Disclaimer: Graphic sexual talk about orgasms and self pleasure of which saints may not approve. Reader discretion is advised.
You can be a hoe for many reasons. Using any SnapChat filter. Taking bday photos with cellophane number balloons. Having a differing opinion. Yet, the most egregious hoe tendency is centering your pleasure in any sexual encounter against the status quo of a penis. Because cishet women are solely splayed across a mattress to aid in masturbation. Anything more and she's been around these walls before and she can no longer be trusted. That was my fear growing up in a Baptist church-built family with asinine traditions and concerns with optics over substance.
I can pinpoint the first time I brought myself to near-orgasm, Edging if you will. It was a moment when my now ex-husband was away and I built up the courage to purchase a vibrator. Then, I had no true understanding of what my body did outside of daily and monthly functions. This is what happens when you allow purity culture and abstinence-only teachings to take precedence. What happens when you leave questions to hang in the air like shame-shaped Dollar Tree balloons - deflating and brooding. This is what happens when you tell yourself God will only love you through to sainthood.
Anyway, I laid out a whole scene. My daughter was away at the babysitter’s and he was headed home. I had bought my vibe with the express interest of saving it for both of us. But with my curiosity piqued, I made my way down to a place I’d seldom explored. I started on low because I’d heard the stories. The tales of people cumming too hard and fast and then the night is ruined. So I started slow and for the first time felt what it must be like to breathe through every pore. I stopped myself from going too far (even though my body was begging me to keep going), because surely this is selfish.
Now, fuck that shit.
Another memory: I had my first vaginal orgasm after my marriage ended. I was 22, clumsily initiated back into the world of dating with a two-year-old and the naivete of a baby deer. I had a massive crush on a coworker who wore Evisu jeans and had a curve to his lips. Ours was a situationship that met physical and emotional needs while introducing some firsts. Within our conversations, I disclosed I'd never had an orgasm. He stared at me. I stared back. “But you were married”, he said as if that made a difference. Hell, back then I thought the same. He took a step back. “We need to fix this”, he smiled as he took my hand and led me to bed. That night, he did not stop until I got my first orgasm and a couple more after. When I told him, catching my breath with every word, he let out a loud “yes!” and curled up behind me. Perhaps one of my sweetest sexual memories.
Even still, I was so afraid to touch myself with my own fingers, let alone anyone’s toy again. Why? Because I had no bodily autonomy. My body served the honor of birthing a child and being a resting spot for the broken. Years earlier, I entered into my marriage a virgin chock full of dogma and regret. I was told how it was the "right" way to do so and he should be honored to have a wife who "saved" herself for him. My wedding night was hell. All the romcoms were lies. The part in Love & Basketball when Monica winces once then eases past virginity to cumming is a crock of shit. It felt like knives pushing through my skin. I felt like my body betrayed me, or I my body. After multiple failed attempts, we didn't fully have sex until a month later. I went to the doctor who presented me with the thinnest concern after me breaking down that it hurts to have sex. "You need to make it work or someone else will". That's it. That's what you say to a 19 year old wife whose feet are currently strapped into stirrups wondering what’s wrong with her vagina.
I would come to learn that I was suffering from Vaginismus and I needed - required - physical therapy. Every week after my diagnosis, I would meet with my physical therapist, a 20-something black doctor who smiled at me whenever she entered the room. It was my first-ever sex ed course that didn’t involve a Judy Blume book being thrown in my general direction. She made any buildup of embarrassment leave, coaching me through each exercise. There I learned Kegels. And about dilators. And how to breathe. And that sexual trauma can cause vaginal walls to seize in fear. She empathized with my fears, allowing me to take control of when and how far dilators were inserted. She instructed me by millimeters to breathe as I Inserted. It was painful. I would nearly hyperventilate as the probe measured my grip. I was a vice. Ain’t shit cute about liberating a tight pussy that’s literally trying to protect itself. My vagina was in a semi-permanent fight-or-flight state. My trying to please my then-husband brought first understandings of my body and the harm molestation and sexual abuse had caused. And I still felt like no one was listening, including myself.
As time and partners went on, I found myself in a place where centering their pleasure symbolized wholeness. I would get off on the writhing, groaning, thrusting and proclamations of my name. Discovering what I liked and didn’t became a hassle and I tried my hardest to roll with that level of satisfaction being “enough”. Battling with the thoughts of psycho-sexual martyrdom. Repeating the critiques of “good girl” rhetoric to myself if I ever thought about centering my own pleasure. Then I hit a wall when I allowed myself to see mine were being hit in vain. It was then I realized I had to push my own buttons.
So I started researching. Reading. Watching. Asking questions. And most importantly, decolonizing my beliefs. A wave of unlearning commenced, triggering past and current thought patterns. I started making room for arguments against purity culture. How dangerous it was to form shame around the body that carried me every day. I began to see the people posited in the Bible as people, and shake the table around the thought of a God brimming with disdain because I screamed their name in premarital and/or solo ecstacy. That I could love a three letter word so four-letter-wording much.
The part of me that wants me to believe I’m alone in this thinking, that I’m the only person to ever suffer from miscommunication is currently screaming. Parts of me still are ashamed, confused and embarrassed that I lived so quietly through this.
Will I ever be the type of casual flings? Probably not. In my self learnings, I’ve discovered a name for my inability to illicit one-night stands. I’m demiromantic/demisexual and the closest I will get to casual is having a gentlemen caller to my bed with the intent of cumming to my heart/clit/pussy's content then meeting him at my door, robe on and tea in hand. My Tracee Ellis Ross aesthetic is currently on full display. I ain't got time for bullshit.
I, a former indoctrinated prude, by definition of wayward ash-hats and the ever-changing scope of Twitter politics, would now fall under the jurisdiction of hoe. And by the power invested in me by the charge of my vibrator, I now pronounce me heaux for life.