A Missing Link in Women's Sexuality

Do you read self-help or self-empowerment books? A lot of women do and there are some great titles and subject matter to choose from in the marketplace. Some of my favorites from the past year are Patricia Davis’ book The Diva Doctrine, wake-up call life coach Amy Ahler’s Big Fat Lies Women Tell Themselves, and Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts by Regina Thomashauer. Not only are these books incredibly useful, but each author is simultaneously entertaining and vulnerable – a necessary and winning mix.
I recently finished reading Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts. It was published in 2002 and was ahead of its time in what she had to share with the readers about how to live a rich and joy-filled life. In her chapter on Sensual Pleasure, she writes “Women are taught to have a lot of shame about their sensuality. Sensuality and pleasure are areas that most women don’t talk about, don’t feel comfortable with.”

As a former Catholic, I was taught that my female body was created for only one purpose – to procreate. I learned about how it worked in fourth grade health class and that was the extent of most of my sexual education. I love reading these types of books and discovering new insights from other women’s experience, because they are so different than my own.  
And yet there is another huge part of almost every woman’s experience that I still don’t read about – how to handle unplanned pregnancy. Statistics estimate that approximately half of all pregnancies today are unintended. In a recent conversation with a friend, I commented about this and she replied, “Christina, I don’t know a woman in my circles who hasn’t had to face this situation.” Wow. That’s a big elephant to have sitting smack dab in the middle of any room!

Have you ever had a “pregnancy scare?” A deeply rooted fear or anxiety that you might be pregnant at a time when you were not at all prepared for that possibility?
After telling my story to a group of women recently, one woman came up to me afterward and shared how sexually active she had been in high school and how she had not used birth control at all. She was blown away by the possibility of how different her life would have been if she had not been so “lucky” and had gotten pregnant during those years. There were tears in her eyes as she began to understand the different path her life could have taken.

I am grateful for the plethora of books out there today that help women know and love themselves better. These books open up topics and share stories that are intimate, vulnerable and tender for many of us. I continue to look for books that include a discussion on unplanned pregnancy, including the possibility of abortion. I am not talking about a pro-life or pro-choice book that supports a political or religious position concerning this issue, but a book that is raw, honest, and clear about the effects of facing this dilemma. If we have shame about our sensuality, imagine the shame around experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, particularly one that results with an abortion. We still have a lot of ground to cover girlfriends, and it’s time to get going!

My current project, my book How My Unborn Children Saved My Life, is an answer that I can offer to bridge this gap in today’s popular self-help literature, which challenges our beliefs around self-love and self-worth. I faced this situation three times in my life, each with different consequences, and all are a significant part of the larger tapestry of my life.
As I write, I will keep reading, trying to find a book that is not afraid to tackle this difficult, but virtually universal conversation as I evolve deeper into my own experience.




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