What would it look like for women to truly, publicly, culturally claim our power over our female sexuality? Would it look like a typical male lap-dance fantasy? Would it look like holding it closer and more geared for our own fulfillment? Or do we even know? I’m ready to start trying …
For all species, including humans, need to ensure the reproduction of some kind of future is a fundamental driving instinct.
The saturation of our society with sex and sexuality is more a marketing tool than a wholesale breakdown in “family values” that the religious right constantly frets about. Sex sells. Or, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that sex sells things. The sheen and illusion of sex is attached to all manner of products with the hope that you, the consumer, will connect the emotional and physical intimacy of sex with the purchase of this nice sports car or that case of beer. We try to protect children from it. We try to ignore it. We see through it but, in truth, we’re all seduced by it to some degree.
What I partly experienced Sunday evening was a woman who believes in the creative talent of women so fully that she had a strikingly fabulous all-female band and cast (a first for such a venue). I saw a woman who exemplifies a healthy, strong body image; a woman who just gave birth to baby girl and is redefining the concept of motherhood (although that may be easier for a multi-millionaire); a woman who is at the top of her career and calling the shots. I liked all of that, a lot.
But transporting your audience with your body comes with a responsibility for thoughtful decision-making, especially when you are a feminist and a woman of faith. And especially when it comes to how the lasting vibe you create will effect a specific viewership, including “the least of these”.
Art is not just for the sake of the creator; arguably, it’s primarily for those who consume it in a given circumstance.
Though polite society more or less allows itself to be seduced by the illusion of sex, it always seems to draw a bright line between that and the actual selling of sex. The media’s acceptance of young, scantily clad women and men frolicking in every direction is contrasted with the condemnation of sex as a pure commodity.
Very few of the unabashedly graphic images we see daily depict adults engaged in what we would describe as healthy sexual intimacy.
Though many of us desire meaningful, intimate connection with a lover, most of the sexual images we are exposed to condition us to be aroused to sex without love. Like someone who has eaten only junk food, we wind up feeling malnourished. No amount of binges on “junk sex” can satisfy our hunger for real connection. In our enthusiasm to overcome puritanical constraints, perhaps we overlooked the importance of promoting certain kinds of sex over others.
Though sexuality involves many subtleties its effects on our destiny is in no way light. From puberty and before, sexuality is a force that shapes or dents our life, affecting us by bringing us to cliffs of shame and guilt or to a heaven of ecstasy and love.
In this culture it’s difficult for most of us to think about sex in a meaningful way, let alone talk about what we truly want. Our national conversation about sex is mostly limited to performance issues such as intercourse, orgasm, scoring, and who does what with whom how many times a week.
Engaging in guilt free sex would have been a simple matter if sex merely was limited to the dynamics of the Sensor (the surface layer of our being)—that it merely is a neurological imperative which requires some or other sensory response.
Unfortunately – or fortunately – though, the act of procreation for human beings is intricately intertwined with something far more marvellous and mysterious than satisfying a mere carnal itch.
We all know what junk food is. And we know what happens to us when we make a steady diet of it. Junk sex is like junk food – not bad enough to avoid, but definitely not good enough to make a steady diet of. The effects of junk sex include outbreaks of unhealthy relationships and a malnourished emotional life, and self-destructive behavior like spending waaaay too much time at the gym.
In addition to physical symptoms such as irritability, pain, and sexually-transmitted diseases. Junk sex, particularly media-induced junk sex, leads to a vicious cycle of empty sexual encounters and soul-sucking loneliness, and the obsessive preoccupation with our skin.
“What sex is, we don’t know, but it must be some sort of fire. For it always communicates a sense of warmth, of glow. And when the glow becomes a pure shine, then we feel the sense of beauty.
There are purposes unseen and unknown to sex but from the beginning it motivates us to reach out to others, provoking us to communicate and begin a dance that we hope will lead to deeper connection with others. As we enter further into it we begin to mix our destiny with our lover, exchanging energies on deeper and deeper levels.
Whether we bring a new life to this world with it or not sex has been given to us by the cosmic intelligence for the high reason and purpose of creating more love in our lives.
For each of us, our concept of sexual love has been shaped over many years by the sexual images permitted and promoted in our culture. Today, it’s hard not to find images of sex in our society. Since the dawn of the sexual revolution in the 1960s, we have stripped away the old, puritanical restrictions that once made sex a taboo subject. Erotic images are woven so extensively into every aspect of our culture that they leap out at us when we open a magazine, turn on the television set, settle back in a movie theater, or pass a billboard on the freeway.
It is sad and ironic that while our sexually obsessed culture feeds us a steady stream of arousing sexual images, many of us feel starved when it comes to understanding or sharing sexual love.
Universally we all appear to crave sex, are fascinated by it and simultaneously fear it. We use it in advertising to sell everything yet often prohibit our children from learning about it, our teachers from teaching it, and ourselves from discussing it publicly in any meaningful way.
Magazines on each street corner promise new ways to attract and keep your lover, to have bigger and better orgasms, to cook, clean, and dress for sexual success. And others lead us into the den of pornography which adulterates and dements both our imaginations and good senses.
Although we are naturally wired with a strong sexual drive, we are not born knowing all the information we need to fully understand it. Most of us have questions about sex. But in our culture, the answers are not always accessible or complete.
To explore our potential as sexual beings, we need to understand not only the mechanics of sex, but also the interpersonal context for enjoying sexual love. We need more images that give us models for healthy relating. With exposure to these images we can learn that healthy intimacy is arousing and intensely pleasurable. Instead of a cultural diet of “junk sex” that leaves us titillated, but starved, we need lasting, nourishing ways to satisfy our hunger for sexual connection.
That is, how each of us relates with our bodies, ourselves, and our partners lays down the basic pattern for how we relate with our families, our co-workers, our communities, and beyond, including politics, the environment, and even the realm of spirit—God, Goddess, Higher Power, Universal Energy.
The key ingredient that takes sex from the merely physical to the transcendent and mystical, is love.
Sexual interaction based on mutual caring and respect is very different from sex in which people are objectified or exploited. Loving, intimate sex can be far more enjoyable and satisfying than impersonal sex. But to enjoy these pleasures of sexual love we need to know more.
Instead of a cultural diet of “junk sex” that leaves us titillated, but starved, we need lasting, nourishing ways to satisfy our hunger for sexual connection.
Sex is a big subject and from ancient times we have Taoism and Tantra which are spiritual paths for attaining union with God using our sex. Both of these traditions accepts the body, senses, sexuality, and emotions to help us evolve spiritually.
They do not force us to make a choice between being spiritual or sexual and encourages us to fully enjoy the world we live in as a way to discover our higher nature. Yet pulling hard from the side of religion and society is a force which acts as a great break to the natural beauty of sexuality.
The side that adds guilt and shame and makes sex into something dirty and unholy and having never evolved to the realization of sex as a beautiful ‘private’ act they blanketed it as something shameful.
From this side comes celibacy. Celibacy has been given a very bad name because married to images of sex as dirty, it flies in the face of all our instincts as human beings.
So sexuality has been polarized between two warring camps and this war has been going on for thousands of years. A war between those who possessed the secret of the erotic/divine connection and those who would repress it.
This attack on sexuality and the war between opposing forces about something that bubbles up irresistibly in almost every human being has led to our psyches being badly fragmented.
Sexual love is connection, not only with one’s partner, but with the elemental beauty of life on earth.
Part of the problem is that society and even modern psychology are still not aware of how deep and broad this healing needs to be. It is not just the rape or child abuse victim which are in need of this. And it is not just child abusers, rapists, prostitutes and child pornographers that need help, but our priests, churches, husbands, wives, children, psychologists and teachers; almost everyone without exception can benefit from some evolutionary movement in our hearts and sexualities.
As a first step we should embrace both sides of the sexual question by redefining celibacy as a pathway with the same objective as Tantra and Taoistic Sexual approaches. There is only one way to go, toward beauty.
We need to reach down into the deepest and most primordial place in our imagination and do a surgery. Confronting all religions and spiritualities that cannot see the absolute potential and necessity for sexual beauty.
Yes we can let it pull us into slavery to our senses and imagination, project our emotional needs into it, use it as a source of power and domination, or let our ignorance, fear and old traumas dump unconsciously into it. But nothing can change the fact that we all have sex, the only choice in the future we have is what we can do with it.
All people have sex in common, but each person has traversed traumas which are unique to their individual life. What varies so greatly from one individual to another is how we feel about sex.
The energy itself though is universal, normal and a natural part of being human as well as being a natural aspect of our divinity.
The ‘greatest story’ ever told was really the greatest love story (between a man and a woman) ever denied.
How we deal with our inner feelings is reflected in our sexualities. And what we do with our sexualities reflects back to our feeling and emotional world.
In general sexual energies are feelings so the path of the heart and sexuality do run on similar tracks. In both areas denial is the worst possible activity. So we should not reject our feelings nor our sexuality.
Sex is part of our basic nature because we were created in sex from the union of male and female cells. It is a source of a great deal of pain and pleasure, of comfort and discomfort. It often determines our happiness and unhappiness, our ecstasies and our agonies.
There is no denying that sex is one of the most pleasurable activities available to human beings and that it is important and central to life itself. It provides a universally recognized enjoyment in all societies but for some very deep reasons there lies a darkness across the world of sexuality.
And thus no matter what our religions and spiritual teachings do or suggest, there continues to be a darkness that hangs in our hearts about it.
But, in its pure form sexual rapport creates possibilities for intimacy and honesty and a bonding, loving union.
Though it does seem like a distant dream for most people today, love and joy can become a tangible reality. Sex can become a vehicle for us in contacting our core being. Like meditation we can go deeply into our inner self and become one with that self. But unlike meditation, which we normally do alone, sexuality offers the incredibly blissful feeling of becoming one with another as we merge with our own most beautiful and natural self.
The three major pathways back to the natural state of oneness with our own being, with God, and with other beings are mediation, communication and sex; each offer powerful techniques to higher awareness and more interesting and effective lives.
What is crucially important to understand here is that communication problems directly effect our sexualities and they do this on levels we can hardly imagine.
Problems with communication lead to general misunderstandings, misinformation, conflict and suffering in life. Feelings of separation and conflict do not induce intimate feelings. It is sad but true that it has always been in the interest of the powers that be to control communication and thus information and this is as true today as it was for religious leaders thousands of years ago. Society and religion have modeled non-communication and non-listening, and thus misunderstandings, as ways of life.
When it comes to our sexuality the holding back of information is telling. People who have studied human sexuality deeply have seen the anguish, unhappiness and disappointment many people have experienced over sexual mistakes.
Even today many people are full of misinformation, misconceptions, myths, fears and inhibitions about sex. It is not uncommon to hear people say, “If only I had been given more information about these things when I was young, or if I had had more open attitudes about sex, I wouldn’t have made such a mess of my life.” This is where the key lies, in communication and thus information and the open and free sharing of experience.
Traditionally there has been almost no communication between parents and children about sexual matters. People are able to express their attitudes and give information to children of almost any age in almost all other areas of life other than sexual areas.
Are we so unconsciously impregnated with shame that it inhibits us from openly communicating with children about it? Is this what religion and society have done to us?
We can begin to answer these questions when we look at the fact that spirituality and religion have no concepts of the basic central importance of communication and listening in life. Even modern psychology does not place them in their appropriate central place even though no psychology can exist, let alone be practiced, without communication and listening.
The very roots of this is seen in the original story of the man and woman who were supposed to have walked first in heaven and then on earth. Adam and Eve had communication problems with God and they paid a high price for it.
Our separations from God, from others, and from our own natural being begin immediately when communication and listening break down.
Sex in particular has become a major source of anxiety and stress for many of us and this is not all our fault. It is lust and violence based for too many and instead of generating more love and intimacy it creates pain, suffering and eventual separation from others.
Pornography separates all aspects of love from sex and works powerfully to separate us from the beauty of sexual love. And we have been conditioned negatively about sex by our parents, religions, society and by advertising companies whose only interest is to make money for their clients.
All beautiful relationships are in essence heart to heart, vulnerability to vulnerability, being to being. When we combine the full heights of heart and sex intelligence together we will enter a new world that will amaze and revitalize us and keep us young way into our twilight years.
Putting the heart back in sex offers us the opportunity to return to our deepest nature as men and women.
It channels our energies toward creating more life, more love, health, energy and longevity in our lives. The key word is more.
“God separated Adam into his two sexual component parts, one male, the other female—Eve—taken from his side. The longing for reunion which love inspired in the divided halves of the originally dual being, is the source of the sexual pleasure, which is the beginning of all transgressions.”
For to honor the deepest aspect of another human being is to honor the deepest fiber of our own being as well. And by doing so to recognize that to be truly human is not to be the slave of our animalistic compulsions. But rather, our humanness is inherent in our ability to put another person’s needs equal to – and sometimes even above – our own.
And incredibly, to have power over a dynamic that technically speaking merely is the friction of skin upon skin of two arbitrary yet extraordinarily functionally designed excretory organs, also is to have the power to effect our deepest healing as well.
It perhaps being the single greatest factor distinguishing human beings from being a mere animal—a dog for example developing an uncontrollable urge for carnal intercourse once or twice yearly whenever it smells the bitches in its surroundings are on heat.
This therefore, providing, the most poignant example of the paradoxical miracle of human existence.
It also brings us face to face with our greatest human failing. It is the failure to honor the lives of children. For to violate a single child is tantamount to failing all future humanity, for in doing so one has failed in one’s personal responsibility to shape future consciousness for the better.
It is the failing to nurture our God-given ability to actively reach out beyond the bounds of our own skin.
Some say sex, soul, religion, morality, are not to be separated. They belong together. Sincerity, seriousness, cleanness, generosity and liberty in sex are the foundations of morality. Where these are found we have genuine love, true relations, open souls, fearless hearts, fragrant bodies, healthy children, happy mothers, a society everywhere honest, free and kind.
Where these or any of them are lacking, society rots, lies fester, men exist by crime, and shame broods like a cloud.
Once we accept that our personal ecosystems are part of a very much larger picture, it’s possible to envision how each one of us affects the collective reality. If we believe that pleasure is an integral part of the colorful mandala of creation, nurturing our bodies can become an act of worship.
The present turmoil in the world presents a prime opportunity to exercise our ordinary and extraordinary abilities for such connection. We can begin by resisting images of war and destruction and make peace with our own bodies.
To prepare the template of inner peace, it may be necessary to unlearn old fears, old pain, old images, old ways of holding on to what’s no longer useful—workaholism, victim roles, just-say-no messages. We can allow ourselves to feel deeply connected to the earth and to all, seen and unseen, who inhabit it. Once we’ve experienced that knowing in our cells, we can never be at a total loss, even when the world around us seems to be spinning out of control.
Using our sexuality as a pathway to reach for heaven is pragmatic for sexuality is ever present in our inner spaces and can be purified and directed in whatever way we choose. It is worth our while to invest more time and energy (even if that time and energy is just communicating about it) directly into our sexuality thus making it and our lives more dynamic, relaxing and fulfilling for when there is dissatisfaction in sex the seeds of discontent are sown, resentments, frustrations and fears easily arise, and slowly the love and rapport between partners can breakdown, ultimately leading to separation.
Unless we recognize that sex is spiritual as well as physical, we shall not understand how it is the great agent of love. For love is the uniting principle in the universe, and
as all things have their opposites, that which reconciles and at-ones them, marries them, is that which we term sex.
Sex is more than something we do. Sexual energy is part of who we are, though we may not always be aware of it.
Live and Learn. We All Do.
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