Joy through sexual pleasure was the topic of Sunday’s panel discussion, “Improving Your Sex Life,” inside the ESSENCE Wellness Home at the Ogden Museum.
“We are naturally sexual beings with our sexual peak occurring during our 40s, 50s, and 60s,” said Anita Kopacz, spiritual psychologist and author. She reminded women that “we are connected to the divine and our intuition is God.”
Marriage and family therapist Shaheen Francis’ goal was to give black women the confidence to talk openly about sex. She said the comfort we feel when talking over dinner with a friend should be the same kind of ease with which we confront the subject of sexual pleasure.
“We’re not afraid to talk about our food preferences when deciding what to order at a restaurant or when deciding what time to meet,” she said. Francis encouraged everyone in Joy Sanctuary to embrace the same confidence when communicating about sex, adding, “change the way you present yourself to those talks.”
Participant Marion Tillman from New York left the discussion with the intention of speaking openly about sexual pleasure, saying, “I come from a family where the sexual talk was just ‘don’t do that,'” he said. she called back to ESSENCE. “My mother had four daughters and we didn’t talk about them. I’m now the mother of a grown daughter and basically told her the same thing: “don’t do it”. My daughter and I have been through everything together, but we never talk about sex.
Kopacz, the former editor of heart soul magazine, is also the founder of “Zero F is given», a campaign to raise awareness and help victims and deprived populations to heal from sexual trauma. Speaking quite candidly, she talked about her own journey to joy in the bedroom.
“My first experience with female ejaculation was in my thirties and I had no idea what it was,” she said. “My partner explained it and I was soon telling my sisters and girlfriends excitedly.” Her openness has allowed other women to let down their walls when it comes to the subject.
“One of the things that I really, really enjoyed was the conversation about squirting. It’s the first time I’ve heard someone talk about it so blatantly and the fact that she took the time to break it down and explain it opened my mind,” said Susan Ottley from Maryland She spoke to us on her way to the Zen Zone for a wellness session more intimate about sacred sensuality hosted by Kopacz “I would definitely recommend the ESSENCE Culture Festival to women and hope Wellness House comes back next year.”
When moderator Atoya Burleson prompted the panelists to offer their top tips for improving our sex lives, they left the audience with some gems. Francis advised women to “root themselves in joy as pleasure. Sex is an occasion for sensual pleasure. Know what you want and that you can say “yes”. If you actually say ‘no’, assess why yourself without judgment or shame,” she said. “Finally, if that ‘no’ is a hindrance and something you no longer want to maintain, dig deep to find out where you can get more support to enable you to receive.” As for Kopacz, she recommended that women create safe spaces for sex and talk about it with close friends.
Follow Anita Kopacz via Instagram on anitakopacz. You can also access a wellness app co-created by Shadeen Francis by visiting shadeenfrancis.com. Here you’ll find resources for even more real conversations about improving your sex life.