This post is part of The Beauty of a Woman BlogFest VII! To read more entries, and potentially win a fun prize, visit the fest page on August’s McLaughlin’s site between today and 11pm PST March 9th.
Vulnerability has become a positive aspect of my life, but it was not always so. In my teens, my vulnerability was couched in terms of whether people–especially boys–liked me, or whether I would do well enough on the SATs to get into a good college. A new level of vulnerability entered my life at 26, when I was raped on a first date. My physical, emotional, and sexual vulnerability overwhelmed me. I had lived alone for years, careful, but not paranoid about my surroundings. I never dreamed that letting a man into my apartment, ostensibly for a glass of water, would change my feelings of freedom and homecoming to fear, my pride of finally conquering anorexia to self-criticism and doubt. Although I found a rape support group that was helpful, I could not move past the violation. I swore I would never be vulnerable again. I built high, strong walls between myself and the world to keep myself safe and always in control.
But the rub is that I built walls between my mind and my body. Many of the positive emotions of life involve both the mind and the body; more importantly, they require letting go. It is impossible to play in the rain if one is worried about what people are thinking, or to fall in love if one is worried about being hurt. The hardest lesson for me was orgasm, which required a level of vulnerability that I had lost, or to be honest, rejected. To paraphrase an old song, you have to “relax if you wanna come.” I had to work for years to allow my body to overcome my mind, to embrace my vulnerability, and to become comfortable with it.
There is true beauty in orgasm. In my innocent, Catholic high school days, a teacher showed us a picture of the ecstasy of Saint Teresa, a sculpture by Bernini. At lunch that day, my more sexually aware classmates were laughing about the depiction of orgasm as religious ecstasy. I was struck at the time with the statue; now I see a masterful depiction of orgasm. The woman embraces the emotions and physical pleasures of the moment. She is no longer in control of her body. Time stops, awareness fades. That moment of utter vulnerability is beautiful.
20 thoughts on “The Vulnerability of Orgasm #BOAW2018”
Elizabeth, this is beautiful! Thank you for sharing your story.
Thank you, Diana. I’m glad you liked it. ❤
Such a poignant story, Elizabeth, and as always, beautifully written. Vulnerability does open us to the awe in life, moment by moment. I always enjoy your writing.
Thank you, Karen. It was a hard lesson, but an important one.
Gosh, my heart hurt for you. That kind of shattering is so hard to recover from. To re-find that balance when every instinct says to raise those walls higher. I hope you found your way back to the beautiful vulnerability of orgasm with someone who deserving of smashing down those walks. Thank you for your brave share.
Yes, Kitt, I was very lucky to find someone who was very patient with me, and who sees my inner beauty, even though it’s still hard for me to write that “b” word. Thank you for your empathy.
Elizabeth, I’m so sorry you had to endure that trauma. No one should ever have to experience such things. That you’ve tied your healing journey into freedom and sexual pleasure here makes my heart sing! I really believe that therein lies some of the solutions to the sexual violence epidemic: embracing our full selves, learning to truly respect one another (and in doing so, chipping away at toxic masculinity), understanding the gifts that our bodies and capacity for pleasure really are. And there is beautiful healing potential there as well, and reward, as you so gorgeously illustrated here. I can’t thank you enough for this poignant and powerful contribution to the fest!
Thank you for your empathy, August. It is not an experience I would wish on anyone, but it is an integral part of who I am. I like your beliefs about solving the sexual violence epidemic. Here’s to greater understanding and respect, as promoted by GIrl Boner.
This was a really moving post, thank you xxx
Thank you for reading and commenting. It’s hard sometimes to put myself out there, and helpful to know it is appreciated. xxx
Dang, Elizabeth, you’re a survivor. I feel so bad for all you’ve been through, but I admire your strength in so many ways. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Your bio is great!
I appreciate your empathy, Lynn. I have to look at it as part of me now, something that I had to find the strength to face, but then I could face other things with that same strength. I’m glad my story had something to say. As for the bio, I sometimes imagine having a child like me, and just shudder.
Oh my, Elizabeth, so sorry you went through that, but I can see how it played a part in shaping who you are (as trauma all too often does for us women, myself included). So glad you found your strength and eventually reconnected with your vulnerability. Without it, life may be safe, but oh so dull. Hugs to a sister survivor!
(And I second Lynn’s comment; your bio is fantastic.)
I love the image of spirituality, ectasy and vulnerability.. I totally resonate with this. In fact it is my purpose for women to be completely vulnerable and life an erotic, orgasmic spiritual life. So glad you wrote this piece. ❤
Thank you, Gila. There is an interesting intersection in vulnerability and spirituality, as you point out. I’m glad you liked the piece.
Thanks for sharing all this Elizabeth. I’m sorry what you had to go through. I admire your strength, and believe me, I know what vulnerability feels like.
But thank God I know how to defend myself. Sometimes I wish I could convince more women to learn how to do that.
Thank you for being vulnerable here, in your post, and sharing your story.
I hope that one day vulnerability can also be a positive part of my life. (Still working on it) Your post is refreshingly real and honest. The ability to orgasm is truly beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing, Elizabeth.
I want to go back in time and undo that attack, and what it caused. I’m glad you were able to find your way to some measure of healing.
I’m sorry you had this experience. But I am so grateful that you have given yourself permission to reclaim your orgasm. So powerful ❤
I am commenting late… I was also part of the BlogFest. So I’m making my rounds!
I would love to have you as a guest on my podcast if you’re interested. If so, shoot me an email 🙂 stacey(at)staceyherrera(dot)com