Redefining sexual liberation

The sexual revolution was a movement that started in the 60’s and lasted until the 80’s. It bred the normalization of promiscuity and sex outside of marital and monogamous relationships. This proceeded with higher acceptance of sex before marriage, use of contraception, and LGBTQ relationships. This revolution was a key aspect of the feminist movement, as it put emphasis on the importance of women’s sexual rights and being open with their sexuality. While this movement didn’t necessarily completely dwindle after the 80’s, it lost some of it’s momentum as the mainstream media once again started to take on a more conservative mindset.

In the age of social media and high accessibility to the internet, sexual liberation among women has seen a full resurgence. Social media websites like Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram have been used as a portal to share information and similar ideology about sexuality. Take Cardi B for example; her come up started when she started posting funny videos of herself online. In one of her most popular videos she coins the phrase, “A hoe never gets cold.” While the video itself was a joke, it ultimately did help with setting a precedent for women to feel more comfortable with unapologetically showing off their bodies. Don’t be mistaken. Women didn’t just now start being unapologetic with their sexuality , Artists like Christina Aguilera and Lil Kim can attest to that, but social media has definitely helped to accelerate the trend.

Social media has created a “sex positive” culture that definitely needed to be implemented. For too long, women have been the victim of objectification while also being shamed for being sexual on their own accord. Once upon a time, having your nudes exposed was one of the worst things that could happen to you. Now, girls are taking it in their own hands to post their nudes themselves. Before, a woman that has had a large number of sexual partners would be viewed as having a low self esteem, or seen as dirty. Now, women are reclaiming the words “Hoe” and “Slut” and making them positive. No longer are women letting these words be used to demean and belittle them. There will always be an underlying stigma on being sexual and showing off your body, but the stigma has less impact.

So what exactly does it mean to be sexually liberated? Being sexually liberated means to be in control of your sexuality, and to not let the norms of society challenge your outlook on sex. The typical image of a woman that is sexually liberated includes someone that exudes sex appeal and is very sexual in nature. While this description applies, one can also find liberation in being conservative with their sexuality. It’s important to put emphasis on this fact, because sex positivity can easily cross the line into shaming others for lack of sexual behavior. For instance; when ‘Insecure’ star Yvonne Orji admitted that she was still a virgin at the age of 31, it was the cause for serious debate on twitter. Twitter user @radicalhearts stated in reply to her speaking on the topic of her virginity: “Being a virgin at 33 not because you’re asexual, or have an issue attracting partners, but because of religion is sad. Not sorry.” Even though Orji never asked for anyone’s opinion, users all over the platform followed suit and chimed in with other negative commentary.

Here’s the thing. It shouldn’t matter the reason that someone chooses to not have sex. Regardless on if you think the reasoning is “sad” or weird; if it’s not your body then you shouldn’t provide your negative input. We can’t ask for freedom to express our sexuality, if we’re not also able to step back and let other women do the opposite. Sexual liberation is multifaceted; and if we’re not able to own our sexuality while letting other women choose not to, then we haven’t progressed as far as we may think.