05/22/2015
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The thirst is real, but does that mean I should say so?

If I were ever to write up my dream CV, it would list down my notable skills as follows: eating eight cups of rice in one sitting, impersonating Vina Morales’ singing voice, and ogling a guy from a mile away. I take particular pride in the last one, because I think the CIA would appreciate the sort of skill that it takes to evaluate height, might, and — pardon the crassness — bangability in less time that it takes to fry an egg. When I appreciate someone from the opposite sex, I view him in a way that a guy might view a hot girl. Are his lips great for making out? Are his hands the kind that poets write about? Is his butt perfect to hold on for dear life?

My apologies for the faint of heart, but it’s tough work, and someone’s gotta do it. One might argue that if someone does, I’ve no business being that person. Why me, anyway, when a girl with the kind of respectability I (should) have has no business expressing her physical desires in such an explicit way? The thirst is real, but does that mean I should say so? Or should any girl say so for that matter?

Art by Mich Cervantes
Art by Mich Cervantes

While there shouldn’t be anything wrong with being thirsty, it might as well be a capital crime if the parched person in question happens to be female. Like many girls I have grown up with, I was raised to believe that sexual desire is unnecessary and embarrassing. Most of us went to prom slow dancing with a wide berth between our prom dates “to make room for the Holy Spirit.” Why bother having crushes when there are so many other more wholesome pursuits in this world? Read a book, just not a dirty one. Watch a film, just not porn. And meet new people, just don’t entertain the idea that they are, in fact, super cute. (This is, of course, in direct opposition to telling young boys that they should feel free to date around and have fun while they’re young.)

Even with technology making it possible for us to appreciate a variety of cultures — from the extremely repressed to the intensely liberal — Filipino norms put us girls in a precarious position: we are made aware of worldly pleasures and how men can take part in them them, but forbidden from enjoying them. And living with this irony is harder to overcome than it looks. It’s easy to tell a girl, “It’s okay to want sex. It’s totally cool, I swear.” But advice like that is both intimidating and potentially misleading. Do we really just want to tell each other to sleep around and be loose women? No, not at all. Do we want them to lead puritanical lives instead? Nope.

It’s important to remember that when we are empowering each other, when we’re reminding each other that we are, at our very core, sexual beings, what we’re telling each other is you can be thirsty, but you can also choose to be chaste, too. When we call ourselves sexual beings, we’re not just talking about the act of sex, but identifying as a sex: we’re girls, and our identity as independent, smart people can be just as important as our identity as sexual beings too.

It’s important to remember that when we are empowering each other, when we’re reminding each other that we are, at our very core, sexual beings, what we’re telling each other is you can be thirsty, but you can also choose to be chaste, too.

If you are the type of person who chooses to suppress physical desires or straight up rejects all forms of sexuality (asexuals are totally a thing), that’s fine, if that’s what feels right for you. Do it because you want to, not because you can imagine your mother and her mother and her mother’s mother breathing down your neck as you read racy Harry Potter fan fiction after you finish your homework.

But if you want to be more open about who you want to make out with or who gets your blood rushing, that should be okay, too. Ownership of one’s sexuality should be something you do for yourself, not because you think that boys will find it hot if you pose half-naked on Instagram. (You even drop a Call of Duty reference just to be more #coolgirl.)

It’s not easy to be comfortable with one’s sexuality. It’s a kind of awakening that doesn’t happen overnight. This is why acting on your desires might be a bit wiser when you’ve spent a few more years on earth. Know yourself a little better first, before you get to know other people. And I don’t just mean sex, okay? I mean building relationships, falling in love, and becoming intimate with someone. See what’s out there first before retreating to the bedroom. We put such a high premium on being young, but we waste that away when we spend it doing things we might regret down the line, like sleeping with someone you didn’t turn out to be so fond of.

In the meantime, go and check out that cute guy if you really want to. Appreciate his God-given virtues and don’t feel bad about it. And if the thirst gets too real, just remember to hang on for dear life.

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