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Beyoncé is a grown woman, and if anyone had any doubts about that, a listen to her latest self-titled album is the perfect reminder. With songs like “Blow,” “Rocket,” and “Drunk in Love,” the mommy of one, slash wife to hip-hop heavyweight Jay Z, is far from shy when it comes to her sexuality.

Bey’s explicit lyrics did get a rise out of critics, though, who found her music and some of the accompanying videos to be too racy. But Bey is bowing down to no one–and her first magazine cover of 2014 proves that.

For their May Power issue, Out magazine called on the queen to grace the cover–because she is, after all, the most powerful entertainer alive today. Her eyes closed and lips parted, wearing only a short, blonde wig and layered necklaces, Bey is channeling Marilyn Monroe, a Hollywood sex symbol herself. Inside, she tells the magazine, “You can be a businesswoman, a mother, an artist, and a feminist—whatever you want to be—and still be a sexual being. It’s not mutually exclusive.” So, take that, critics.

Keep on reading to see more sexy shots of the singer, along with excerpts from her interview where she addresses being a sexual being and the double standards of men and women.

On women owning their sexuality:

“There is unbelievable power in ownership, and women should own their sexuality. There is a double standard when it comes to sexuality that still persists. Men are free and women are not. That is crazy. The old lessons of submissiveness and fragility made us victims. Women are so much more than that.”

On delivering a more raw album:

“When I recorded ‘XO’ I was sick with a bad sinus infection. I recorded it in a few minutes just as a demo and decided to keep the vocals. I lived with most of the songs for a year and never rerecorded the demo vocals. I really loved the imperfections, so I kept the original demos. I spent the time I’d normally spend on backgrounds and vocal production on getting the music perfect. There were days I spent solely on getting the perfect mix of sounds for the snare alone. Discipline, patience, control, truth, risk, and effortlessness were all things I thought about while I was putting this album together.”

On how everyone can identify with her album:

“While I am definitely conscious of all the different types of people who listen to my music, I really set out to make the most personal, honest, and best album I could make. I needed to free myself from the pressures and expectations of what I thought I should say or be, and just speak from the heart. Being that I am a woman in a male-dominated society, the feminist mentality rang true to me and became a way to personalize that struggle…But what I’m really referring to, and hoping for, is human rights and equality, not just that between a woman and a man. So I’m very happy if my words can ever inspire or empower someone who considers themselves an oppressed minority…We are all the same and we all want the same things: the right to be happy, to be just who we want to be and to love who we want to love.”

Head on over to Out for more, but for anyone who still thinks Bey is anything less than ***flawless, just allow her makeup-free selfie to sink in.

PHOTO CREDIT: OUT

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