Maybe Brian McKnight Wasn't (All) Wrong

Earlier this week, I found my Twitter friends in a frenzy over R&B crooner Brian McKnight’s very adult song about women, their vaginas, and his ability to show them what those vaginas can do. Who knew that Brian McKnight is the na-na whisperer?!  Beyond the giggles I gave away laughing at McKnight so harmoniously singing the word “p*ssy”, I was immediately astounded by what he calls the chorus of the song, where he gently serenades, “Let me show you how your p*ssy works, since you didn’t bring it to me first.” OH! The feminist in me immediately went for McKnight’s jugular. Who is he to, with such authority, tell women where and how to receive pleasure? Was the second part of that verse a chastisement because said woman is not a virgin?  THIS SONG IS OPPRESSIVE TO WOMEN! 

I quickly stopped myself and decided to find the “chill” that McKnight SHOULD have been looking for. I knew the song was in the least a grab for attention from McKnight, and am almost certain that it was parody.  It did, however, bring up a much-needed conversation on how many women center their pleasure on what men are able to do or, sadly and in most cases, incapable of doing to help them seek pleasure.   And THAT fact is more important than entering a debate on who can and cannot “squirt” and how one’s “squirting” can come to pass.

Clearly, self-pleasure talk is a talk that needs talking. I did a very informal survey of women across social networks and asked them at what age they began pleasuring themselves and if they felt that learning to self-pleasure has positively impacted their sex lives. I was shocked to learn that many women only began pleasuring themselves in their twenties, and more didn’t begin self-pleasure until after having sex. I compared this to the countless masturbation tales I’ve heard from guys and wondered why we are missing out!  The wonderful thing about experiencing self-pleasure at a young, impressionable age is that one is young… and impressionable.  These moments set the tone for the sexual beings we become. Often, men appear more sexually sound, experienced and knowing during sexual encounters because they get to know their bodies, and what their bodies like, at a very young age. 

Moreover, women who learn to self-pleasure young tend to not only learn more about the ebbs and flows of their bodies and orgasms, but also that they have to be willing to guide their pleasure in interactions with others- if they are to be sexually satisfied.  They also learn not to depend on their lovers for orgasms, which is one of the greatest lessons any sexual being can learn.  By learning what makes them tick (and pop) these women become the teachers they should be, instead of the students they often are in regards to their bodies and what they enjoy.   How do these things translate into good, fulfilling sex?  Naturally, women who know how to make themselves orgasm can guide their partners on how to make them orgasm.  Everybody wins (said in my best Oprah voice).

In a sex positive world where women aren’t considered Jezebels for having any sexual desire at all, instead of Brian McKnight instructing a woman on what her vagina can do, he would ask her how to make it “do what it do.”  And yes, sexism is part to blame for that- but so are women relying on patriarchal roles and memes and expecting good sex as an outcome.  I’ve met very few men who admit to not climaxing during sex. I couldn’t begin to tell you how many women I have met who admit that same thing.  Often, the difference is communicating and guiding wants and needs. 

The catch: communicating those wants and needs releases the role of women “succumbing to sex”, which many men and women rely on to establish “worth”.   Men and women are taught, after all, that good girls don’t give “it” up and if they do it has to be pried from a tight grip.   Willingly having sex and even directing how she wants to be sexed, sits those tropes right on down- and honestly, some women (and men) simply aren’t prepared, emotionally or mentally, to face those tumbling walls.

Enough with the double entendre, I know. But the questions are: Fellas, are you (really) prepared to let women instruct you on what “it” do?  Ladies, are you empowered enough to give those lessons?  I hope all answer yes and we can allow this Brian McKnight song be just another random internet meme.