The Forbidden Female Sensuality

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The Forbidden Female Sensuality

When I first told my mom back in 2009 that I was taking pole dancing classes, she was accepting and curious. This open attitude toward my newfound hobby did not come without my steady assurance that I wasn’t planning on becoming a stripper while also sending her a variety of athletic-oriented pole videos.

I should probably mention that my mom is not your typical mom. She’s been known to show off her flexibility at dinner parties in the form of splits on the living room floor. She loves to dance. She’s lived in New York and grew up in the ‘60s. Despite all these traits, she still has been hesitant to fully embrace my love of pole dancing.

Four years later she still cringes at the idea of 7-inch platform shoes and flesh-revealing shorts.

 She doesn’t like the explicit music and she definitely isn’t a fan of any excessive booty shaking. While these elements don’t sum up pole dancing in whole, they are nonetheless part of it just as sexuality is part of the human experience as a whole.

There seems to be little acceptance in our culture today of something that is so integral to our survival. Sexuality is a topic that is ever present in advertisements and movies through subliminal form, yet it’s rarely addressed directly. Some may say there is no need to talk about it openly. But I would argue that suppression of something that is so essential to our state of being will come out eventually in one form or another. The more it’s constrained the unhealthier it will likely be when expressed.

I think it’s more sexually oppressing to deny females their right to be sexually liberated under their own terms. There are still societies where women cannot vote, are required to cover their faces in public and are legally required to have a male guardian accompany them at all times. Just recently I read an article discussing an Indonesia Province set to ban women from straddling motorbikes. It seems that those who are first to tame female sexuality are those most afraid of it.

When it comes to pole dancing, I can succinctly explain that it simply feels good to let go and dance provocatively sometimes. This urge I have to enjoy my sexuality does not come from some complicated, culturally-learned desire to please men. In fact, I frequently dance in a room by myself or surrounded by fellow classmates. These moments have been some of the most empowering I have ever felt.

I want to share that feeling with all the women in my life, so I decided to send my mom to a class to see what it was all about for herself. It’s my firm belief that you cannot judge anything until you have experienced it yourself. I give her credit for being willing to give it a try. She took an S Factor intro class. After dropping her off at the studio I eagerly awaited her review of the experience.

As I had suspected, she was much more understanding of my hobby after the class.

She said it felt nice: the dim lighting, the welcoming environment, the encouragement to express her emotions and the general acceptance of being sensual in her body movement. While I don’t think she will be joining me in “twerking” workshops anytime soon, I think she has a better idea of why I do what I do.

Sexuality is innately felt in all human beings. As much as we might not want to think of family in that light, it is a reality that is there. I think one of the forces for growth and change in the feminist movement will be for women to regain control over their powerful sexuality. This does not translate into exploitation of it for the sake of appeasing men. Contrary to popular belief, that it not what pole dancing is about. Most of the negativity projected onto pole dancing belongs solely to the individual casting those judgments and not the action any given dancer may be performing.

Ryan Gosling’s character in Crazy, Stupid, Love once famously said, “Men won the battle of the sexes when women started pole dancing for exercise.” With all due respect Ryan, you’ve got it all wrong. Pole dancing is empowering for women because it accepts (and honors) what is inherently feminine in them. It also displays the strength and beauty of the human body in every form. This goes for both men and women. There is no winner or loser. Both men and women have incomparable strengths and weaknesses, some of which can be witnessed in pole dancing through the right, nonjudgmental perspective.

Category: Discussion

About Irmingard Mayer

Irmingard has been pole dancing since 2009. She is an Xpert certified pole fitness instructor currently teaching in New York City. She is involved in many aspects of the pole community. She has written for Vertical Art and Fitness as well as Pole Spin Magazine. She’s also handled publicity for a variety of pole-related organizations and events. Irmingard is also a contributor at United Pole Artists. As a performer she has appeared at famed NYC venues such as The Box. She has also appeared pole dancing in major motion pictures such at I Don’t Know How She Does It starring Sarah Jessica Parker and recently worked with Method Man on the indie film Lucky N#mber. Irmingard views pole as an athletic art form that has the ability to transform minds and bodies.

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3 Comments to “The Forbidden Female Sensuality”

  1. Gemma Kowatch says:

    LOVE!!!!! If you haven’t already, you should check out this TedX talk:

  2. what an excellent read! That was so cool of your mom to give it a go

  3. Norman says:

    Ran into this article whilst doing some research into a script that I am working on, I am fascinated by this line;

    “With all due respect Ryan, you’ve got it all wrong. Pole dancing is empowering for women because it accepts (and honors) what is inherently feminine in them”

    Interesting view, perhaps true, but have Irmingard ever done Pole dancing in an actual Strip Club!?

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