Between oppressive culturalization and the shifting expressions of feminism, I get why Yoni Puja empowerment workshops or an orgy at Burning Man might be appealing—truly healing, even. For some of us, getting greased and going wild is exactly what we need to break the psychological chains and move up our own evolutionary spiral.
I also understand why so many progressive, spiritually-focused women think they might look like prudes if they demur on the free love. It can be easy to feel ever-so-slightly shamed for not being “freer,” as if they’re repressed just because they don’t want to go to the Proud and Powerful Pussy Power Summit and pair up with a guy they just met, to find their orgasmic sweet spot.
FREEING OUR BODIES, MESSING WITH OUR MINDS
Groupthink is difficult to detect in the self-help space because it’s often spun as progressive and undogmatic. It shimmers with a counter-culture glow. It’s especially complicated when liberal content is aimed at our sexuality, where vulnerability and power intertwine so intricately. On top of all that, most of us live in cultures that tout hyper-sexualization as empowerment. Look how uninhibited she is. She is owning it. Very possibly, yes. Or maybe she’s letting a broken system dictate her worth.
It’s confusing. Just when you get your feminist profile in order, you might have to figure out where your spirituality fits into it.
If I’m meditating to transcend my desires, can I still want to be ravaged by my lover?
Where does erotica meet purity? If I’m a feminist, do I have to like porn?
It’s all so personal. So very, very personal.
How you like infinity disclosed is a matter of taste.
– David Deida
From my perspective, I see some ladies in goddess costumes and guys banging on djembe drums who may be masking some unresolved need for Love and attention. The herd mentality in sex liberation circles is as strong as any other, and in that environment, boundaries can be judged as sex-negative instead of sex-positive; discomfort can be labelled as rigidity.
It’s healthy to rebel against oppression, but rebelliousness for its own sake can create another trap. And in that snare, where our natural cravings for Love and acceptance are enflamed, we make a lot of weird things “acceptable” so that we can gain acceptance. But your “no” can be as life affirming as your “yes.”
In all the cross-pollination (and commodification) of global ancient wisdom, “sacred sex” and Tantra teachings are likely the most mutilated. Tantra in the West is currently a fucking mess. Pun intended. Centuries-old Tantra training requires its students to undergo years of rigorous contemplative practice and “emptying of the self”—something that is scarcely mentioned in sacred sexuality workshops these days. In some lineages, sharing what you practice with your Tantric partner is strictly forbidden, but now, anyone can Google sexual positions and Tantra techniques. Broader access to hallowed wisdom isn’t inherently bad; it’s just that the techniques, when applied without any philosophical understanding, can be used as a distraction from true intimacy and illumination.
We lose the compassionate motivation that’s the “Light” within “enlightened connection”. That Light can express itself in lovemaking in a way that is so soft and simple that you float into Spirit, or in a hot, unbridled lust that grinds into grateful oneness.
So even if we trace to the very roots of the pro-abstinence paradigm and the pro-sex liberationists, eventually it all gets dirty…sexy…sacred… pure, and back ’round to the puritanical.
A loving heart can temper the right amount of smut with spirit. Nowhere is this more evident in my life than in the sex advice that my girlfriends and I give each other. If you don’t have some vagina-reverent women friends in your life, please go make some right away. This invitation extends to all fundamentally genitalia-adoring, sexuality-celebrating good humans. A woman who knows the power of her vagina, or anyone tapped into the sheer force of their femininity, will help you celebrate the power of yours. She will throw you a fem-force fiesta if that’s what it takes to get you to see that pleasure is power, and that you should wield your force in accordance with your true nature. My girls and I meet each other where we’re at. Sexuality advice is always tailored—never one size fits all. Because morality has to fit the Spirit. Advice can range from, Sweetheart, you need a slut weekend in Barbados or… You need to get it on in the office supply room by Friday, to… You need to keep your clothes on for a few months and do a sex-tox or… You’ve come so far; don’t give it away too soon.
Loose or focused or somewhere in between, sacred sex moves us closer to our power, not further away from what our hearts truly desire.
Forced freedoms are no more empowering than enforced restrictions. Just because you make free love doesn’t mean you’re freeing your real power. And the inverse is true, too—just because you’re a pure monogamist who likes it missionary style doesn’t mean you’re puritanical. New Age proselytizing is no better than any other dogma. And peer pressure has no place in spiritual work. Or in your pants. Unless, of course, you really want your peers in your pants.
The best response to the complexities of sexuality meeting our spirituality is to become very clear on what works for you. Body, heart, mind, and Soul.