and the Oscar goes to...: why Sistas need to stop faking orgasms

© Rawpixel.com/Adobe Stock

© Rawpixel.com/Adobe Stock

you know how it goes. Brothaman swerves to the left and you wished he stayed right. or jerks to the right and your g-spot is just left of center.

he’s jackhammering you like a porn star, when you’d prefer a slow, melodic rhythm. you’re lying underneath him, writhing in pain and he thinks you’re quaking with pleasure. you want this over with—STAT.

so, instead of directing him (“more to the left,” “slower,” “not so hard”) you put on your Viola Davis cap and get ready to “come.”

except you ain’t going nowhere.

your moans come on stronger. your breaths come on quicker. your screams begin to escalate. you are in the throes of passionless sex and this is the only way you think you can get out of it without hurting his ego.

because men are obsessed with performing well during (what i like to call) “sexy time.”

you scream and holler like the scene from “When Harry Met Sally” and, finally, once he’sclimaxed, he rolls over, satisfied, with his stellar performance—which for you was, at best, lackluster and, at worst, a waste of time. 

 I could’ve been catching up on “This is Us.”

now, whenever this Brotha thinks of you, he’s going to recall how he made you “come” while you recoil at the fact that there’s no motion in his ocean.

while it is your fault, Sis, i don’t blame you.

Black Christian women have been conditioned to believe that we are inherently evil and our sexuality is something to be contained. we are lied to about our sensuality from pulpits. the Bible is misinterpreted and used as a weapon against us instead of the liberating tool that (in spite of its being written by men, for men, with a particular agenda, at a particular time) it is.

we also live in a hyper-repressed/hyper sexualized society that condemns or reveres women’s bodies and sensuality when it’s convenient for the system. you can’t hear every single Sunday: 

“if you have sex before marriage you’re going to hell.”

“good girls don’t give head.”

“keep your legs closed.”

and expect to develop a holistic, morally sound, judgment free theology around your sexuality. it doesn’t work that way.

so if we have so much shame about our bodies, we are often ill-equipped to talk ABOUT our bodies. this goes for minimizing your symptoms because you’re intimidated in the doctor’s office or avoiding seeking care for a vaginal itch or burn because you don’t want to admit to yourself that you may have contracted a sexually transmitted disease.

your body is indeed the temple of the holy ghost. with all of its curves and stretch marks, with all of its abuse and misuse—you are holy.

 and it’s time for you to be whole, Sis.

God does not call us to sever our sexuality from our faith. God created us with sensual urges and desires. women have needs! just ask the clitoris. *eyes emoji*

I know God created pleasure because God created the clitoris. the clitoris has ONE job. one, singular, solitary job. ONE singular sensation. 

and it’s critical to acknowledge that in cultures where female genital mutilation is still happening, it is because patriarchal societies do not know how to honor (nor handle) the divine sacred feminine. there is no reason why young girls’ clitorises should be sliced off or labia (majora) sewn together. there is no reason why Black women’s bodies are not staunchly and fiercely protected.

criminally, society doesn’t give a shit about Black girls or women. and that notion is especially painful is when misogynoir rears its ugly head in Black religious spaces.

the Black Church WOULD NOT EXIST without Black women. our hands clean it, our recipes feed it, our tithes fund it. so this means that your church should be a site of wholeness and restoration, not stigma and shame.

because if we don’t talk about sex, we can never talk about having good sex. And if we’re not talking about good sex, we are certainly not talking about bad sex nor **trigger warning--sexual assualt** nonconsensual sex otherwise known as rape. if you feel shame after a sexual encounter, how will you ever be able to discuss it freely and openly? if you don’t even know what you like how can you tell your partner what you like?

sexuality is a gift. and healthy, consensual sex (between you and your partner/partners) is good. but just because sex is good, don’t mean sex is GOOD. it means, if he’s worth it, you’ll teach him what you like.

since, newsflash!every woman is different. so you and your girls can run down the list of what y’all like, but you won’t know until you try. and you can’t try until you and your partner are on the same page.

because he’s going to keep doing what he’s been doing and you’re going to keep faking. and life is too stressful as a Black woman in a racist, sexist, xenophobic, patriarchal, misogynistic, misogynoirist, capitalist, corrupt world for you to not be coming. 

so the next time there’s a desire to put on an Oscar-worthy performance, resist the urge to serve his ego. try whispering “slower” when he’s gunning too fast; or “a little to the left” when he’s a bit off. or“stay right there” when he’s right on the money. any man worth your yoni will be grateful for the direction because his sole desire is to please you. if he doesn’t heed, he doesn’t deserve your goodies, anyway. you are a gift meant to be treasured and a treasure worth exploring...act like you know.

Orgasms are life force. they relieve stress and release endorphins (the feel good chemical). orgasms channel creativity and inspiration. orgasms are good. you deserve orgasms. orgasms are your birthright. 

if you’re more comfortable broaching the topic with your partner outside of sexy time, you might wait until breakfast the next morning or during a commercial break while you’re watching the game and try something like, “hey, boo. i really like it when you ___________.” 

also, “can we try ___________ next time? 

his only response should be, “yes and amen.” (or, at the very least, “heard.”)

life is too short to have sucky sex. let’s shed the shame of antiquated ideology, step into our sacred feminine power as daughters of the Divine, take ownership

of our sensuality, and express our sexuality as we see fit. 

and for Sistas who experience sexual encounters with men, recondition yourself to stop faking orgasms and start making magic. because if his ego is bigger than his dick, he’s a bigger dick anyway.

throw him back, Sis...there’s plenty of peen in the sea.

Pastor Lyvonne Proverbs, a New York City native, is a body and sex-positive preacher, transformational speaker, poet, educator, and creative social entrepreneur working to end #ChurchToo. An Emmy-award-winning media producer, Pastor Lyvonne is the founder of beautiful scars (@WereSurthrivors), an online storytelling agency focused on trauma, healing, and resiliency. She is committed to eradicating childhood sexual abuse in and beyond Black religious spaces. Pastor Lyvonne has been featured in ESSENCE and Cosmopolitan and Sojourners named her one of “11 Women Shaping the Church.” She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and currently based in Atlanta, GA.

If We Cancel R. Kelly, We Need to Cancel Biggie, Too

Photo Source: BET.com

Photo Source: BET.com

In 1996, I started seeing the ubiquitous, now infamous Hard Core poster all over New York City.  Lil’ Kim: squatting, knees spread-eagled, legs open wide. Her animal print bra and (presumably) thong, wrapped around her vagina like a holiday gift, as she thrust her pelvis forward--it conveyed body confidence and sexual prowess.

In this brazen act of displaying her sensuality, Lil’ Kim received backlash and was labeled all kinds of “ho’s” (as a patriarchal, misogynist society is wont to do). But as a first year student in high school who, thanks to being the daughter of West Indian immigrants, was new to the hip hop game, I relished in it. I loved seeing a female rapper who was “hard” getting acclaim. I was 14-years-old.

Little did I know, the girl in the picture was only 3 years older than me.

In a fairly recent interview on Hot 97 (97.1fm in NYC), Kimberly Denise Jones reveals that she was just 17-years-old when she posed for that provocative photo. This poster, that was hanging everywhere from prison cells to bedroom walls, featured an underage GIRL.

Kim had a violent relationship with her father and, when he kicked her out of his house, she was the same age that I was when i first encountered her: 14. Kim had to start fending for herself and sold drugs and sex (with grown men) before she met the Notorious B.I.G. (better known as “Biggie”).

She was still an underage teenager.

In a 2016 XXL article, Kim said she was “only 16, 17-years-old” when she was recording Hard Core. She said, “I was just a little kid trying to enjoy my teenage life...they kind of marketed me as an older girl, even though I wasn’t.” Moreover, it was common knowledge that Biggie and Kim were engaged in an ongoing sexual relationship. Once we start doing the math, the uncomfortable truth starts to set in--did Biggie engage in sexual activity with an underage Kim?

This girl could have been me or any one of my middle or high school friends. We used to think it was cute to “talk to” (meaning get the romantic attention of) older guys. “He thinks I’m 19,” you would hear 14-year-olds say. But even as we gave into the glamorous appeal of being perceived as older women, our weekday schedules and backpacks alluded to the fact that we were children. The notion that we were even able to consider ourselves older speaks to an “underage woman” culture.

There is no such thing as an “underage woman.” There are only underage girls. Society doesn’t see Black girls as innocent or worthy of protection, so that’s why if you say “women” you twistedly make young girls responsible for their own harm and abuse. Biggie could have waited for Kim to turn 18 before he yoked her with promiscuity. Or, he could have chosen to lace her in the Afrocentric consciousness like Queen Latifah. But, he didn’t. Because, in this hypersexual/hyper-repressive culture, sex sells.

This exploitation makes Biggie no better than Robert (R.) Kelly. And, in the aftermath of the release of the documentary that proffers a comprehensive exposé of Robert’s calculated abuse of Black girls and women, many of us are still ruminating and saying, “but we knew this the whole time.”

The systems and silence surrounding Robert’s abuse of underage Black girls and Black women were known facts. Whenever I talk to Black women who grew up in Chicago, they all say the same things:

“Everybody knew to stay away from him.”

“We knew to stay away from Olympia Fields.”

”We knew he was a predator.”

If everyone knew, how could this evil keep happening? Mikki Kendall, a survivor of Robert’s abuse stated, “We all noticed. No one cared because we were Black girls.”

In Robert’s case, we knew. He told on himself and we still allowed it to happen for generations. In Biggie’s case, we didn’t know, but it’s the same principle. Now that we know, our actions must be in alignment with our knowledge or we, too, are complicit in the ongoing sexual abuse of Black girls and women.

And, if we’re honest with ourselves, we have known in our own communities, too. In our churches we hear things like:

“Everybody knows to stay away from Pastor John.”

“We know to stay away from that deacon.”

“We know he is a predator.”

And, yet, because it is grotesque--it is freakish to see and comprehend the act of a grown man sexualizing a little girl, we look away. It’s like when we’re driving on a highway and traffic starts to bottleneck. We wonder what’s causing the delay and notice a car accident; then, while driving, we crane our necks to see what happened. The people who are looking are curious about the occurrence, but they don't necessarily want to see a decapitated body. They want to know, cerebrally, but, they don’t want to be confronted, conceptually, with the disfigured truth.

It is painfully gut-wrenching to bear witness to the grotesque truth of childhood sexual abuse. We do not want to affirm it and, for victims/survivors, we don’t want to remember it. But if it’s burdensome for you, the viewer, how do you think survivors feel? Each and every act of childhood sexual abuse is evil, demonic, sordid, and must be condemned. But how do you denounce something you won’t even face?

What if remembering is the way forward? What if the very thing we are trying to ignore is what we need to recall? What if we need to let the painful memories bubble up and over instead of repressing them with religion? What if we need to embrace the nightmares instead of suffocating ourselves with negative self-talk?

What if remembering is how we re-member victims of childhood sexual abuse? Our bodies have been through too much for social constructs and respectability politics to try to erase us and our stories. We are here. We need more. And we deserve better.

Lyvonne “Proverbs” Picou is a preacher, transformational speaker, poet, educator, and creative social entrepreneur. She is the founder of beautiful scars(@WereSurthrivors), an online platform for Black women who are also survivors of childhood sexual abuse and/or male sexual violence. By harnessing the power of narrative, she is aiding survivors (and communities, at large) to shift from silence to storytelling in order to eradicate gender-based violence. She can be found on Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as Twitter and Instagram (@LyvonneP).