By Natasha Bishop. Founder Of The Pants Project.
Sex is a multiplicity. It’s a magic, a connection, a consummation, a love making, a pro-creation… but it’s also a drunken mistake, a miscommunication, an act of violence, a lack of pro-creation. Is it of the mind or of the body? Is it a body, or two bodies? Is it a state of mind or a physical manifestation? Natural or abnormal? Created or occurring? Dirty or beautiful?
Or, perhaps, sex is not an “Or”, perhaps it is an “And”. A confusingly infinite black-hole of potentiality. Perhaps “sexual intercouse”, that jarringly scientific term, is a simplistic concept, whilst “sex” exists on the fringes of the indefinable. To me, only one thing is for sure: If sex is a religion and we, the lovers, are a God, then we exist as some kind of “holy trinity”: our minds and bodies are mutually exclusive and exist inseparably. Whilst bodies are our houses, it is our soul that is our home; our body is our vehicle, but our mind is in the driver’s seat.
At some point in every girl’s life, she realises “pretty.” Life halts in its tracks; from this point on, she can never be sexless. She starts learning the game: that her body is a resumé (or a barrier). This change leads to a childhood vanished; a motherhood not lived, but spent pursuing a pre-pregnancy physical state; an identity stifled for the sake of the male gaze, which was never asked for. Having been diagnosed with a syndrome that had secretly stripped me of my “womanhood” since birth, my body then figured 16 years old was the appropriate age to let me know, amid the virginity slaying massacre of my friendship circle. I never fitted into this state of in-between, of free sexuality (or not so free if you consider the above statement). I was never accredited the luxury, or perhaps misdemeanour, of a freely sexual adventure. I was sexless and I would never reach motherhood; there wasn’t a pre-pregnancy stage, and for a while there wasn’t even a sex stage. There was just a mind, a body with a hole in it, and no sign of a bridge, or some kind of womanly manifestation. How can I be a woman if I can’t be what a man wants? How can I be a woman if I cannot complete the required stages to becoming a woman? There is ‘girlhood’ : a category I can no longer fit into having given up my innocence, ‘womanhood’: a club I can never be a part of because I am sex-less, and ‘motherhood’: because my subscription to femininity doesn’t come with that privilege.
So what is the point in my body? I have always known I am female, because science told me so. But society was telling me otherwise: I cant have sex with it, I can’t create anything from it, it has curves and lines and lumps that resemble the female form, but am I a woman? Thoughts after thoughts after thoughts later: Yes. I am. I am a woman because I said so. And in saying so, in really believing so, in the most honest and un-perverse way possible, I had sex with myself. My mind made love to my body. And slowly, day by day, I came to realise that women are not the objects of men – they are not the objects of anyone or thing. My body does not define me, just as my mind does not either. It is an amalgamation of fragments that exist within oneself, that only we define, that create a selfhood to which we choose to adhere. As a woman, I do not exist for the pleasure of men or even women, I exist for myself. Women can be women in a way that’s not society’s definition of “woman.” Gender, sex, identity, bodies, minds… these things are not singularities, they are multiplicities and their beauty lies within their complications and lack of boundaries. It’s not just about feeling sexy or physically beautiful—it’s about feeling like so much more than that.
This writing itself, existing on this page, is a body: a temporary, hybrid thing because it is viewed entirely differently by everyone who might read it, but most importantly, it is documented and controlled solely by me.
This is not a guide, nor is it an anti-guide: whatever it is, this documentation of contemplation, it hinges on the fact that you don’t need to be pretty on the inside or the outside, and that goes for both women and men. You don’t need to love yourself to be a loving person. You don’t have to accept that ‘sexiness is a state of mind’, you don’t need to feel beautiful, ever, but you will sometimes. You don’t have to be or do or feel anything. Your body is a powerful weapon and a lot of people are trying to disarm you of it a lot of the time. Don’t let them. Be angry, be determined, be sexy and sexless, be as “ugly” as you like, and most importantly, do as and be as you choose. Your body is your tool, and sex, if you choose it to be, is your work of art: paint what you will and carve what you won’t, but do it because you are the truest version of yourself. Take control.