I am a proud member of what I like to call "the Sexual Sisterhood." We are women who unapologetically own our sexuality. We are women who courageously rebuff the powerful cultural message of our society, the society that tells us to repress our sexuality. We are outspoken about the slut shaming our society engages in and we support other women to do the same.

I LOVE sex! I love having it. I love talking about it. I love watching porn (good porn), and I love looking at erotic photos and reading erotic stories. I love to hear what turns other people on and I love to keep trying new things to discover what my lover and I like.

I haven’t always been this open about sex though. In fact, for most of my adult life it was quite difficult for me to communicate what I wanted and needed from any partner.
For many years my thinking and behavior was heavily influenced by the shame-based messages revolving around sex and how women should behave.

I had limited knowledge of what I liked. And what I did know that I liked, and that I wanted and needed, I was uncomfortable asking for. Even when I felt unsatisfied and wanted more, I felt selfish asking for it. Because it usually took a good deal of time to bring me to orgasm.

That explains why the first five years I had sex, I never once orgasmed.

I didn’t get what the big deal was. The main reason I engaged in having sex at all was because I wanted so desperately to be desired and to be loved. I figured if men wanted to have sex with me that I would find love there somewhere.

At the age of 22 I had my first orgasm with a new boyfriend who was an expert at licking pussy. Many men had never even offered to give me head and to my surprise and delight, this guy loved it.

When I look back now, I'm amazed at how much bullshit I put up with from men - extreme selfishness, just in and out, not bothering to ask me what I liked or even if I got off at all, men wanting me to give them a blow job after they have told me that they don’t lick pussy.

Did I speak up about this behavior? No, I just silently tolerated their selfishness, their thoughtlessness and their lack of reciprocity and moved on to the next guy, who often behaved the exact same way.

I had never really owned my sexuality and because of this I wasn't able to be sexually confident. That, combined with low self esteem and a lack of self respect, meant that I was a virtual magnet for crappy lovers and losers.

Fast forward to meeting the love of my life. Rich, my husband of 25 years, who is not only the best friend I have ever had, he is truly the best lover I’ve ever had. By far. He was a breath of fresh air after all of the shitty lovers I’d had. He is very loving, giving, skillful and he is eager to please. He adores me and he loves making me feel great. But mind reading? That is not in his skill set. And I was still unable to tell him what I wanted. Rich has always cared about my sexual fulfillment, but after trying, for years, to get me to loosen up, to talk about what I liked and what I wanted, he, like anyone would, became complacent. And so we filed our sex away under the category of decent sex.

The great sex category, for me, stayed empty ...

Many years passed and as they did my interest in sex diminished somewhat, because I wasn't being fulfilled. I very much wanted to have sex with Rich, but I felt that something was missing. I asked him if he could be more passionate in his kissing and in his love making. His response was that it’s tough to be passionate all the time with someone you’ve been together with for so many years. I felt deflated.

I know now that I could have been more direct. Instead of asking Rich to be more passionate, what I should have asked for was exactly what I wanted: for him to be aggressive, forceful and dominant. After all, it’s my responsibility to determine what I need to achieve sexual pleasure and convey that to my partner. (Sound like something you'd be into? Read A Beginner's Guide to Submission.)

I realize now that I could have asked him to tell me what he wanted too. I wanted to please him, but I had a hard time approaching the subject. He never asked for anything different, so I assumed he was fine.

Then it happened: About two years ago, a couple of friends had been reading "Fifty Shades Of Grey" and were all going on about it. I know, I know, there has been a whole lot said about this being a poorly written book. But the way I look at it is that anything that opens the door to a subject that isn’t widely discussed is, I believe, a great thing. And let me tell you, this book blew the door wide open for me.

Rich bought me the trilogy as a birthday gift. Little did he know how this would change our life forever.

Did I mention that when I have a new interest I literally dive into it? Well, dive in I did - and dragged him along for the ride!

I had never read anything like "Fifty Shades." Because of my lack of knowledge, I had always assumed any kink or fetish was scary and weird and maybe degrading and abusive. I never let myself explore it because of the taboo and stigma attached to it.

"Fifty Shades" was the marker of my baby steps into BDSM. In the story, Anastasia, the lead character, is deeply conflicted by the sexcapades that she and Christian Grey have engaged in. Because she is extremely turned on by them, she believes that something is wrong with her. After all, she is a "good girl" and shouldn't enjoy such things. Christian asks her,
"Do you feel bad because you feel bad, or do you feel bad because you think you should feel bad."

That was like a lightning bolt of revelation for me! Although I wasn't conflicted about being turned on by this stuff, I was very surprised that I was. I think Rich was even more surprised than I was. Lucky for me, he was all-in and game for anything I wanted to try.

Since expressing what I liked and wanted to try had always been so difficult for me, I got creative: I started reading aloud to Rich some of the sex scenes that turned me on from the erotic books I was reading. I would tell him specifically what I liked and we would then reenact the scenes together the next time we had sex.

It. Was. AMAZING!

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We tried everything: bondage, blindfolds, crops, sex toys, spanking, biting, flogging and, yes, even a bit of anal play. Rich got to go where no man had ever gone before.

I loved the reenactments! And so did Rich! And the biggest surprise for both of us was that I loved being submissive during sex. I am not submissive in any other area of my life. It totally turned me on to just let go of control and be completely dominated. It helped me get out of my head and much more into every sensation of the sexual act. My husband and I joke that he only gets to tell me what to do when I am naked. (Occasionally I catch him mumbling about wishing I were naked more often.)

Finally, for the first time in my life, I am totally comfortable with telling my partner what I want. I can tell him what new things I’d like to try, I can tell him what feels good and what could feel even better, and I feel comfortable asking him what he wants and likes.
All of this exploration that we have done together has brought an even deeper bond to our relationship. The communication, the honesty, the vulnerability, the trust and the support we have shown each other has made us stronger as a couple and more in love than ever! We are now in our third decade of a truly jubilant marriage!

And now? We can categorize our sex as great, instead of decent. The whole experience has also been incredibly empowering for me. I have finally owned my sexuality by taking responsibility for my pleasure instead of leaving it completely in the hands of someone else. And it is because of this that I count myself a full fledged member of the Sexual Sisterhood.

I was recently asked what advice I would I give my younger self about sex. This was my answer:

Don’t let others define what is right or wrong for you, judge for yourself and don’t let anyone shame you. Give your sexuality the attention it deserves; be open in exploring everything you are interested in, know you deserve to be on the receiving end of pleasure, and don’t be shy about letting your partner know what you like and what you would like to try. Above all, enjoy, be safe and have fun!