“Her firm, elastic flesh that was knowing for the first time its birthright, was like a creamy lily that the sun invites to contribute its breath and perfume to the undying life of the world.”
A provocative, and sensual quote from “The Storm” by Kate Chopin. I read this short story for the first time during my sophomore year of college, and the feminist in me had never been so thrilled. Finally, a beautifully written, powerful female protagonist embracing her sexuality in all its glory without any shame or ridicule. It’s surprising that such a progressive piece was written in 1898. Chopin illustrates a woman, Calixta, awaiting the arrival of her husband, spending the night with a former lover, Alcée. After their sexual encounter, they both part with a sense of newfound happiness, not only in themselves, but in their marriages. Calixta is thrilled to see her husband again, Alcée’s wife is thrilled to have some freedom from her husband, and everyone is happy.
In no way do I condone cheating on your spouse, but there is something new and fresh in this piece. Here is a woman experiencing a pleasurable sexual encounter. She is not some object for a man to do with as he pleases. She is free, wild, and confident in her sexuality with Alcée. Her passion is described as a storm, and rightfully so. It’s refreshing to see a work describing women as sensual beings. I still find, frustratingly, that women are stuck in a dichotomy of prude and slut. There seems to be something intimidating about a woman who is confident and proud of her sexuality. This short story is a fantastic rebellion against this way of thinking. Women not only have pleasurable sex, but they also enjoy it. Yes, you heard me.
Women like having sex.
And there is nothing wrong with that!
For this reason, I find “The Storm” to not only be wonderfully written but to also be a story letting people know that women can enjoy sex without it being “dirty” or “wrong.” Women can embrace their sexuality and find true happiness and joy from the experience. Most importantly, women can enjoy sex, and it’s not the end of the world.
Author’s Note: The cover photo was shot by my wonderful Adan Arroyo. Check out his Instagram for more fantastic work. Thank you for all your support, babe.