How Did You Realize and Embrace your Sexuality?

The journey to discover one’s essence, the flavor of rapture and ecstasy, the taste of longing and belonging, the play of tension and release, the relationship between giving and receiving, the test of emotional and energetic range, the intangible level of trust exchanged, the orgasmic potential and intimacy, staying with your power and vitality, the elation of fully receiving and being met completely, the relaxation of the body, mind, sex, psyche.

All this to say, the journey into embracing your sexuality is ever-evolving, never static, and full of its own unique twists and turns, peaks and valleys, hard-won lessons, and sobering truths. The search to embrace your sexuality can be paralleled with the search for your self, your voice, your power, your expression, your joy, your ability to receive, your right to love and be loved. It can even lead you to find higher consciousness, deeper embodiment, more confidence, clarity, play, creativity, connection, peace of mind, and nourishment. 

Pleasure is your birthright. We don’t get this message received enough in our culture. I say all of this now and can also share it doesn’t come without years of struggle with shame, anxiety, frustration, angst, toxic relationships, healing, opening to love, and establishing inner self-worth over and over again.

I’ll share a bit of my experiences and hope you, reader, can make your own reflections on what it takes for you to discover and embrace your own authentic sexual expression… 

I grew up in New Jersey. Middle child. My mother practically raised us alone while my father was in China, making money to send home to our family. I never saw them kiss or hold hands. There was no sex talk growing up. We even leave the movie in anticipation before the sex scene to avoid the awkwardness in the room. Any mention of my body is related to how often I carry myself like a boy or how I’m getting fatter. The only mention of my genitals is how “it’s dirty down there. Make sure to wash your underwear”. 

I wonder how I managed to only learn about masturbation by the 8th grade. All two attempts that year ended in impatience, boredom, and frustration with a body response that perhaps I was doing something wrong and shameful. Is this the sex-negative culture Americans are ingrained with coupled with my Asian conditioning? You know, I have these faint memories that perhaps I used to touch myself as a kid and was caught and reprimanded for it. Either way, I didn’t see what the point was, really. The thought of orgasm gave me uncomfortable feelings in my belly. I thought it was elusive and meant only for white slutty girls, in all honesty. 

My memories of my sexual activities as a teenager are faint. I grew up like a tomboy, getting a secret kick in emasculating boys during gym class. I only started making out with boys my junior year for the thrill and chase of it, but for the most part, I stayed pretty self-absorbed with myself and my freedom from emotional attachment. Perhaps it was seeing my mother depressed, hurt, and saddened by my father cheating on her throughout her marriage while living in China. Or maybe it was just honestly sensing the entitlement and toxic masculinity of boys and the image of ugly cock and semen that could potentially impregnate me that put me off. 

You know, looking back, I really could have questioned how hella gay I was A LOT earlier. But how could I? In a class of 300 students in my high school in the suburbs of cishet WASPY New Jersey, no one came out as lesbian. What would my family think of me? It was easier to deprive and deny and to stay deeply closeted than let myself feel and pursue a thought any deeper than “she’s pretty..”

I lost my virginity or rather gave it away, at age 24. After years of teasing, playing an unhealthy love avoidant/ghosting game on any guy I unconsciously emotionally hooked for attention, I decided it was time to figure out this sex thing. We met on OkCupid. He was a white gamer geek. Tall, lanky, quite feminine looking. We high fived after and did a little dance to Akon’s “I Just Had Sex” mix. I felt nothing. Relief that all was hyped up about was done and over with. But a lingering question in my mind, where was the pleasure? What’s this Orgasm thing that makes all these white girls rant and rave. Why can’t I feel it? What’s wrong with me?

You could say I became more curious and exploratory thereafter. It was easy to find willing men. I had a knack for picking emotionally unavailable German, Australian Couchsurfers who I knew were going to leave after a week. No drama. That was my preference. Looking back, I never put myself in a position where I could be abandoned and let down. 

Perhaps I was being exoticized, eroticized, fetishized, positioned as someone that needed saving. Perhaps, I was also using them too to carry the weight and responsibility of my own relationship to pleasure with an implicit “can you get me to feel..anything”. The chase and the thrill of attraction was the adventure, and the actual physical act itself was motions, performative, and empty. My body was getting used to dissociating, my pussy felt more and more like a black vacuous numb hole, my heart still armored, and my mind was somewhere else. Again, what is wrong with me? 

I think about the Asian woman stereotype of quiet, submissive, giving, reticent, accommodating, enduring. Always giving, and whatever they receive, they give back right away in double. I attribute a lot of why I didn’t feel like I could actually own my bodily pleasure to the fact that I didn’t want to admit how much of an unapologetic slut I truly was. It’s like eating chocolate cake, feeling guilty all the way, not being able to fully indulge and savor the creamy texture richness of each and every bite—empty calories with each and every penetrative thrust.

This gets better. I finally came out of the closet at age 26 to my family. It was insane how much I truly wanted to believe I could be won over by a man and how resistant I was to letting them fully in. I tried, believe me! I was living in Taiwan at the time, and my grandmother was always pressuring me to find a rich Taiwanese man to make babies with. But I couldn’t hide it anymore, even to myself. Not after a half-drunken six AM kiss in Taipei streets where I could viscerally feel the butterflies in my stomach and the arousal pouring through my body as I was the one who made the first vulnerable move, “Can I kiss you?”. My body knew what it wanted, it knew longing intimately, and at that very moment, I gave it to myself and knew from then, I was following my truth.

Yup, soon after that, my sexual appetite and late bloomer teenage raged hormones blew up. Through my first real relationship, in which I slowly learned about emotional intimacy, how to love someone, I also learned about the female orgasm and its infinite potential for ecstasy and wonder: the tender and primal edges where I felt more embodied and open enough to explore.

And yet, there was still a blockage within myself. For whatever reason, I still couldn’t get myself out of my head and into the area of vulnerable openness and receptivity. Was I truly broken or traumatized from too much penetrative dissociative sex? Was I gripping too much to an outcome, to this high pedestal that perhaps will always be out of reach, and just didn’t know how to truly let myself be in the moment? Was I too scared to claim space and ask for what I wanted and how I wanted it? 

At age 27, I was beginning to settle with the idea that I perhaps am 1 out of 8 women who would never experience an orgasm and was okay with it. My partners felt frustrated along with me. I associated my anorgasmia with my inability to surrender, to release, to let go, to love completely, to truly trust, to be my full self with another. 

I don’t know why it mattered so much to me, but sex, love, and intimacy had always been the biggest taboo and cause of shame in my life. I made my life all about relationships and following joy. I felt like the biggest imposter, not being able to have mastery in my sex. 

This inner insecurity fueled my decision to leave Asia and come to San Francisco and pursue my seeker path in San Francisco, the land of freedom, and queer potentiality! A message from a previous lover 3 years ago had flashed in my head, to look up a practice called Orgasmic Meditation. Back then, I looked into it and within 5 seconds xed out the screen. I wasn’t ready. And as fate would have it, there was an open class that weekend. 

For the next 3 years, I would be an avid practitioner of a 15-minute clitoral stroking practice, where my body’s sensations would open up to the speed, location, pressure of someone’s attention placed through the stroke of their fingertip on 8,000 nerve endings at the tip of my clitoris. Guided by any verbal adjustments I had with a “thank you” received, both of us had no goal but to stay present and in the moment. 

I know it’s pretty wild. Lay on a mat. Get rid of performance, pleasing, overgiving based mentality. Pay attention to your body’s value-neutral sensations. Get up and go on with your day. Buzzing and inspired to follow the wisdom of your bliss as your pussy becomes the internal GPS compass to dictate where your real turn on is. If she is lighting up, follow that voice. She knows you more than you know yourself. 

Suffice to say, I discovered compassion, empathy, limbic connection, energetic attunement, my huge capacity for pleasure, and my internal sense of safety. I felt more understanding of how to read energy in the room and also within my own nervous system. 

From OM, I went into tantra and sexual healing trainings and retreats. Traveling to Bali, I went through deep sacred rituals in clearing the imprints of past lovers before me. In Amsterdam, I received a tantric yoni massage that was so deeply healing I had felt my ancestors in the room as I sobbed and felt her sob with me, accessing breathing with pleasure and squirting with release. In Spain, I danced erotically and sensually, witnessed by a group field while truly dancing for myself, embodying each step and movement, while embracing wholeheartedly my own body and sovereignty.

Ultimately, one of the biggest challenges I had in finally embracing my self, my wholeness, my queerness, my sexual expression comes from the work I’ve done around opening my heart. My inability to let love in and to believe I truly deserved love, my dissociation from my heart to my womb, my resistance to being in committed relationships that will have me look at my painful childhood wounds—all of that was and is continuously being practiced within my current monogamous relationship. 

Being able to heal from my old wounds and instead of dissipating the energy and deflecting attention, to receive someone’s love, their eyes, their affirmation, their trust. And to know that I am deserving of this too. 

Yes, my friends, the cliched response “To heal, you need to feel” is true. Letting myself be seen, in my flaws and imperfections, my mess and my process, and leaning into sharing my truth, my desires, my vulnerable expression, has been paramount in opening me up in my sex.

I thank my ancestors for giving me this body. This vessel that feels so much, in all of the pain and all of the pleasure. I pay respect to my unique path and the privileges I have that opened me up to so many juicy life experiences and transmissions that I’m thrilled to teach. I deepen in gratitude for my partner, my mirror, my beloved that knows me and my heart and is equally committed to pursuing this path of devotion, full of its own heartaches and belly-aches full of orgasmic laughter, joy, and love.

Thank you for reading!

Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.

Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.

We have grown since then, putting out bimonthly issues (we are contributor powered: apply to write for our next one!), and weekly reviews of culture, and news that is important to us.

You can find announcements, more news, and get to know our staff on social media: give us a follow, and learn how you can get involved today!

We do not claim to speak for all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. We are just here to give them a place to speak for themselves.

We hope you’ll join us.

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