We had the pleasure of attending a Scarlet Ladies event on the female orgasm. When they invited us to co-host an upcoming event for young women - we jumped at the chance. We asked one half of the Scarlet Ladies, Janette, to tell us a bit more about their mission…
Women’s sexuality is what we might call an ambiguous topic, one filled with stigma, shame and lots of myths. For a long time women have received coded and overt rules and regulations about their sexuality, what they should and should not do. This leaves us women somewhat confused and continuously fighting with ourselves. Since the 60s, a turning point in the women’s movement, the topic of the mystical female sexuality has been hot. Doctors like Masters and Johnson studied what makes women’s bodies tick and women’s magazines endlessly tell us what we need and how to behave. However, in spite of this research, and seemingly well-intended advice, many are left more confused about our sexuality and our bodies.
Scarlet Ladies was founded by two women who wanted to hear real women’s stories, experiences and advice. We host panels, workshops, women’s coaching circles and retreats for women that focus on their sexuality. We wanted to create an environment without judgement to give women the freedom to explore their sexuality and speak about it openly.
For us, talking about sex is fundamental to getting rid of shame and stigma that can surround female sexuality. By simply talking, we open up a conversation. We hear others’ opinions and naturally share. Consciously and subconsciously we learn something new and potentially break down barriers and judgments we had. Sex is literally one of the most natural thing us humans do alongside eating, sleeping and pooping.
We have been asked why we don’t include men. Apart from some of our new couples’ retreats and salons, our events are exclusively for women. “Wouldn’t it be useful for men to understand female sexuality better?” Yes, absolutely. But we feel we have to start a step earlier. Women need to learn about themselves first and foremost. It never ceases to surprise us how out of touch many of us are with our own sexuality. And let’s face it, put even just one man into a group of women (or vice versa) and you will easily see one thing: the dynamics change. They just do.
Our aim is simple: we want women to share openly and honestly. We don’t want them to boast, pretend or feel uncomfortable. We want them to share from the bottom of their hearts. Or their genitals, even. Once we explore our own sexuality, get to know our wants and likes and get in touch with our needs, once we take responsibility for our own pleasure, then we are able to take that home to our partners. Whether they be permanent partners or temporary, male or female, trans or non-binary. After all, how can you have that conversation with your partner and tell them what you like if you don’t know yourself?
We have seen technology massively change, and continue to change the sexual landscape, giving young women a host of new scenarios to navigate. We want to explore with young women how they feel the internet affects their sexuality and think together about practical ways to get the most from it. Some of the things we’ll discuss:
Tinder & apps: is it possible to find a partner here or is it more of a FWB arrangement?
Porn: it’s recently been shown it can increase safe sex practices but still gets a bad rep for objectifying women. Can we claim it with both hands? (or maybe one, we’ll need the other for the vibrator)
Dick pics, vagina selfies (yep, there’s a toy that shows you your vagina when having sex): Can’t get enough of them? Wank bank gold? or ‘Enough with your unsolicited dick pics dude!’ And when they are unsolicited, how do we deal with it?
Sexting: do you prefer to have a partner’s digits on your body than on their iPhone or is it a convenient way of get getting off into your busy schedule?
We’d love to hear what you think too, leave a comment and let us know!