As a culture, we are encouraged to have only a distant relationship to our bodies, and sometimes to have an actively adversarial relationship with them. We are taught to relate to the world around us primarily through our rational brains, … Continue reading
Taking a break in India Where I live, it is almost expected that young adults travel to some far-flung place after serving in the compulsory military service. After three years or so of the rigid military framework, where they are … Continue reading
Since it’s Thanksgiving, it seems appropriate to suggest that we all give thanks to our bodies. That’s actually something I recommend on a daily basis. Most of us take our bodies for granted, frequently forcing them to do all kinds of things that they really don’t want to do, running around all day long instead of taking time to sit and relax. We need to develop a good relationship with our bodies; we need to learn to listen to them. We are partners for life with the body we were born into, so make the best of it. Our bodies want to please us but like everything else, they need love and attention. One of the best ways to give them that is to make love. There is nothing like a good orgasm to make the body happy.
Sex always involves the body, and good sex requires that you are absolutely present in your body. We are energetic beings as well as physical beings, and some of us are not in the habit of having both in the same place. While the physical body is on one side of the room, your energetic body may be on the other side. (Really, that happens.) One of the wonderful things about sex is that when you start feeling sexual desire, you become absolutely present and integrated, and nothing else matters. You are all in one place with one focus. It’s good to have that experience of being absolutely right there, being fully in your body. We need to learn to do that more in our lives. We often think that sex is the only way to get that feeling of “right there-ness” but in reality, it can occur whenever we are totally concentrated. All great artists know that feeling—it’s about allowing the energy of creation to move through us, only it doesn’t have to be about making babies.
Another timely topic is childhood sexual abuse. I bring that up now because it’s classic for people who have had unpleasant sexual encounters to leave their bodies as soon as they start having sex. I know, I was one of them. Because of that, I have a deeper understanding of sexual abuse than many people, so let me correct a couple of misunderstandings: sexual abuse is not more common than it used to be, it’s just that until recently everyone covered it up. The shame and secrecy were more powerful than the desire to tell the truth. Although people still cover it up a lot, it’s beginning to leak out around the edges. That’s a good thing, a very good thing. Sexual abuse can’t keep occurring if the victims don’t keep quiet about it. But it does require courage to talk about it, because it’s such an intense assault on the psyche that it creates a deep sense of shame.
The other misunderstanding is that it happens as much or more to boys as it does to girls. It’s just that we hear about it more from boys, they are more likely to talk about it. Because of the way that sex has been used to threaten women since the beginning of time, women grow up with a deep subconscious awareness that sex can be used against them and that many men see them as prey. Until the last hundred years, our culture hasn’t considered that a problem at all, and women who complained got no support from the status quo. It takes a lot of generations to change those old cultural ways of thinking, and most girls still won’t talk about it.
The good news is that it’s possible to heal—once again, I know, I did it. An understanding and loving partner is huge plus, because you have speak about it openly, and you have to give a voice to those feelings. We can’t have good sex without our feelings coming up, anyway—at least it might be possible for men, but not very many women can cut themselves off from their feelings and still have great sex. Sadly, some women are never able to be very present for sex, often because of past sexual trauma. We need to educate all our children so that they understand they have the right to dictate what happens to their bodies, making sure they know that if any kind of abuse ever occurs we will be there standing behind them one hundred percent. And that goes for sexual abuse that happens when we are adults as well.
Let’s all start talking about sex in a real and open way. If we talked about sex as much as I think we should, this would be a different world, and sexual abuse would barely exist, because it couldn’t be hidden and we wouldn’t tolerate it. And, by the way, we would have at least twenty different words for different types of orgasm.