coupled with some type of external clitoral stimulation, provided either by themselves or by their partner. It can be with your hand, your partner’s hand, or with a vibrating toy, which LELO has a beautiful array of.

Man here – how can I support my partner’s sexual empowerment?

So glad you asked this because we can’t do this without the support of our male partners. The first thing to do is educate yourself on how female pleasure works. I highly recommend Kenneth Play’s online course Sex Hacker Pro for that. And then you need to understand that women receive very different messages about sex than men do from virtually every source. You have to encourage your female partners to tell you what they like, what they don’t like, how they like it. Don’t expect women to just tell you – they often won’t. They need to know that it’s safe to tell you, that you will listen, that you won’t shame them for their desires, and that you will respect their boundaries.

Will I ever be able to reclaim my sexuality and carefreeness I had before I was sexually assaulted?

Reclaiming sexuality after sexual trauma is not an easy task but it is possible and a lot of survivors have gotten there. Exactly what that path looks like and how long it takes is going to differ from person to person, but with therapy and other healing modalities, it is absolutely possible and worth embarking on that quest.

Woman here – How can I explore my bisexuality while in a hetero relationship?

It is absolutely possible and a lot of fun exploring one’s bisexuality within the context of an existing hetero relationship. You can do it by talking to your partner about opening up your relationship in some way so you can explore women, whether you see women on your own or in the context of threesomes or other forms of group play that you can do together with your partner. So, talk to him about the best way to do that without threatening the security and stability of the existing relationship. There are lots of ways to do that. If you need guidance on that journey, I have a whole online course on it – Open Smarter

Interested in discussing (non)monogamy-related topics with curious and open-minded folks from all over the world? Join Dr. Zhana’s monthly Open Smarter Social virtual event for FREE! March topic: What’s “Open Monogamy”?  

Watch the recording of our latest event (on Gender Differences in Nonmonogamy) by joining Dr. Zhana’s mailing list.

Do you have more questions about anything sex and love related? Follow Dr Zhana on Instagram or Twitter.

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