As part of our September coverage, we asked our readers "what moment defined your sexual awakening?"  The answers we received were amazing- from funny to heartbreaking, so random to so relatable and everything in between. We teamed up with Grace Miceli aka @artbabygirl to turn those stories into illustrations with her super playful and nostalgic style.

 This is our final installment and if we're being quite honest, we saved this one for last for a reason. It's long but worthwhile- a true testament to never giving up on yourself and a good reminder that we are never too old or too grown up to have that moment of awakening. It's been an honor to share your stories and we're so grateful to all who shared. Got a story you'd like to share? We'd like to continue this series! Please here submit your stories here!

***Content Warning: brief mention of sexual assault, abuse in the story*** 



"I was sexual abused from age 5 to 15, and I lived with my abuser. In addition to the abuse, I had a traditional Hispanic upbringing (extremely chauvinistic & Catholic ) which taught me women are only allowed to be sexual if a man asked you to and only to make sure he's satisfied. I behaved like I was "supposed" to in & out of the bedroom. I was a "good girl." Then I became a "good woman" by having babies like I was supposed to.

After years of serving others' needs/wants without ever thinking of my needs/wants, I started having panic attacks. I had never experienced physical symptoms like that before. It was scary, and it kept happening. I knew my body was screaming for help, and I decided to listen. I moved out to an apartment, taking my 2 kids with me.

After a couple of years of healing, growth and self-love (pun intended), I was invited to a swingers' club. I thought it would be an interesting life experience and was planning on exploring the club with my friend. Upon arrival, we were welcomed by the friendliest club staff. They showed us around, answered all our questions and introduced us to a few regulars. The emphasis was on safety and mutual enjoyment. Women run the show there. I felt like I was in the safest, least judgmental, most liberating place on the planet.

That night was the first time I'd ever kissed a girl, received oral from a girl, danced naked, and flirted with whoever I wanted without having to worry about their expectations/demands. I felt safe. So I felt free to be myself and find myself. I felt the freedom to figure out what I like...I was 35. No one judging, no one demanding, no one shaming, no one dominating my experience gave me a chance to open myself up. I haven't looked back. I've made friends in "the lifestyle" and I love all the discoveries I've made about myself. I definitely have done a 180 with my sexuality. I own it now. It's my body. It's my pleasure to enjoy. It's OK for me to live joyfully, enjoy sex and be my own advocate...better late than never."




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