Valentine’s Day. You’re told that much like Christmas, the best way to show your love is to shower your special someone with gifts and attention. That’s all well and good, but when was the last time you were told to do that for yourself? Women especially are taught how to show others love, but there’s a definite lack of encouragement when it comes to learning how and showing ourselves some much needed TLC.
Thankfully, there’s a movement afoot; one that’s teaching women how to embrace and love all aspects of their beings. It is my pleasure to introduce one of the forerunners in the movement, Ms. August McLaughlin,
…the award-winning, nationally recognized health and sexuality writer and host and creator of Girl Boner®. Her work appears in DAME Magazine, the Huffington Post, The Good Men Project and more. Kirkus Reviews called her first novel, In Her Shadow, “an engaging story with an inventive structure and an intriguing focus on body-image issues.” Her latest book, Embraceable: Empowering Facts and True Stories About Women’s Sexuality, is a celebration of women’s sensuality. Each week on Girl Boner® Radio, she interviews relationship experts, celebs and more, exploring women’s lives and sexuality “like no one else.” Known for melding personal passion, artistry and activism, August uses her skills as a public speaker and journalist to inspire women to embrace their bodies and selves, making way for fuller, more authentic lives.
August has stopped by the Nowata Press Publishing and Consulting blog to promote her latest book, Embraceable: Empowering Facts and True Stories About Women’s Sexuality and to talk about why self-love and acceptance is so important in women’s lives.
Nowata: I’m so excited to have you on the blog. I’ve followed you for a while now and I’ve had several questions I’ve wanted to ask. I’m even more curious now after having enjoyed reading Embraceable… What struck me the most when it comes to the stories I hear or read that concern women and their self-esteem, is how the majority of the stories all start with some form of abuse. Why do you think that is?
August: It’s a mind-boggling atrocity, and mighty complex. I’ve heard people—including some experts—say that men sexually assault women “because they can,” or that there’s a biological component. I have more faith in humanity than that, and see far more influences that have little to do with science and everything to do with what we learn.
Women continue to be objectified and disrespected in countless ways. Sexuality is stigmatized, with most kids learning virtually nothing about it, outside of a single, misleading class or two. Harmful myths, such as “boys will be boys,” carry on. And there’s still stigma around being victimized. All of this contributes to rape culture.
Nowata: Speaking of men and rape culture, do you think a lot of men’s issues can be associated with them being raised to be as disconnected from their true sexual selves like women are?
August: I think men struggle as well, but often in different ways, because of societal messaging. There’s still this idea that men should be “macho,” and sexual in particular types of often unrealistic ways. They’re taught that they should be all about the physical, versus cultivating or honoring their need for emotional intimacy—which is a beautiful strength, not a weakness.
Nowata: I know there are plenty of women who would benefit from the knowledge found in the stories the contributors tell, but I’m wondering if men wouldn’t find the stories enlightening and maybe open the door for the changing of their minds as well. Do you think your book would work well as a conversation starter for couples?
August: I’d love for folks to use it to start conversations! If anyone reads the book and relates to a particular struggle or desire, especially one they’ve had difficulty addressing, they can share the story with their partner — or a therapist or trusted friend.
Nowata: How would you recommend someone start the sharing process?
August: A simple, “Hey, you’ve got to read this story. It really struck me,” can go a long way.
Nowata: I know sexuality plays a big part in how women are shamed or guilt-ed into feeling negatively about themselves. It seems that almost all of the women in your book began their journey’s to self-acceptance through learning how to bring themselves to joy through masturbation. For me, masturbation, while providing a release of sorts, didn’t equate to showing myself love and acceptance. For other women like me, what would you say are some of the best ways women can show themselves physical love, outside of masturbation?
August: I love this question! Rather than shame our bodies, we can nurture them. We can seek and give hugs, aim for sufficient nightly sleep, take warm baths, go hiking and take time to breathe. I personally love to take my time applying lotion. Simply slowing down to pay attention to self-TLC can be really powerful.
Nowata: I’d love to do a more extensive Q&A – there are so many more questions I have for you, but I know you’ve got to make it to the next stop on the blog tour. Before you go, last question – what does the rest of 2016 look like for Girl Boner? Do you have any special events, book signings, tours, speaking engagements, coming up?
August: I’m still finalizing my speaking schedule (and other fun surprises! :)), but anyone interested can stay informed through my homepage and blog. A new Girl Boner® Radio episode releases every Wednesday, which you can be sure to receive by subscribing on iTunes. This year, I’m really striving to reach more people and do more good.
Well, I’m more than happy to help you reach folks with your wonderful message and much needed information on women’s sexuality and self-acceptance. I agree that it is high time for women to embrace all of what makes us wonderful, worthy, amazing human beings.