Testimony N°1 – Germany
« I come from Germany, but I was born in the eastern part (GDR) in 1979. My parents are both protestant theologians, which was not easy in communist country. I grew up in the parsonage of a small village, my father was the pastor of the village and my mum stayed at home with the kids, which made her very unhappy. By the end of the regime, I was ten. »
At a least I know what sexual encounter NOT means: Rape or any other encounter which is not consensual. I had my first one quite early, I was 14 at that time, but precocious, with my first boyfriend. Consensual, yes. Later I tried with women, kissing was great, but yet I am not attracted. What a pity ! I was raped in a very brutal way at 30, but this could luckily not destroy or affect my lust, since I has already developed my sexuality. No education – who has this ?! Well, at school about the medical aspects, but not really about female sexuality. Neither at home.
My opinion is that sex and pleasure are extremely complex. I had so many of them, thank God! And of course, there is always and ongoing exploration, always necessary as well. I am actually discovering a new partner, and it is not easy at all. We both want the other one to focus more on our than on his/her pleasure. But don’t worry, I’ll insist!
My awakening to feminist consciousness has boosted my pleasure from 3 to 10!
Yes, it is hard to ask your partner to give you pleasure, because there is so much taboo on these questions. What me helped to dare to ask? My feminism 😀 »
Testimony N°2 – France
» I am a 25 year-old French student who was raised in a partial/non-existent religious education. In my family both my father and my mother shared the division of household labor equally. My mother earns more money than my father, and has for a long time. I grew up in Province in a middle-class family. I am heterosexual.
» I do not know if I would call myself a feminist, but I believe firmly that we are all equal and I refuse that the standards of « the strong man » dictate my sexuality, or my life in general. I do not see why a woman cannot do the same things as a man, whether it is in her personal or professional life. I do not know if that feeling changed my sexuality, but as I grew up, I realized that certain situations shocked me. I think that my expectations changed as a whole.
When I was younger, even though people in my direct influence placed no importance or sanctity to princess stories, these stories still formed some of my expectations. I thought I would find THE right person with whom it would « be wonderful” with. But reality is quite different, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
I was lucky to have “unselfish partners” but I did not dare say what I wanted. Not because I thought that we were not equal, but rather because female pleasure is sometimes taboo and I did not know how to express my pleasure and I did not know what I wanted. I would like mindsets to change about female pleasure, for them to become something less taboo, and for male pleasure to not be associated with masochism and being the « stronger sex ». I would like my children to feel free to experiment.
<<One day my mother and I were talking about this subject, she told me how important it is to know yourself. That knowing yourself is a part of the pleasure you get from various people. I think she is right>>.
« I am 33. University background. Grew up in a small city in Cameroon, then studied abroad. I am the last of seven kids. Lost dad when I was three. I used to be Christian but I am no more. I left the church because I think it doesn’t help people living their truth. I am a spiritual being. Very athletic with an artistic vision of life. I define myself as non-exclusive heterosexual».
I am emotionally and sexually attracted to women but there is a room for trans and men as long as our souls’ match. I am actually in a relationship with a beautiful woman. We live in Cameroon. I am against toxic monogamy. World is full of beautiful human being and people. We only live once. Why not explore other things while being a couple. This is a hard conversation to have with my peers.
I remember that I used to masturbate when I was a kid. I didn’t even know what it was until my mum yelled at me because I slept with something between my legs.
It was my blanky or a t-shirt. I really liked it. That was, I think; my first encounter with my own sexuality. I had an other experience with a man when I was 18. It wasn’t good at all. But in my mind, it was the way to go. After that I met several men. It wasn’t that bad. Sometimes really good even.
But when I first had sex with a woman I almost cried.
» Women have so many barriers that they impose on themselves. I wish they can be more free with their sexuality. »
I have not received an education about sex except that I should wait until marriage before thinking about it. I learned through friends, books and TV but all of that did not really help me when it was time to experience sex. I learned by doing.
Testimony N°4 – France
My cousin showed me pornographic pictures when I was 9 or 10 years old. It shocked me at the time, and gave me a dirty and dominant idea of the sexual act. I did not really receive any sex education, as it was a taboo topic at home.
At the beginning of my sexual relations, it was mechanical. I did not really feel pleasure.
It is not really feminism that changed my sexuality, it is my path as a woman and my awareness to respect my body. I question: why should I take responsibility for contraception and not my partner?
My current partner just had a vasectomy after we discussed it, and I assisted him in the process.
I was mostly sexually submissive until the age of 40. One day I awakened, and now I do not endure my sexuality but enjoy it! Since this liberation, I have felt much more pleasure…
I wish every woman could respect herself and feel respected, that women stopped taking systematic responsibility for contraception at the risk of their health! There are other options and men can have a vasectomy once they have had their children!
In our country, sexuality projects the woman as a sexual object. I want that image to change, for my children to express their sexuality freely, to respect everyone, and for my son to take responsibility for contraception. »
Testimonies collected by the team of eLLes – anonymous – 18 July 2018 – FRANCE.