Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Sexual Health, Desire, and the Modern Woman


One HER-story

To experience and engage in feminine desire is a natural human tendency. Repressing and shaming desire is tool used by men (and some hyper-critical judgmental women) to denounce our right to full personhood as human beings. Religious leaders have been playing this game since forever. A co-worker once expressed that the pain women feel during child birth is the punishment women must face for Eve’s original apple-eating sin. Remember this came from the mouth of an educated, otherwise normal woman. Even in a supposedly “modern” society with intellectually evolved people, these archaic beliefs still exist. There are many ways our tightly-held unexamined beliefs are contributing to negativity, on a personal and collective level.

But, beyond this negativity, the question I’d like to ask is, how can we make room for the expression of healthy desire in our lives?

I started educating myself about sex, sexuality, and desire at a fairly young age. My mom had the “Our Bodies, Ourselves” book front and center on the book shelf at home. I used to pour through it, reading and re-reading passages when I was in 5th/6th grade. I taught myself about menstruation, masturbation, and of course, the mechanics of sex. I also shared information with others by talking with friends, neighbors, and my sisters on the topic, in a very matter of fact type of way. In addition, I showed each of my sisters how to insert a tampon, took them to get birth control, and of course had the good ol’ bird and the bee’s discussion with them. Did I find any shame in this? No, it was all very natural, healthy, responsible and NECESSARY.

Admittedly, I’ve had moments in my own sexual past that are less than admirable. I’ve dis-respected myself by letting others use me as a tool for their own enjoyment. Hell, I’ve used others as a tool for my own enjoyment too. But, that is the past, and I’m not anchoring myself to it. I’ve learned a great deal from it as well. Ever the curious girl, I started experimenting with sex/sexuality at a very early age, and I made some bad choices, which is to be expected when one starts as early as I did. Yet, I am an adult now and I’ve changed.

What’s emerging in me now is a very aware, honest, healthy sexuality. I’m finding myself much more eager to explore different dimensions of desire and the feelings that go with it. This has involved reclaiming my body, desire, and sexuality as my own, educating myself about my body, and applying it to my sexual relationships with partners/self.

For example, the other night my partner and I had a very intense make out session. Silk sheets, candle light, music, the whole nine yards. I felt safe, respected, and well, sexy.

But on other nights, we’ve also explored other avenues of desire in a more frenzied, animalistic fashion. I can’t say that my new awareness is attributable to my partner, as I sense something inside of me has shifted, which reaches beyond the scope of the relationship.

Any other thoughts on healthy desire?

9 comments:

dvjan21@yahoo.com said...

"Of what I've tasted of desire, I hold with those who favor fire."
Robert Frost.
Passion is our dance of death, for when we love, passionately, sexually, we are losing our selves.
Someone new emerges from the crucible of eros.

sallysunshine_26 said...

What a beautiful comment dvjan21, who are you?

You are welcome back here anytime.
~SS

dvjan21@yahoo.com said...

I am 56 YO middle aged white guy who lives in Richmond, Virginia.
When I read your blog entry, the Frost quote from "Fire And Ice" immediately came into my head. Then the words I wrote just flowed.
I haven't had a lot of relationships, sexual, that is. The ones that I've had have profoundly touched me and I am a different person for having loved the people that I have.
It goes beyond attraction,infatuation, even, (especially?) orgasm.

Dr. G said...

A wonderful post and so appropriate to the times. Religion and men have managed to control the sexuality of women for thousands of years, but that is about to come to an end. Please check out our new web site at www.esybron.org as it speaks to your new destiny.

sallysunshine_26 said...

Hi dvjan21,

"I haven't had a lot of relationships, sexual, that is. The ones that I've had have profoundly touched me and I am a different person for having loved the people that I have."

It' sounds like you've been quite fortunate in your sexual contact with others. Your attitude toward your experiences sounds pretty well-adjusted if you ask me, and deep. For a man. ;)

Has age awarded you with this perspective, or have you always felt this way about your sexual experiences?

In the past, I've found some of my sexual experiences left me feeling empty, sexually and emotionally. I know many women (and yes, even some men) who would agree. There is something lacking in our sexual contact with others. I can identify the feeling of emptiness, but it's very difficult to put into words the cause of it.

I think a good question for women (and some men who are aware enough) to ask is, what about our sexual experiences do we find liberating, and what is hurting us?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas! ~SS

sallysunshine_26 said...

Dr G.,

"Religion and men have managed to control the sexuality of women for thousands of years, but that is about to come to an end."

I sure hope so! Men have been gettin' their kicks for a long time, it's time that women enjoy and participate in the fun!

Am I advocating that women become just like men and have sex like men?

Only if it satisfies them.

Some women will enjoy this role swap, some won't. But it doesn't matter what each individual personal's flavor is, just that were enjoying ourselves, and our partners CARE that we are enjoying our selves.

Btw, I checked out the website and it's fantastic! Very informative. So thanks for that.

~SS

Dr. G said...

SS:
Thanks for checking out our new web site and it isn't nearly complete as yet; there's much more to come (pardon the pun).

You wrote: "In the past, I've found some of my sexual experiences left me feeling empty, sexually and emotionally. I know many women (and yes, even some men) who would agree. There is something lacking in our sexual contact with others. I can identify the feeling of emptiness, but it's very difficult to put into words the cause of it."

This is profoundly on point. The "emptiness" that you and many women feel and experience is real and it is due to the lack of knowledge of the female sex standard. (Soon to be addressed on the web site)

Your second insightful comment: "I think a good question for women (and some men who are aware enough) to ask is, what about our sexual experiences do we find liberating, and what is hurting us?"

Again, the absence of the female sex standard and its replacement by the male sex paradigm has essentially deprived women of their sexuality. It has driven it from the consciousness of most women and rendered them, subconsciously, tools in a male-dominated sex game. Isn't it time you reclaimed your destiny?

plain(s)feminist said...

That image is GORGEOUS.

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