Four women and their sexuality

  • TheHomeGround Asia is back with a new episode of Beyond Within. This week, we have a cross-generational panel of four women, who talk about their sexuality and experiences as a woman living in Singapore.
  • They are Aarti Olivia, who runs the blog Curves Become Her;  Chang Yuwen, who is an engineer and identifies as bisexual and is also poly-amorous; Vanessa Ng who runs the account Up and Out; and Annie Chan, who manages an events agency, is a certified matchmaker and President of the International Women’s Federation of Commerce and Industry.

Here are some nuggets you can expect in this episode:

Being a woman in Singapore 


Panellists felt that the gender differences between male and female in Singapore appear more noticeable as they age, in areas, such as the pink tax and pay gap. 

Chang Yuwen, for instance, notes how she did not notice any difference between sexes at a young age. But, as she got older and started working in a male-dominated industry, she notes that “male and female… sometimes receive different treatment” and this has become more apparent and vocalised in recent years through social media. 

Connecting sexually with oneself


Exploring and getting to know yourself does not come overnight. Taking time to get comfortable with your body and sexuality is important. 

Aarti Olivia shares that did not feel comfortable with her sexuality and body in the past, which led to her feeling undesirable at times. She says that it was only after she met her husband that she had a more gentle, sensual and explorative approach to her sexuality. 

Not in the mood for sex?


Consent is important in a relationship. All women on the panel concur that if you are not in the mood to do certain sexual activities, it is fine to say ‘no’. 

But if you do not feel comfortable saying ‘no’, how you react can also show your significant other how you feel. Annie Chan gives an example, “If you [I] just cuddle and you [I] don’t do anything more… it is very likely my partner is going to know.”

There is no right way to do things


One cultural value that we have learnt since we were young was that our lives have a timeline; going to university, getting married and then having a family. But, this is not always so. We need to learn that there is no right way of doing things.

Vanessa Ng highlights that “it is [typically] expected that a lot of girls will grow up to be mothers… a lot of them will say things like, ‘What about kids?’… as if that is the default that I should be wanting.” 

But this “default” may not be what everyone wants in their lives. Take time, instead, to understand that there are no set rules, and stop imposing expectations on yourself. 

There is no ‘right’ life partner 


The four panellists agree that one is unlikely to find a partner that is 100 per cent compatible. What is important in a partner is that you connect and are able to grow with together. 

As Ms Chan notes, “There isn’t a perfect one for you, but what is more important is that [you] find the one that at least shares the same values, in terms of relationship.” 

She notes that values are different from hobbies in that the latter can change but values are unlikely to do so overnight. 

Maintaining a healthy sex life


In a long-term relationship, the women advise maintaining a healthy and active sex life. They suggest some ways to “rekindle the love”.

Regular date nights, for instance, are a good way to spend quality time with your significant other. Ms Chang notes that “It’s really important to… just have a night where you are not talking about your children’s needs… or how to pay the bills or about your job.”

Connecting with each other is also an important part of maintaining a long-term relationship.: “I think it’s hard to be sexually aroused or attracted to each other when you are not emotionally connected with each other,” says Ms Ng. 

[READ AND WATCH: The first and second episodes of Beyond Within.]

If you are in an abusive relationship and would like to seek emotional or mental support, please do not hesitate to call the following helplines in Singapore:

PAVE: 6555-0390

Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444

ComCare: 1800-222-0000

Mental Health Helpine: 6389-2222

AWARE: 1800-777-5555

MSF Child Protective Service: 1800-777-0000

Pregnancy Crisis & Support: 6339-9770

The Seniors Helpline: 1800-555-5555

Join the conversations on TheHomeGround Asia’s Facebook and Instagram, and get the latest updates via Telegram.

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