Black Women's Health and Happiness

Insights into physical, mental, and spiritual health for women of color.

Celibates Be Aware: Sex Can Be Wonderful for Your Health!

Accept yourself as a sexual being.

In 2003, after the publication of my first major book (which made the medical-spiritual connection), I received invitations to speak to women, as well as to various church and community organizations, across the country. I was asked to address the topics of women's health, minority health, and media and social issues--especially those affecting Black women. But a funny thing happened on the way to the discussions about fibroid tumors, yeast infections and diabetes in pregnancy: I began to receive invitations to speak about interpersonal relationships, passion, and sex, sex, sex!

I remember one meeting planner said, "I know your book is about blessings, health, and spiritual well-being, but [hesitating]...would you be comfortable speaking to the women about...sex?" She said, "The women might need that [lecture]." I said, "Absolutely!" As a result, that "passion" lecture became (and still is) my bestselling lecture: It is a hoot! I enjoy giving it and I still get letters from ladies telling me how I saved their marriage. [Good job, ladies! Keep it up.]

Find a Therapist

Search for a mental health professional near you.

The planner's question raised the point that sex is a topic about which many women are hesitant to address. But her inquiry also demonstrated how many women think: That there is a possible conflict to be "spiritual" and also "sexual" at the same time. Many baby boomers (especially if they were very church-based) suffered with that conflict because many boomer-parents didn't talk to their children about anything concerning sex or body parts. In today's world, there's often too much sex--on TV, on the web, and in music videos; sometimes its glut detracts from the beauty of sex.

That said...there are still many mature women--even married women--who have major hang-ups about allowing themselves to enjoy sex. I find this to be true for the church ladies, and especially Black female, or other deeply-entrenched, churchgoers.

Many deeply faith-based women are in church almost as often as at home, in class or at work. At church or temple, many times the topic of sex isn't even addressed, at least not in any affirmative way. Many ladies are very "churchified" (my word), and the "church lady" clothes demonstrate that, even for some thirty-and-forty-somethings. Also many women might dress the part, or do "what I needed to do" to get their husband, but then sexually shut down after they say "I do." [Don't do that, ladies!]

In the past in regular churches, and still in fundamentalist churches, many are told it's a sin to show cleavage, wear pants, tight skirts, and even open-toe shoes. Women of God are to "dress demurely"; and a "Godly woman who wants a Godly man," so one should cover up. Mind you, the majority of the people telling women this are often some of the "church mothers,'" many of whom hadn't had a man--or even a hug or intimate kiss--all year. Many specialize in the "holy" kiss, and a holy kiss is just that--holy. You can't get the same feeling from a "holy" kiss as you can from a loving touch, kiss or relationship with your man. [Can I get an "Amen"?]

I am not here to tell any of you to "sin," or violate your religious beliefs; we all have to work out our own path. And the church mothers you might encounter mean well, as the celibate lifestyle has its benefits, including a feeling of being spiritually pure and set apart for God. Plus, in a day of rampant sex and STDs, discretion and being monogamous is a must.

But I write to encourage you to embrace all that God made you to be. With that, I can only say, that, as a physician, it is my duty to tell you things that will bolster your health, so I would be remiss if I don't tell you...Celibates Be Aware: Sex can be wonderful for your health! (This advice applies to you rarely-sexed souls, as well.)

If you have any true hang-ups, I'll soon share "Overcoming Hang-ups to get the Hook-up." I'll explore parental influences/attitudes; and religious, emotional, self-image, emotional and hormonal issues. Also sexual dysfunction. Until then, the first thing I want you to realize is you can be blessed, spiritual and sexy all at the same time. Why? Because that's what we were made to be. As men, as women--as humans--we are all of it. Here's an excerpt from the [hot, but informative] ‘sex' chapter of Living Well:

We are spiritual beings. We are emotional beings, with feelings and social needs. We are maternal beings--those instincts are very strong in practically every woman alive. We are professional beings; we cherish using our brains to achieve at education and careers. Many women of faith readily acknowledge and embrace these characteristics.

But we are also sexual beings...and that part of us is not to be denied or minimized. Recognize that your Creator made you a sexual being.

In my lectures, one of the biggest moments comes when I discuss oral sex. Many in the audience are already on board, but often when I simply say the word "swallow," I hear the "ewwws" and the "oh no" comments from the audience. So for those who feel that such an act is not something a spiritual woman would/should do, I share this: In the Bible, the Song of Solomon 2:3 addresses oral sex. It reads: As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. Now...what does it sound like she's doing "down there" under her man's shadow...? And to what "fruit" of his is she referring? Hmmm. [I see you going to check your Bibles. Go 'head; look! It's in there!]

The key factor in accepting yourself as a sexual being is to realize the naturally-occurring, primal nature of sex and its origin, not only among animals, but among us--human beings.

If you can, take time some spring or summer morning and observe nature in action. You will be amazed that these immodest creatures don't even care that you're watching their game, and you'll soon see the offspring from their successful sexual dalliances.

Observing God's creatures reminds me that whales do it; bees do it; even birds in the trees do it--they have sex. And certainly any adult realizes that countries are populated by the ongoing number of newborns each year; that's why we have billions of people on planet Earth. So, sex is not an anomaly. It's not something that only you think about. It's a natural bodily act, urge and need given to any and all living creatures.

Sex is an instinctive drive; it's just the way we're wired as living, breathing creatures. Embrace it! Sex is not only for procreation, but recreation. It's a God-given, pleasurable experience to be shared with your loved one. The pleasure is not only for the man to enjoy; you, too, are to partake and enjoy the experience in all of its splendor.

Sex is also good for you. Better than milk, sex does a body good. Sex is healing and is often good for what ails you. How, you ask? [Stay tuned for another installment.]

Copyright © 2012 Dr. Melody T. McCloud. All rights reserved. Any excerpts reproduced from this article should include a hyperlink to this--my original post on Psychology Today, with author credit. Feel free to post the link to this, and any of my PT posts, to your social network pages. Follow me here at PT (mostly); and now (I'm finally, joining the fray) on Twitter: @DrMelodyMcCloud.

Living Well, Despite Catchin' Hell, a book about health, sex and happiness, with a foreword by Pauletta Washington, musician and wife of Academy Award winner, Denzel Washington; and endorsed by psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere and others. The book includes current comparative data for Black, White, Hispanic, Asian and Native American women. The first book in 8 years addressing Black women's health; also addresses the effects of negative stereotypes. (print and eBook).

Melodies of the Heart: Poems of Life & Love (eBook with erotic love poems)

Medical Bloopers! Amusing & Amazing Stories of Health Care Workers (foreword by Dr. Neil Shulman, author of Doc Hollywood). (now as an eBook)

Melody T. McCloud, M.D., is an obstetrician-gynecologist and the author of First Do No Harm: How to Heal Your Relationships Using the Wisdom of Professional Caregivers.

more...

Subscribe to Black Women's Health and Happiness

Current Issue

Just Say It

When and how should we open up to loved ones?