When it Comes to Sex, We Need to Go Deeper. ~ Freya Watson {Adult}

Via Freya Watson
on Aug 21, 2013
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Just when I have no intention of writing yet another article on sex and have turned my attention away, I’m reminded forcefully of why it’s still so important.

Despite all the open and informed discussions that I’ve come across, it seems there’s still a long way to go in our ability to get to a place where sex is simply a non-issue—just a normal and very enjoyable part of being human.

The trigger for my renewed decision to keep writing about sex has come, this time, from a series of comments that were left on a blog regarding female sexuality. As I read through them, I found myself winding my way through a variety of emotions. Annoyance that some of the attitudes still exist at all, and that it is still acceptable to publicly label and judge others’ sexuality. Sadness at the huge gap between how magnificent and beautiful sexuality can be and general experience of it. And wonder at the gap between ancient esoteric teachings of sex as a gateway to the divine and frequent media portrayals of it as dirty and vulgar. The comments on the blog were a sobering reminder that it can take generations to change beliefs in the absence of an individual’s own attempts, or a concerted attempt by society, to speed up that change.

But rather than speak generally about the blog itself, or about the need for respect when it comes to individual expression of sexuality, I’m going to take some of the labels and expressions that were used in the comments and attempt to tease out the underlying fears and assumptions that never fully get the attention they deserve.

It is this deeper level that needs to be addressed in any meaningful dialogue about sexuality as that’s where the continuing use of unhelpful labels and attitudes springs from in the first place. Perhaps by being more conscious of what’s behind them, we may start to move society generally in a direction that has a healthy expression of sexuality and away from one that still shows its discomfort through the inappropriate distribution of titillating photographs and images, through abuse, rape, pornography and a myriad of other less-than-positive expressions.

So, not for the faint-hearted or easily shocked, here are some samples from those blog comments and my own thoughts on the deeper truths that they, unconsciously perhaps, betray.

1. Sexually active women as ‘pawns of male desire.’

In and of itself, this comment is at times true and at times not true. With centuries of repression of female sexuality, it can be difficult for women to rediscover their own authentic relationship to their sexuality and this is really the issue here. We could argue until the cows come home about whether certain women are, or are not, pawns of male desire.

For me, though, the deeper issue here is the lack of healthy models of female sexuality for women to aspire to and insufficient open discussion around women’s sexuality. The temptation, therefore, is for women to step into the models that are created for them by men—men who themselves may not have a particularly healthy relationship to sex or women in the first place. What is needed is for women to create their own direct relationship to sexuality, finding out what works for them, what’s okay and not okay for them (and why), and then having the courage to act from their own place of understanding and personal knowledge. There is now a wealth of wonderful resources available through print and online media that support women in their own journey of self-discovery and sexual empowerment in a way that is healthy and natural. 

2. ‘Slut,’ ‘whore,’ ‘trash,’ ‘ruined,’ ‘spoiled.’

Sometimes it seems that women can’t win. If we aren’t interested in sex, we’re frigid. If we are courageous enough to start to explore our sexuality openly, then these labels start to surface. Enough has been said already about the lack of similar terms existing about men, and about the fact that it is still regarded as an achievement for a man to have multiple sexual partners and wide experience.

I find it deeply disturbing that terms like this are still in common usage when they summon up images of the Spanish Inquisition, witch hunts and other periods when personal exploration and truth-seeking was oppressed. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that I found myself watching ‘Dangerous Beauty’ the night before I wrote this—a film in which a woman’s ability to enchant men through her deliberate use of feminine sexuality eventually led to her being tried for witchcraft.

Underlying the use of terms like these usually lies a deep discomfort with feminine sexuality—among men and women. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help to create the supportive environment which women need in order to discover the healthy models of female sexuality which we so badly need in order to progress past the mainstream models that are currently displayed (referring back to the ‘pawns of male desire’ above). 

3. ‘Taken advantage of,’ ‘exploitation,’ ‘boys can’t help it.

Although the first two of these expressions were about women, I’ve put all three together because I feel they’re all about the same thing, basically—power and powerlessness. Power has always been a tricky and highly-charged subject—how we use, and abuse it; the difference between power over another and self-empowerment; fear of those that hold power (either through personal effort or through an external agent). It is widely debated that it was fear of the power of feminine sexuality that led to its repression in the first place. But that’s not the point I want to make here.

The relevant issue here is our own personal relationship with power. As individuals in a modern society we carry the potential for considerable self-empowerment, but don’t always develop it. It takes time and energy to develop the self-understanding and awareness needed to embrace our personal power—the power we have to make choices and to act in ways that are congruent with our inner truths and values. This is not time and energy spent in a way that is generally valued by our society and so the general approach to power is to allow the few to make decisions about what’s right or wrong and about how we should or shouldn’t live our lives—which, in turn, leads to a sense of disempowerment and fear. 

While there is no debate about whether young women—and men—can be taken advantage of, exploited and abused—there needs to be a debate about how we encourage children and teenagers to develop healthy attitudes to personal power. A healthily empowered individual does not need to prove their power by exercising it over another—their ability to be self-disciplined in their use of power is evidence enough, using it in ways that supports their own positive journey through life and that of others. When it comes to sexuality (which is the rawest form of power), a healthy relationship with power manifests as someone who is comfortable with giving their sexuality full expression within the context of an equal partnership, but who may otherwise use self-discipline to hold back if they feel it is the wiser thing to do in the long run. It also manifests as a recognition of when they may be abdicating responsibility by allowing another to exercise inappropriate power in their lives. 

4. And finally: ‘cum dump.‘

While this was used as a criticism of a woman, it stirred up a deep sadness in me that some men value their sexuality so little as to express their opinion of someone who has been the recipient of it in this way. It seems that female sexuality is not the only area that deserves more open, sensitive and intelligent discussion, but also male sexuality. Whatever about the difficulty in creating new models of female sexuality when they have been lacking, how difficult must it be for men to step away from the models that have been created for them by previous generations which excluded emotion and gentleness and emphasized aggression and high virility.

It is a shared a issue—this need for new models of healthy sexuality—as important to men as it is to women, and both can help each-other in developing a more wholesome relationship to it and in dealing with the fears, doubts and lack of understanding that exist around it.

Without a return to a natural, intuitive and educated connection with sexuality across the genders, neither can hope to progress alone. With a willingness to work together and to make the effort to speak with clarity and calm—individually, within existing relationships and more broadly in society—we can make swift progress.

Hopefully my words will add some support to the many others that are already allowing their voices to be heard as part of a growing swell of reason through the clamor of sensationalist media and knee-jerk reactions that abound. Coming to a healthy relationship with sexuality has immense consequences not only for ourselves as individuals, but also for humanity worldwide and for future generations. Speak up, be heard or, if my words disturb you, at least please listen and reflect.

Like elephant journal gets sexy on Facebook.

Ed: Sara Crolick


About Freya Watson

How we ground our heart-felt truths into the everyday experience of relationships, work and family is the foundation for a lot of my work. Finding our 'truth' is a challenge in itself, but living it day to day is an even bigger challenge. My books are available on Amazon and you can also find me on Facebook and read more on my blog.


10 Responses to “When it Comes to Sex, We Need to Go Deeper. ~ Freya Watson {Adult}”

  1. Sara says:

    Wonderful words. As a young woman, I feel like exploring sexuality has been a haphazard journey of guesswork and intuition. Even though I consider myself a free spirit and an intellectual, only recently have I realized that I can make what I want of sexuality rather than follow a code that doesn't suit me. While always feeling like I was doing what I wanted, I was actually mimicking what I saw in society.

    I honestly think sexuality should be a mandatory course in high school, along with gender studies and anthropology. It would not be hard to train young minds to view sexuality as not only fun, exciting, and pleasurable (all good things!), but also as intimate, respectful, and yes, sacred. I hope one day to at least teach my children that…after I find out for myself.

  2. Jen says:

    Yes.. Yes.. and AND YES! We need to continue to discuss this issue. We need to continue to educate women AND MEN about their sexuality. I am 39, and I cannot believe how uninformed women of my age are about their own bodies. I cannot believe the shame and embarrassment they feel about sexuality. Fortunately, I think growing up in a non-religious household, and with a mother who was comfortable discussing most aspects of sex, I never felt this shame. I always felt free to explore it and myself. I have often been frustrated with labels and assumptions about me because I am open and comfortable with my sexuality. As I am heterosexual, these mostly come from men, who assume that my comfort means that I am "easy" or free with my sexuality, when it is exactly the opposite. I am even uncomfortable with these labels. I, personally, am only comfortable exploring in a monogamous partnership because I do feel that it is about connecting in a divine manner with another human being, and I do not take it lightly.Even with my open nature, I find it difficult to connect with men sexually because of their inability to discuss the intimacy of it Vs. the "sport" of it. They often look at it as items they have accomplished sexually that need to be crossed off some adolescent list they created. That being said, I have no problems with people who do explore with others, and I wish all of these labels would disappear. If we felt more comfortable discussing these matters, these issues would disappear.If we were more comfortable, we would all experience just how divine sex can be as an expression of oneness. We need a sexual revolution for both men and women. One in which we feel free to express who we are sexually without fear. Sexuality is a divine gift everyone should have the opportunity to receive.

  3. Adam says:

    As a young man who has struggled with finding a role model for my sexual being and only ever finding one within myself, I am inspired by this article. The amount of sorrow and frustration I feel on a daily basis walking the path of self empowerment and struggling with the raw power I feel growing in myself, the longing to share who I really am with someone in that intimate space (and discovering more of myself) feels like almost to much to bare at times. The section about self discipline in empowered people really spoke to me as I understand it completely. I have an acute awareness of sexual energy and its power, I have had to exercise my self discipline in many cases where it would have been easy to just take the step towards sexual connection when instead I took responsibility for my own energy and awareness of the conditions surrounding the connection. I sometimes catch my heart numbing to the at times overwhelming negative suppressing energy around sexuality we all are exposed to on a daily bases. I determined when I was a teenager the sexual energy was the life-force, the sacred divine energy. The more I move into manhood I see the corruption of sexaul energy is at the roots of this sickness we suffer. The really scary thing is how hard it is to talk on these matters, there is only one I have in my life that I can. Articles like these one are a good sign in my eyes. Thank you

  4. iamberney says:

    The bottom line to me is that men,in their core, are afraid of women. Not physically and not even intellectually but deeper down. As long as this fear and mistrust continues much of the sexual behavior will continue. How else to control your fear than to control what scares you? If women can be kept as a separate object whose value can be diminished then men have a sense of power and control. It will be an amusing day when men as a whole wake up and realize that they never did have the power and that all this fear has held them back even more than it has the women. The fact that women are even surviving in this patriarchal society is proof of her power and perseverance.
    Yes we must continue to talk about sex and why it is more than just a moment of pleasure. Through this talk many men and women will find their truth and the freedom to be what they really are, to themselves and to each other. We may even see that we are better than we thought we were. Wouldn't that be fun?

  5. iamberney says:

    The bottom line to me is that men,in their core, are afraid of women. Not physically and not even intellectually but deeper down. As long as this fear and mistrust continues much of the sexual behavior will continue. How else to control your fear than to control what scares you? If women can be kept as a separate object whose value can be diminished then men have a sense of power and control. It will be an amusing day when men as a whole wake up and realize that they never did have the power and that all this fear has held them back even more than it has the women. The fact that women are even surviving in this patriarchal society is proof of her power and perseverance.

  6. Freya Watson says:

    It can be difficult to break completely away from society 'norms' – even when we feel we are breaking free, sometimes we are just reacting to what we see, which is useful as part of a journey but is still not an authentic expression that originates fro deep inside us. Happy exploring, Sara.

  7. Freya Watson says:

    Beautifully said, Jen, thank you. Like you, I had the blessing of a mother who was comfortable with the body. Perhaps that is why we find it more frustrating at times facing the attitudes and fears that still exist – we know that really, it can be such a non
    -issue and something which can just flow easily if we c an get out of our own way. Labels have their place if they help us understand and develop more awareness, but most of those above are unhelpful.

  8. Freya Watson says:

    Your comment touched me deeply, Adam. Thank you for taking the time to share. I would love to hear more of your journey and experiences if you ever feel moved to share or write more. There are many who could benefit from hearing how you are dealing with walking as a man with the awareness you have shown here.

  9. Freya Watson says:

    It would be fun! And then women will be challenged to acknowledge and step into their power fully, which is something many still run from. But then again, if we take a very elevated view of it all, it's all the same source of power in the end and we just express it in different ways.

  10. lisab says:

    We definitely need to discuss this issue and I am in huge agreement with all your points. I think we need to say some things about healthy sex and human sexuality very plainly and openly (while doing what we can to remain compassionate and non-judgmental) because all of the unhealthy stuff is far louder, in our faces, and everywhere.

    Instead of allowing people to struggle with guesswork and some kind of intuition about their sexuality, there are many folks out there who could come right out and tell people their stories of sexual liberation minus all the taboo and dirty garbage that our media likes to push on us. Why don't we do that more in this world of sexual slavery, porn, prostitution, and overt exploitation of the human soul? It's a travesty and it's no good for humanity.

    Saying that certain expressions of sexuality are unhealthy and cause suffering can be done without judgment. I think a lot of people don't realize that and these topics get tabled as people begin to get nervous about judgments and issues of guilt. Instead we can acknowledge a level of human suffering that is perpetuated and expressed through sexuality. We can only alleviate that suffering by continuing an honest conversation about what it means to have sex as a healthy human being.