It’s no secret that women are socialized to take care of everyone else. To question ourselves, and to take a back seat in business, money and sex. People teach us to be a “good girl”.
Where the “good girl” and people pleasing comes from
As women, being second-class, paid less, experiencing double-standards and being expected to take care of everyone but ourselves blocks us from our truest desires and living our most vibrant life. Cultures around the world are built on the expectation of free labor from women. In a paradigm where we lack the same power and agency as men.
This dynamic and way of living dulls our natural erotic boldness. It keeps us in a state of apologizing for ourselves and stops us from getting what we want.
The foundation of the archetype of the good girl is deeply engrained patterns of people pleasing. To please others and put yourself second is to be the “good girl.”
What is people pleasing?
People pleasing is a series of behaviors driven by the need for validation.
It is a deep need to get the approval of others so that you can feel secure. Or that they will not leave you and will keep liking and loving you. Often when a person does a lot of people pleasing, much of their self-confidence is tied up in it. It’s because they don’t know who they are if they stop doing it.
Your identity becomes the “care taker” or “everybody likes her” or “She’s always so helpful” or the “good girl”.
It can be deeply problematic because people know you will say “yes”. They will treat you like a doormat because of it and walk all over you. It’s a set up for being taken advantage of and manipulated to do what other people want. Because they know they can manipulate you.
And yet, the people pleasing itself is a manipulation.
There are many consequences to people pleasing. It keeps you playing small; disconnected from your body and pleasure; holding back your voice and not speaking up when things don’t feel right, or when you DESIRE something. People pleasing literally steals pieces of our lives from us. It is not powerful.
The Sexual Consequences of People Pleasing
The Sexual Consequences of People Pleasing are many. The bedrock of the Good Girl is certainly not that she has the most extraordinary sex life because her sex life isn’t about her. It’s might be a bartering chip for things she wants. It might be about the pleasure of others, but she is not at the center.
5 Major sexual consequences to People Pleasing:
- Disconnection: It keeps you disconnected from your body and ‘in your head’ trying to make sure the other person’s needs are met. I hear so many complaints from women about how hard it is to “get out of their head” during sex and how frustrating that is. It’s really hard to receive when you are in your head so much. You are wasting all this energy on worrying about what others think of you or whether you are good enough for your partner, and you don’t even get the pleasure you could have if you were more present.
- Faking it: It’s faking orgasms and then feeling like shit about it. How many of us have done that? Why are we faking it? So our lover feels okay, and like they did a good job, while we are quietly dissatisfied? Because we think we aren’t doing it right: we are taking too long or something about us isn’t quite right so we just fake it to get it over with? Or we simply are not enjoying the sex so we use the fake orgasm to end it. Staying quiet about that fact perpetuates not getting our needs met. Faking orgasms is a major way women give their power away sexually.
- Unwanted Sex/Painful Sex: Having sex you don’t want to have is one of the most basic sexual consequences of people pleasing. You might not be in the mood but “give in” to please your partner. You might be in pain during sex and let them keep going because you are afraid to “ruin the moment” which means you stay in pain so they can have enjoyment. No one should have sex like that. And your partner wouldn’t want that either if they care about you and your well-being AND your pleasure. Lots of ways we give up our sexual agency in order to keep the peace, please our partners or because we fear they will leave if we speak up.
- Molding Your Sexuality to Someone/Something Else: Trying to fulfill someone else’s fantasy even if it makes you uncomfortable. Maybe your partner wants to engage in sexual acts you are not into, but you do it anyway to keep the relationship or so they don’t stray.
- Exiled Desire: When you spend your sexual life pleasing others, or doing things your partner likes without speaking up about what you like or want to try, or about what you don’t like, it’s really hard to know what you want. Many women spend their lives following the sexuality of men because we are taught to do that. We are taught a very male, linear model of sex and sexual expression that doesn’t fit many women. And in fact, people of all genders are dissatisfied with this model, yet it prevails. If we are socialized that way and we don’t know it can be another way, we will keep doing it that way and think that’s normal.
It’s important for women to break out of people pleasing
Men are socialized to lead, initiate sex and take charge, so women who partner with men will typically follow their desires and their lead, unless they really explore their own longings and figure out what it is that would really turn them on without the pressure or the preconceived ideas about sex and about what they should want. It is so essential that women explore what their desires are without the pressure of a partner right there wanting something from them.
This is part of what I love about working with groups of women—I can give them that space, away from their partners and the patriarchal world that tells women what to want, what to like, and how to be sexually. I am dedicated to helping women answer the question, “If you let go of what you were told to like and be sexually, what kind of sex and sexual expression would you really want?”
When you’re caught in people pleasing you can’t feel your true desires.
Living up to cultural standards for women that are not authentic to you, leaves you not connected to your desire.
When you have been told who to be, what to desire and who to be attracted to your whole life, it’s no wonder it’s hard to know what you really want. Yet desire is the antidote to the ways we are disenfranchised and almost chased away from our real sexual callings. Diving into that exploration and study in yourself is the key to letting go of your good girl and coming into the authentic woman you really are.