When fame is a daily obstacle, it’s easy to travel the straight and narrow path, catering to mainstream interests and straying away from anything deemed taboo. While sex certainly sells, the larger public doesn’t embrace every aspect of sexuality, particularly when it comes to women being unapologetic about their sexual desires and refusing to bow to double gender standards. The women below illustrate the numerous complexities and beauties of sexuality, whether performing or simply engaged in conversation with the media. I admire these women for being fearless, outspoken, and open about one of the most natural human experiences. Without a doubt, they serve as powerful references for all women navigating the world of sexuality.

Jada Pinkett-Smith has played both straight and lesbian roles on screen, serving as a reference for more than just heteronormative desires in mainstream film. In her personal life, she is unapologetically sexual and open about her marriage, whether giving the public intimate details about the midday lovemaking that she enjoys with her husband or sending him nude pictures to keep him hot during the day. As a wife for more than a decade and beautiful mother, she reconfirms that women have sexual needs and wants, regardless of our many responsibilities and titles.

Jill Scott is one of the reasons that ordinary women of all sizes feel sexually empowered and reaffirmed. When she sang about celibacy blues, women could relate, feeling her urges and bottled-up desires through the power of her voice. When she publicly coined the word “dickmatized,” it felt like women across the country were saying amen, reflecting on the one-too-many times we tolerated a man’s inadequacies due to the power of his penis. Jill has kept it real and raw through out her journeys of love and sex. When she feels something, we know it. And thus, we can appreciate her as an outspoken artist and advocate for women’s sexual empowerment.

Mo’Nique makes no apologies for her open marriage and enjoyment of sex. Whether she is hosting a talk show or doing a standup comedy routine, she takes pride in being a full-figured woman with sexual desires and a powerful sex drive. As she’s publicly stated that she doesn’t mind if her husband is non-monogamous, she’s confronted a variety of critics that enjoy policing the way that other people navigate the worlds of sex and marriage. But despite the naysayers, she remains true to her needs, beliefs, and voice, making women’s sexuality a common topic of discussion in her work and media appearances.

Rihanna has built a career and reputation on being outspoken about sex and women’s desire. With her latest mantra, “Suck my cockiness. Lick my persuasion,” and the popular S&M video in which she provided a mainstream platform for sadomasochism, she refuses to compromise her artistry for less provocative expressions of sexuality. She talks frankly about her sex life, desires, and relationships in the media. And she remains unapologetic for the many paparazzi shots of her coming out of sex stores or grinding on men and women in Barbados’ carnival. When it comes to bold, beautiful, and powerful, Rihanna has got all three down pact. And while some women may not agree with the blunt nature of her sexuality, her fearlessness can serve as inspiration for us all.

What celebrities do you admire for their discussions and expressions of sexuality? Speak on it.

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