Take a moment to think of someone in your life, either a real person you interact with or a TV or movie character, who you admire for their sexual energy and attitude. Picture them in your mind, moving through their life, engaging with thier partner or strangers. What is it you see in them? What do you like about the way they move through the world? Is there something about they way they use their body? Is it a quality of confidence? A certain attitude? Journal everything you notice about them, look deeply at what draws you to them or causes you to admire them.
Now imagine that that person is writing to you. Write a letter from them to you, that gives you advice about about how to move through the world with their attitude or confidence. What do you imagine they would say to you about the role of sexuality in their life? What strengths do you imagine they would see and admire in you? What would they encourage more of in you and your life?
Remember that this is all imagining. You are making up a story about this person. It is hard from the outside to know how a person feels about themselves or their sexuality. Sometimes the confidence we see on the outside can be deeply shaken from the inside. We just never know. But you can still utilize this person as a role model and allow them, as a character, to become a part of your internal support network. Let them inspire you to inspire yourself!
Most of you have probably heard by now about Missouri’s Republican Senate nominee, Todd Atkin’s statement that victims of "legitimate rape" don't get pregnant because "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." This false belief was being used as justification for denying rights to abortion for rape survivors. You may believe that one man’s misguided beliefs don’t affect you, but the shocking prevalence of flat out wrong information and limitations put around people seeking accurate sex information and education about sex deeply affects us all. In 2013, with all the clear science we have now, we need to ask ourselves –why would Todd Atkin’s still hold this false belief or (in the case that he was purposely giving false “facts”) why would he think that the American public would believe this? Because we are sadly and shockingly underinformed when it comes to sex.
Having taught Human Sexuality in Uganda, I saw firsthand the devastating impact on communities that had been given false information about their bodies and their sexual functioning. I worked with people who had been told that HIV is caused by an unmarried girl touching a man. I spoke to men who had been told as boys that a women’s vagina will trap and tear their penis. I talked with the people there who were taught to be afraid of sex and, perhaps more importantly, we talked about how even these terrifying messages didn’t stop the intrinsic and natural sex drive within them. The people I met in Uganda desperately wanted accurate sexual information; they said their lives were changed by it. And they wanted this for their communities to be healthier and happier. They took risks in being leaders in learning and sharing unbiased facts about sexuality.
In America, even in the liberal area I live in, students in my Adult Sex Ed classes consistently tell me that there was so much about their own body and sexual responses that they didn’t know and were relieved to learn. And I know from my therapy practice that the affects of misinformation and lies about sex go deep and can last a lifetime.
If you were upset by Todd Atkin’s statements, I invite you to use that emotion to empower and motivate yourself. Seek out good sex education, for yourself and for the children in your life. Go buy a book about your body and sexuality. Volunteer for a rape crisis center or an informational hotline in your area. Support scientific research projects. And, whatever your political affiliation, support political candidates who will use accurate, scientifically supported facts when making decisions about your sexual health. It is our right to be informed about our own bodies.
Join me for a fun night at Pure Pleasure Shop in Santa Cruz next Monday night. This will be a mini version of the women's workshop : Building Your Sexual Fire. In a few hours you will get a booster for your sexual energy...and remember all participants get a discount at Pure Pleasure the night of the workshop! Here is the info:
|8-20-12 Building Your Sexual Fire
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Whether you feel your sexuality is an ember or a roaring fire, this evening will invite you to celebrate your personal sexual energy and your body. Using guided visualization and tantric dance, we will invite more sexual energy into your body and into your life. You can channel this energy to ignite creativity and pleasure. Our gentle and easy practices will allow you to feel more life force while removing blockages to your sexual fire. You will leave this evening feeling more sensual, more energized, and more in tune with your body.
$15 advance/$20 walk-in* To register go to www.purepleaureshop.com
In the morning as I sat down to write my cat insistently, as is her way, demanded my attention. While turning around she hit me in the face with her tail several times, bumped my hands, stepped on the keyboard and became so overexcited about getting me to pet her belly, she fell off my lap in an undignified thump. After which she jumped right back on with the same enthusiasm as before, enthusiasm to love and be loved. And then I thought about my clients and how often in session I hear about how afraid they are to be seen as less than perfect, as clumsy or capable of mistakes. And how this leads them to hold themselves back, from their partners but also from their own enthusiasm and passion and therefore from their own ability to love.
What I hear a lot about in therapy are the limitations people put on themselves, the smaller and smaller worlds they create to fit in only the things they feel are acceptable. I see sex lives that have dwindled to a series of “safe” interactions that won’t require anyone to risk being embarrassed. I see couples who say that they don’t know each other anymore because they have each been editing what they say and do for so long. I see people starting relationships by hiding the fullness and complexity of who they are and squashing the wonder and fun that could be there.
When we are editing and watching ourselves with a critical eye, not allowing certain sides to come through, we are not fully available for our life. Enthusiasm and passion require that we throw ourselves in, flaws and all, and see what happens. They ask of us that we let our world be big, big enough to contain what may grow and develop. Whatever flaws you have are so much less important than the adventure you could be having if you let yourself. Love your flaws as a sign that you are fully present and engaging in life. If you don’t tumble off the metaphorical lap now and then, maybe you aren’t letting yourself love with enough enthusiasm.