March 8, 2018 will mark the 107th International Women's Day. First celebrated by the Suffragettes of the early 1900s, International Women's Day was launched to bring attention to how important gender equality is not just here in the States, all over the world. Inspired by findings by the World Economic Forum's 2017 Global Gender Gap Report that suggest that we won't reach true gender parity until 200 years down the road (I'm not kidding) and recent #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, this year's campaign theme is #PressforProgress.
But while there's no denying that we still have a lot of work to do in order to reach gender parity, in all realms, there are ways we can strive for equality on the home front — for example, with sexual equality. In a culture that tends to shame women for being sexual beings, truly owning and embracing your sexuality is definitely a feminist act and statement unto itself.
"As an anthropologist, it's incredible to see the momentum that has taken place when it comes to demands for gender parity and the power of the collective female voice in movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp," Sarah Forbes, former curator for the Museum of Sex in New York City and author of Sex in the Museum, tells Bustle. "While International Women's Day has existed for more than a century focusing on women's accomplishment and a need for progress, it is taking on new force today."
In addition to taking action by making a promise to yourself and every other woman in the world that you'll do what it takes to #PressforProgress, consider also taking some extra time this International Women's Day to embrace your sexuality and be proud of it. Here are some ways to do that.
1Buy A New Sex Toy
Of course, sex toys aren't for everyone, but if you've always wanted to try one — or are in need of a new one — it's the perfect time to go shopping and pick out something special for yourself. "Whether you are buying online or going to a store, I think finding a place that makes you feel comfortable is so important," Forbes says. "This way you will feel empowered to ask questions and likely learn things you didn’t even know to ask. Some great retailers like Babeland as specifically geared toward providing a female-friendly environment. And remember there is no right way to experience pleasure, everyone’s body is different. The vibrator your best friend loves might not be the one that works best for you."
2Close The Orgasm Gap
Although when we think of gender inequality, we think of the gender pay gap, as well as other areas where things are far from equal, we tend to forget that there's still a gap in our sex lives too — the orgasm gap.
"In heterosexual partnerships, the fact is that men have more orgasms than women," Tristan Weedmark, We-Vibe's Global Passion Ambassador, tells Bustle. "To be clear, this gap is not women’s fault, nor does the blame land with men. Rather, female sexual anatomy, the clitoris in particular, is not ideally positioned for stimulation during penetrative sex. That, coupled with a communication breakdown when it comes to pleasure, leads to the infamous orgasm gap."
So if you're having sex this International Women's Day, take a page from Nicki Minaj and fight for that climax. After all, fair is fair.
Not only does it feel amazing, have health benefits, and teach you what you like in bed, but masturbation is a wonderful way to embrace your sexuality. Today, make sure you're prioritizing your self-pleasure.
4Embrace Your Body — For You
When you think about it, your body is an amazing machine. Not just in the way it moves, but in how it responds, what it remembers, and what it can experience.
"I believe when a woman celebrates her sexuality it would be about respecting her body and treating it like a temple, she is the Goddess," Dr. Dawn Michael, certified clinical sexologist, sexuality counselor, and author of My Husband Wont Have Sex With Me tells Bustle. "When she decides to share it with someone else or even herself she finds pleasure in what she is doing. She is not embracing it to please someone else or even society, but for herself."
5Understand That Sexuality And Empowerment Can Be Linked
"As a 'curator of sex,' it is impossible for me not to see female empowerment and sexuality as importantly linked," says Forbes. "Yet what this means and what this version of empowerment looks like will likely be different for each of us — having that very power to express our sexuality in our own unique manner on our own terms is something to be celebrated as a marker of progress. It may be Valentine's Day that is marketed to us as a sexy holiday, but I know more than a few women that feel their sexiest when feeling empowered and celebrated."
It's truly empowering to embrace our sexuality. As Forbes points out, that may mean completely different things for different people, so it's our job to find out what that means for us and just go with it. Not just on International Women's Day, but every day.
6Talk About Sex
You don't need to listen to the 1990s classic, "Let's Talk About Sex," by Salt-N-Pepa to realize that talking about sex is really important. It's important to talk about not just with your sexual partners, but with your friends, too. Every time we say the word "sex" we're kicking down one more door that stands in the way of sex being completely and totally free of taboos.
"It is absolutely normal to talk about your sex life with your best friend," Rena McDaniel, M.Ed., clinical sexologist, tells Bustle. "There are still some cultural taboos about being open with friends about your sex life, particularly for women. But talking about sex to your friends is a great way to de-stigmatize a normal and healthy part of life and shift the conversation about sex from dirty to empowering."
7Focus On Being Extra Sex Positive Today
If you already consider yourself to be a sex-positive person, then take International Women's Day as the opportunity to be even more sex-positive — as in extra sex positive. How does one do that? By realizing that there are many facets to sex positivity that extend far behind just the act of sex.
"Sex positivity is about so much more than the act of sex," says Forbes, "and so much about how we see ourselves, our bodies, our worth, our power, and our equality."
No matter how you choose to celebrate International Women's Day, don't forget to celebrate the sexual aspects to it. Women have come a long way in letting the world know we're sexual beings, but that doesn't mean we don't have further to go.