This is part two of a conversation inspired by an email I received from one of our dear readers. My intention as a writer is to bring light to the shadows of shame and repression that may Black females live though. The conversation has now moved into the space of where a Black female finds herself, ostracized, confused, used and curious as what she is to do with her own body when so many other’s have laid claim to her sexual personhood.
I’m currently trapped in this horrible madonna/whore complex and don’t know how to get out of it. I’m an EXTREMELY sexual person, which is not connected to the sexual abuse. But I feel horribly guilty about it, which IS connected to the abuse.
Madonna and whores both have something in common.
I’m kinda joking, but not really as society places labels on things to better help simple people understand them. Its ironic that women have very few archetypes to occupy that are separate from their sexual association to males.
The “Madonna” and the “whore” are quite opposite but I think both exist in every woman and a myriad of other identities would fall in between the two. I’m so proud of you for not feeling guilty about being a sensual woman.
Now if I can only convince you that whatever feelings you were left with after the abuse belongs to the person who caused the abuse and not you.
GUILT is the charge of the person who abused you. Hand it back to them because they don’t deserve to be in your mind, or your bedroom, remember what I said about taking back your treasure?
This is a great place to administer the act of TAKING—-take back your pride and your right to enjoy sex, guilt free.
Since the abuse happened at such a young age and in such a bad way, I adopted the mindset that sex was all I was good for and good at and all any man would ever want me for, then proceeded to act this out (unknowingly for a long time) in relationships.
Ah, yes, I know this girl.
She may have had a healthy and loving partner right under her nose but with her feelings of worthlessness blinding her, she discards partners after a physical exchange has occurred.
Since she is sexual, she’s actually eager to get to the good parts but once she’s ‘given in’ to those sexual urges and ‘given’ him what he wanted (though she wants it too) she may retreat in shame, physically if not mentally. I’m spending my days making amends with the men who I chucked over my shoulder because I was sure that I ‘wasn’t good’ enough even though each guy did all they could do to show me that I was important to them.
I heard this message loud and clear from my mother after I was raped at the age of 14. Rather than having my family and community rally around me to protect me, I was informed of the shame I bought onto my father (my heart and the one person whose opinion of me really mattered). My Black mother made it clear the entire community would know that I was ‘used’ and would be looked down upon as not as good as others, so I understood how worthless I became by allowing myself to be dragged behind a dumpster by two grown men whose sexual advances I had routinely declined.
Indeed, I’ve broken many men’s hearts and left a lot of confusion in my path as I ran from partners who showed me more love than I believed I was worth because the people who were supposed to love me, hated me, or allowed me to be treated in a hateful damaging matter.
We’ve been marked with the scarlet letter, my love.
At the same time, I’m very used to stuffing this shit, sweeping it under the rug, pretending everything is okay and behaving like the conservative, sweet, nice, polite, good little girl I was raised to be, even though internally and in private I’m an absolute mess.
Combine that with all the messages I’ve received about women and sex in general from our culture, and especially about black women and sex, and I’m a hot mess.
Ma, you aren’t a hot mess, Black women in general are a collective hot mess, and its about time someone said this.
Black women pass down dysfunctional views of sex and sexuality by remaining silent about the abuse, and by agreeing to protect their abusers, and by their willingness to continue to stifle their feelings and emotions to fit some repressed and unnatural male centric belief system of female chastity.
The Black women that stifle the emotional and sexual domain of other black women are comfortable with the Black woman existing as an inanimate object…which creates the environment to further be used and discarded.
They promote the belief that we don’t have sexual needs, or wants, or desires as women. These certain policing Black women are scared and ignorant and hope to mask their anxiety by silencing the Black women who are enthusiastic and wanting of male pleasure.
I proclaim that we do have ownership of our bodies, and that as Black women we should want to take ownership of our bodies, but no.
I come to this place and have found a willing audience of the same type of resentful Black woman who insists that sex and sexuality is an important conversation but we should discuss it in whispers and disclaimers and only under the circumstances pleasing to the male gender.
The message of self determination, pride and ownership of oneself is missed on many Black women.
The first step in establishing self determination is recognizing and believing that you have a right to have what you demand/want/need.
The second step is going after what you want and not backing down no matter how much push back there is.
The third step is taking what is yours. Whatever that may be.
The Black culture is good for waiting on others to fix our problems. You have contributed to the solution of this problem by speaking out against it.
At my core, I’m a complex person who has a lot more than sex to offer and I’d love to be in a monogamous long term, safe, secure relationship or marriage. I have this very deep, intense longing to feel safe, vulnerable and comfortable with a man. But I’m terrified of what a man will think of me because of my past and because I’m not really the madonna/virginal/sweet, innocent, conservative girl I’m so good at coming off as. Once the clothes come off, there’s no way to hide my sexuality.
Yes, you are complex and yes, you have more to offer than sex. There are but a few low brain thinking men out here who think otherwise. I would also say you’d have no use for these type of judgemental men. Their perception of you as a woman is small, constricted and smells of old musk, because it is juvenile and outdated.
Men such as this do not want you, and you should be glad because you aren’t missing anything but a shell of a human who seeks a shell of a human. No one really wants you to be a Madonna or a lifeless, timid and childlike Lolita. This is simply misogyny at play and your sensitivity to pleasing others has you thinking that you will be required to be something you are not. And a real man will love you for each and every bit of that complexity that I see you have.
When turned on it flows out of me like water from a faucet. Body art is beautiful, including the ones used for sexual enhancement though people call Black women names who choose to adorn their bodies in this way “tramp stamp”. I don’t like to think of it that way. I love the tattoo and to me it just represents sexuality, but I know how judgmental people are about it. I’m also into kink & rough sex, love to watch porn and am starting to explore BDSM.
Body art is beautiful. I have several pieces, my daughter who is 23 currently has 80 body art pieces and I envy her. She has a huge set of angel wings with the phrase ‘Flawless” across her stomach. I’m proud that she feels that way. I think I succeeded at my job as a mother that she is proud and unashamed of her body and sexuality. With such an outward bold display of her sensuality Black women may think she is some type of woman of lose morals but I assure you that she is not. Looks can be deceiving and your appearance will confuse less open minded folks.
Rough sex, kink and BDSM are the perfect place to learn and gain trust in another person. I’m not the least bit surprised that you found your way there. Again, we have much in common. The BDSM world is where you will be welcomed as a damaged person who is introspective and willing to take that trauma and turn it into a triumph of understanding yourself.
In a lot of ways I know I shouldn’t be ashamed of being a sexual person and I want so bad to own this and be proud of it, but I can not shake the shame and feeling like no good man will ever want me and that the madonna and whore in me can not coexist. I also have major boundary issues and often feel like I can’t say no to men when it comes to sex. Like I don’t have a right to because of my past hypersexuality and the abuse, but I know that’s connected to the childhood abuse/violation. I’ve also been raped by boyfriends as punishment for saying no.
I’m concerned with the guys who you are perceiving to be worth your time. No man should force a woman to have sex and it is rape, as you have correctly called it. You should not be ashamed of yourself. Even if you have to think of yourself in the third person and remind yourself that you would not want that person (who suffered as you have) to feel shame you must get to a place where you can let the inner you live in peace. Don’t bully yourself even if you have been taught that its okay to do so. Speak love to yourself the same as you would to another hurt woman seeking empathy and acceptance.
Being unwilling/unable to say no is a way of appeasing the people whom you want to accept you. The unwillingness to say no means that you have learned to go to that comfortable quiet place that exists when your body is forced to do something your mind disagrees with. Many women know this type of detachment.
No good man would want you to have to deal with these circumstances. No good man wants sex from a woman who is not willing to give it to him because she desires him and not because she’s guilty . No good man wants a woman who revisits childhood sexual abuse via his approaching her for sex. Maybe you will consider not having sex (when you don’t feel like it) and then letting the man decide what he wants to do.
Once the cards are on the table you can see what he’s all about. Not all men are so focused on a physical relationship; some men want companionship and friendship first and foremost. If he’s worth it, he’ll gain your trust by doing what you need him to do, and when you feel safe and comfortable you can move forward, whatever that may entail, its all up to you.
I’ve tried tackling this in therapy but all of my therapists have been white women and don’t quite get where I’m coming from because of my race. I also had trouble properly opening up to them because they were women (which I think ties into my mother and her teaching me to suppress my emotions and feeling like they might judge me because I’m a black woman or not a proper lady or get mad at me for crying or getting angry). I’m thinking about trying a male therapist next. I would not under any circumstances trust black women or men therapists with any of this for fear of harsher judgment or punishment, so going to them is not an option. Even though I fear this also from WW, I’d still rather take my chances with them.
I get it. I really, really do. I have been in and out of therapy for at least a decade and in that time I’ve come across some great people and some well meaning not so great people. Sally white girl is just as educated and empathetic as the next, however, a difference in communication and insight into circumstance and expectations can make or break your relationship with your therapist.
Sally white girl was nice but not ‘getting me’ though she did pass the tissues quickly, I could read the look of confusion and disgust as I explained my life to her during my first few sessions. It didn’t take long for me to realize she and I just wasn’t working. I felt like a bigger freak because her confusion at my lifestyle and circumstances was further proof that I was the broken part of the equation causing these things to happen instead of a victim of multiple unfortunate occurrences.
Luckily I had been in therapy enough to know that this wasn’t what I wanted so I requested a new therapist.
Now, Suzie white girl, my daughter’s therapist, was tiny and petite with a tongue ring and her sessions involved yoga, incense burning and mantra chanting. She appeared to be all of 16 years old which worked quite well as she worked with teenagers and young people specifically. So I won’t say race or gender matters individually, its moreso a combination of both.
I’ve had Hispanic males, White males, and White females and my very, very favorite therapist, a Latino woman close in age to me, with a daughter nearly the same age as my own at the time. She too, was a single mother, and she understood ‘our’ men, and ‘our’ relationship dynamics, and it made our therapy sessions more like girlfriend chat then clinical fixing.
Go back to therapy (if you think you should) and then be diligent about finding the right person. Back in the day (when healthcare involved a little more ‘care’) patients had the option and were encouraged to find a proper therapist that fit their needs. Now, you’re lucky to just get a dam appointment, though you know what you want and you should try to get as close as you can to your ideal.
Vet your therapist the same way you would anything else and don’t stop until you are content. Then you can beat their ear off their heads about your life and times. The thing that sucks is trying to be crazy (joke) while also being sane enough to advocate for your own mental health. Kinda complicated but well worth the trouble of finding that match.
Almost like dating….but that’s another post for another time.
Have I convinced you that you are amazing and that those boogy man Black women need to take seats? I hope so.
You’ll have enough enemies in life, don’t let your conscious hold you hostage to shit beyond your control.
Don’t let the ugly of others find a home in your heart.
Don’t believe the hype……bullshit has a helluvah a public relations budget.
Be all that you are….the man that will one day love and want you will have nothing less.
Be proud of yourself for surviving with the will to kick life in its lemons for fucking with you.
Be sure to hit me up if you need more of my couch therapy and keyboard enlightenment.
Discard the Madonna and the whore and just be the woman that you are meant to be. Your version of her will do just fine.