International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on 8 March. In SA, however, we have a *whole month* – August – dedicated to women, with 9 August being the official day of recognition. This is a tribute to the more than 20 000 ladies who marched to the Union Buildings in 1956 protesting national Pass Laws. Since then, there have been many achievements on the road to female liberation in society, in the workplace and in the bedroom. And, while there is still a way to go when it comes to women’s sexual empowerment, we’ve never had it so good!
The road to empowerment
The women’s sexual revolution started around the same time as the racial equality movement – the 1960s. At the same time as the hippie era, this saw women (and supportive men) take to the streets in protest and famously burn their bras. Coinciding with the first birth control pill hitting the shelves, which significantly decreased the chances of pregnancy, this, combined with the relaxing attitudes of the decade, meant that the fairer sex finally got to experience some fairness as far as their sex lives were concerned!
The sexual landscape in South Africa, however, looked very different. With a conservative government at the helm, there was a limit on information coming into the country and a ban on a lot of media. This meant that the sexual liberation movement got off to a much slower start. Fortunately, we have caught up! A 2016 report by the Statistic Brain Research Institute revealed that SA had the third-highest amount of Google searches for sex toys in the world. Talk about progress!
The waves of change
Inequality aside, another hurdle that women have had to overcome on the journey to sexual liberation is that only a few decades ago it was thought that women didn’t experience sexual pleasure. Yes, really! It was also believed that they couldn’t experience an orgasm – something that was challenged when the recently-discovered G-spot rose to fame in the 1970s. Another unfounded myth surrounding female gratification included that they did not engage in masturbation.
The media has also been a major contributor to how female sexuality is perceived, with porn and many sex scenes in traditional movies being filmed with the male gaze (and male consumption) in mind. This has had an impact on everything from how young men expect sex to be to how women feel about their bodies. Not cool.
Today, we know that women *actually* love and crave sex, too!
One reason we know this is that the first sex toys to launch were aimed at providing pleasure to female anatomy, and the first ones for commercial consumption were produced in the 1980s. One statistic also revealed that over 80% of women in the United States now own at least one sex toy. In Mzansi, a survey indicated that around 30% of local women have one or more and that it is females who are driving the market. They are dominating not only when it comes to purchases but also as adult toy industry leaders. And, considering that there is still a long way to go in fighting the patriarchy in a male-centric culture, that’s some serious girl power!
It’s all very well to look at big movements that have brought about change but how does this affect individual women in their sexual lives? Gradually, men are becoming more receptive to prioritising her pleasure as women become more comfortable asking for what they want in bed. The worldwide discussions around consent have also allowed women to communicate their wants and needs more effectively. While there are still places where women are expected to be submissive, the fight for true sexual equality rages on so that one day females everywhere will be able to experience only great things when it comes to sex and romance. After years of struggle, they deserve it!
No longer just limited to vibrators, there are now a host of sex toys that cater specifically to ladies. Explore our Women’s Month collection and choose from a selection of products that put her pleasure first.