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“Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.” – Oscar Wilde

When you’ve lost your libido, sex can feel a completely disempowering experience.

Far from the sexually empowered femme fatales we see in films, flicking their hair and calling the shots, instead we’re scurrying to bed when our partners back is turned or getting undressed in the bathroom to avoid their sexual advances.

When you’re sucked into someone else’s sexual orbit, and you’re having sex FOR them (to keep them happy) and on THEIR timeframes (as you’ll likely be waiting a very long time if you stick to yours) it can feel like you’ve totally lost control of sex. And that feels horrible.

However I recently came across a fantastic sex educator named Amy Jo Goddard who writes a lot about how to become “erotically bold”, and within this she mentions how women often give away their power during sex.

Can you spot yourself in any of the ideas she talks about below?

Sexual empowerment frustration sex drive

Ways we give up power during sex:

  • Having sex when we don’t want to, in order to please our partners.

This hit me like a ton of bricks- I do this all the time! We think we’re making things better by having sex because our partner is happier (at least one of us is!), or it leads to less arguments. 

But in fact, each time you do this you become that little bit less powerful. And in the long run doing this can leave you feel disempowered, closed down, and like you’ve completely lost ownership of your own body and sexuality. 

“One thing I’ve learned in all these years is not to make love when you really don’t feel it; there’s probably nothing worse you can do to yourself than that.”― Norman Mailer 

  •  We might prioritise our partners pleasure over our own. 

The NUMBER ONE way women give away their power usually is because either they don’t know what they want, or they believe their partners pleasure is paramount to their own.

Women often don’t want to interrupt their partner to speak out about what they want, or to say what they don’t (even if sex hurts or feels uncomfortable!). Women have been taught to give away their sexual agency in this respect- to be used as a receptacle for male pleasure rather than generate their own. We often close ourselves down and shy away from our own desires. 

  • We hold back during sex and don’t reveal ourselves

We don’t let ourselves be truly seen, and bring our authentic selves to bed.

This links to fear- of being vulnerable, of how we look, of letting go. If we’re not truly being ourselves during sex- who are we?

We might doubt we’re desirable or good enough at sex

We might also be afraid- of being judged as dirty, freaky, slutty (the list is endless…) so we hold back on what we really want

  • We don’t tell our partner what we do and don’t want. 

“We stay quiet about our desires”. Again this might be because of fear, but it also could be because we don’t know ourselves what feels good!

If we do ask, we feel selfish or guilty or worry we’ll take too long/be too difficult to please.  

  • We fake our orgasms.

We think its the “done thing”, but in fact we’re lying to ourselves (and our partners) if we’re not bringing our true self to the experience.

  • We take the passive role and wait for our partner to initiate 

We wait to be asked, or don’t ever initiate. 

This might be because we don’t feel confident doing it, or feel they should be the one (this is especially common for heterosexual couples). Not initiating might mean its a way of you giving up your sexual agency. We might fear rejection, or believe particular ideas about how women should behave, and in this way we relinquish our power.  

  • We disassociate during sex. 

Amy Jo talks about the idea of leaving home- you check out and let your partner do whatever they want to you. Often this indicates a history of trauma.

  • We use sex as a tool to manipulate or get what we want.

 There are lots of narratives about this in society, and for some women if we’re unable to express what we want in another way our negative emotions can bleed into sex and use it take out our frustrations on our partners.

  • We compare ourselves to other women, 

SO many women see themselves as inadequate and worry about not being enough. We give our power away every time we look outside ourselves for acceptance or a sense of worth.

How to hold on to your sexual power

  • Figure out what myths you hold onto about power

If you struggle to think of yourself as a powerful person, sit down and brainstorm ideas under this category- “Who do I feel I need to be/what do I feel I need to do before I can be powerful?”.

Then reflect on this. How many of these are true? How many are myths? What assumptions do you have about power, and who can own it? Are there different forms of power?

  • What’s holding you back?

Ask yourself: “What’s holding me back from feeling powerful?”. Out of your answers- which ones are real barriers and how can you overcome them? Which are untrue, and how can you let go of them?

  • Don’t have sex when you don’t want to

Seems obvious now right, but stop! It’s not going to make anything better, and actually, it sounds like it’s making it worse. Make a promise to yourself that you won’t put yourself through it again, and take steps today to start figuring out whats causing your low sex drive. You CAN do this, and you don’t have to put up with bad or unwanted sex!

  •  Find out what turns you on. 

This is probably one of THE most important things you’ll ever do for yourself! 

You can’t know what you want until you know how you feel. If you block feelings, you block your power. So remember to listen in to your intuition and dive deep to explore what you think, feel, and ultimately, desire.

Check out this post for a free guide on how to find out what you want in bed.

  • Tell your partner what you want

Often, if we feel a lack of personal power, we desire more control over our lives as we feel like a victim of circumstance and that sex is done to us rather than being an active and happy participant. A massive way of regaining power is to take ownership of what you want.

Their desire is NOT more important than yours- you deserve to have a vibrant, deeply fulfilling sex life too! Your partner also deserves to know what feels good for you, and to have an opportunity to get sex right!

Don’t be afraid to speak up, interrupt or do what ever you need to get what you want. Start with what’s holding you back, and work towards sexual assertiveness baby!

Part of this could be about practising initiating sex and overcoming fears of rejection- after all, you’ve got to go after what you want!

  • Bring your true self to the bedroom

Sexual power lies in being seen. If you’re not being who you are- who are you bringing to bed?

Being confident in yourself and allowing yourself to be vulnerable is scary but there is SO much power in being unapologetically you.

Part of being real is also about being honest with ourselves about what feels good, and not faking a sexual response because it’s what we think someone else wants to hear.

Check out this post on being vulnerable for more tips, or on what to do if you find it harder to be real with the ones you love rather than strangers!

  • Stay home during sex 

Learning to really be in your body and experience your own raw sexuality IS possible- with practise! Using techniques like mindfulness can help you to stay present when having sex and stop your mind from wandering too far.

  • Learn to express your emotions

Many women experience resentment towards their partners and this plays out in their sexual dynamics. Resentment is usually linked to a feeling of overstepped boundaries, so learning how to express what you want and need (and naming emotions) is a really helpful step towards clearing sex of negative energy.

  • Stop comparing yourself to others 

This one is flipping hard to do alright, but comparison is the thief of joy! Try using tools like mindfulness to stay in the moment and forget everyone else- slay in your own lane! Follow me on Pinterest and create boards that celebrate the variety of women’s bodies not what the media want you to believe is “sexy”.

I’d love to hear from you below- do you give your power away during sex? What do you need to do to hold on to it?