It was about two weeks into my second semester freshman year when I walked into my dorm room to find my friends standing around my opened panty drawer.
My beloved and loyal male followers, maybe this is where you would like to excuse yourself, or maybe hang around a bit with a very open mind to learn something new. The choice is totally yours.
So where was I?
Oh Yes, my open panty drawer.
This was an intervention. You see, I, like many other good Christian teenagers, came to college with a bag full of colored cotton Fruit of the Looms that probably rose just a little too close to my belly button.
“Throw them all away,” one girl on my floor demanded.
“But you see, you can’t do that,” I tried, as they removed the entire drawer and dumped its contents into the tiny garbage under my desk, “because that is my underwear.”
“Not anymore,” they all agreed as they led me to the car and drove me three towns over to TJ Maxx on a mission replace to ever single item of underwear I owned.
I should mention this was in February. As you might imagine, the selection of panties at TJ Maxx is, well, quite festive in February.
Everything they handed me looked incredibly pink, and lacy, and uncomfortable, “No one sees these but me,” I tried to argue, “why does it even matter?”
“Because you see it,” one of them said, “And that matters a lot.”
They all challenged me to try these new garments for just a week to see what change it could make.
Now nearly seven years later, as a fierce advocate that the thong was one of the most ingenious inventions granted to [wo]mankind, I can confidently say, -they were right.
It was about two years after that I wandered into a dorm lounge wearing my pajamas and carrying a bag full of books and chips well equipped for a long night of studying. The room was crowded with about 20 girls, and they welcomed me in as if I was supposed to be there.
I sat down and smiled, too awkward to simply say, “oh sorry, I didn’t realize the room was reserved for a gathering,” like a normal person might before they walk away.
Instead I stayed and listened as the leaders of the group began to talk about, I kid you not, sex.
Turns out I walked in at the beginning of the semester’s very first lust free living bible study for my dorm.
I sat, uncomfortable at first, and in agreement after that as these two incredibly vulnerable woman shared their own stories of lust, of sex, of masturbation, of porn addictions and all of the other struggles that girls aren’t “supposed” to face.
My world was rocked, and I couldn’t help but wonder why this group had to meet in the privacy of an all-woman dorm’s lounge. Why had I been to countless church services, youth camps, and chapels and never heard about these very real topics that humans, not just men, face on a daily basis?
“Don’t have premarital sex,” I got that sermon about five times a year. But why had no one said that woman want sex, crave it just as much as men, and not just for the emotional aspects, but the physical too? Why had no one shared that some women struggle with a desire to masturbate, or some struggle with porn addiction?
I learned very quickly that the failure of the church to address these topics, these struggles with the female population had hurt my fellow sisters deeply. The refusal to talk about these topics made women bottle up these emotions, and spend years feeling dirty and alone.
I knew that day that this is not something I had any interest in shutting up about.
And that’s what brings me here.
I get it, this post is strange, particularly coming from a woman who created an entire website around the fact that women should strive to be lovely rather than sexy, but I think the twist in all of this, the secret that the church is too uncomfortable to discuss, is how essential a woman’s sexuality is no matter what she believes.
I truly believe that a woman can never achieve “lovely” without understanding and perusing her own sexuality.
When I step back and consider it, I realize that before I felt comfortable with my only sexuality, I still craved something that I couldn’t quite identify, and I sought it in an unhealthy need for affirmation. I might have been the good Christian girl in her fruit of the looms, I might have, and may still, cover every crack of my cleavage with camisoles and sweaters. I might not have indicated any desire to feel sexy in the way I dressed or acted. But that girl in the granny panties, she didn’t feel sexy in her own skin, and something essential was missing from her because of that.
I wanted men to want me, even if my clothes didn’t shout that. I watched chick-flicks and craved that kind of attention, that feeling of absolute confidence in my own skin. I chalked this up as something I would never know until my wedding day, because no one ever told me that I was allowed to seek and find my OWN sexuality, my OWN feeling of being wanted. No one ever told me, that this feeling of being “hot” of being “sexy” does not require a man.
Beautiful girl, there is a lot no one ever told me about myself, about how I could love myself. There are a lot of truths that the church, that spiritual leaders in my life, felt too uncomfortable to share with me.
Here are just a few that I hope to share with you:
You are a sexual being, and this beauty, this sexuality, is a gift from God- not a curse.
You are allowed to feel sexy- even before marriage. You are allowed to buy thongs and lacy bras, and you are allowed to do this for absolutely no one’s eyes or approval but your own.
If you don’t take time to discover your own sexuality and truly invest in yourself as a beautiful hand-crafted woman of God, there is a higher chance that you will end up seeking this essential part of you from men instead of your own heart, and that can wreak way more havoc on your self-worth.
You don’t need a man to feel sexy. You don’t need to appeal to a man to be sexy.
Ignoring these desires will not typically make them go away.
A man’s lust is not your responsibility, and you do not have to sacrifice the clothing, the leggings, the swimsuits that you feel beautiful and comfortable in because the church tells you that your brothers lack any discipline of their own genitalia. (This is a whole new blog for another day).
These battles are not exclusive to males. Women have lust. Women have porn addictions. Women have sexual desires. You are not alone.
But most importantly, know that no matter what you battle, you are not dirty. You are not corrupt. You are no less of a woman or a Christian. You are simply human.