February 28, 2014

The Ins & Outs of Penetration. ~ Zoë Kors {Adult}


Men are built to penetrate, not only anatomically, but also emotionally and energetically.

Not too long ago, I was putting my five-year-old son to bed. We were indulging in the practice of finding creative ways to express our enormous love for each other. I told him I loved him so much my heart was going to explode. He took that in, grinned, and in a moment of inspired one-upmanship said, “I love you so much, my heart is going to explode right into your mouth so you can swallow it.”

On another occasion, in a genuine burst of affection, he said, “Open up your love hole, Mom, and let me fill it up.” Terrified by the loss of innocence I might detect, I asked nervously, “Where exactly is my love hole?” To which he matter-of-factly (and to my great relief) replied, “Your heart!”

My son’s expressions of love and affection are devoid of sexual meaning for him. He has no idea about such things, but the energy behind his words got me thinking. I often observe my son moving through the world with ferocious enthusiasm—on the soccer field, on his scooter, the way he hurls his whole body at me when he wants a hug.

It’s beyond how he thinks or acts; it’s who he is. And it’s how he loves.

Neuroscience tells us that that a small almond-shaped structure, deep in our anterior temporal lobe, called the amygdala, plays a big role in our emotional reactions and emotional memories. It is widely accepted that women have smaller and more efficient amygdalas, which enables them to have more emotional memories and engage in what scientists call “ruminative thinking.” There are other gender-based differences in our brains. The right and left hemispheres are connected by tissue called corpus callosum, and men have less of it. Women spend more time acting and speaking from both sides of their brains. Men think and act more linearly, leaving emotion and intuition out of the equation.

According to Simon Baron-Cohen, Cambridge University Professor of Developmental Psychopathology, “The male brain is programmed to systemize, while the female brain is taught to empathize.” Perhaps the most obvious difference in the brains of men and women happens in the womb. A female brain in utero is bathed in estrogen; a male brain in testosterone.

Largely in an effort to understand the nature, causes, and prevalence of autism, Baron-Cohen conducted multiple studies looking at the amount of testosterone a baby is exposed to in the womb and then followed them through their infancy and early childhood, evaluating their capacity for human connection. About testosterone, he says, “The more you have of this special substance, the more your brain is tuned into systems and the less your brain is tuned into emotional relationships.”

All this is not to say that men don’t empathize and women don’t systemize. Each of us is a unique combination of all aspects of the human condition. But there is something compelling in organic gender polarity that has inspired books like John Gray’s, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex, and has made the work of David Deida author of The Way of the Superior Man: A Spiritual Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Women, Work, and Sexual Desire so wildly popular. All we have to do is look around to see and feel how men are more equipped to slide through the world, moving in and out of situations and relationships systematically, without getting bogged down by their emotions.

When I described my heart exploding with love for my young son, the vision was that a warm effervescent blanket would unfurl from my chest and wrap him, contain him and ultimately taking him in. While men are driven to penetrate, as women, it is our nature to want to be filled up by something other than ourselves. The outward expression of this is the way we nurture—whether it’s our children, our lovers, or the world in general. We invite people into our warm embrace.

The passive version of this expression is our desire to be taken, to be penetrated. As women, we hold so much. Most of us have a complex matrix of things and people to take care of—responsibilities. And in the hierarchy of needs, we usually put ourselves last. At the end of the day, we long for a lover to take us away, to force us to let go, to bring us beyond reason—to fuck us senseless.

In the tradition of Tantra, the Divine feminine quality is Shakti—fluid energy, manifestation, and change. The Divine masculine is Shiva, or pure consciousness—the solid, unlimited, unchanging observer. Shiva has no desire, he is the blank screen onto which Shakti projects her desires in full Technicolor drama. When a man and woman come together in alignment with this paradigm, it can be a powerful way to connect not only to each other, but also to explore ourselves and own nature as an expression of this universal principle. Our longing to be fucked senseless is rooted in the desire for Shiva to penetrate the maelstrom of our own dynamic energy and propel us into another state of consciousness—an argument could be made here for the benefits of having “mind-blowing” sex.

The trouble with all this penetration is what happens when it’s not happening.

For a woman, there is a feeling of completeness when a man is inside of her (or a baby, for that matter). She walks around with a hole in her physical body (her vagina, her womb), but also in her subtle body, in her heart.

The question is: How do we cultivate a healthy emptiness?

It is easy to confuse the absence of something as a loss, the space as a vacuum. It is tempting to try to sate the hunger as if we are starving, while we resort to filling ourselves up by eating, smothering our children, or engaging in co-dependent relationships. Ironically, the more we try to fill ourselves up, the lonelier we feel.

In her song, Down to You, Joni Mitchell declares, “Everything comes and goes, marked by lovers and styles of clothes. Things that you held high and told yourself were true, lost or changing as the days come down to you.” Allowing the flow of life, of lovers, and of love requires some willingness to tolerate discomfort, but far less than the suffering that results from trying to fight it or to clinging to things past their point of completion.

Holding our internal space is a muscle that can be developed over time. Resisting the urge to fill ourselves up with something other than ourselves gives us room to connect with ourselves, to recognize our own voices, to feel our own desires. Relaxing into our inner space affords us the awareness of choice. It is a powerful place to feel sovereignty over who and what we choose to let in and out.

As Joni suggests, it all comes down to us.

When we learn to feel complete in our natural emptiness, to embrace the potentiality in the space, we begin to align with the natural cycles of life, birth, death and rebirth, in a way that makes sense of our true nature, as vessels, of life and love.

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Editorial Assistant: Jennifer Moore/ Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: C.W. Bau/ Pixoto

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Genna Ann Dec 19, 2014 6:50am

There is a theology to our biology – inscribed on our very cells, is the truth of the beauty between man and woman. Men are "seed throwers" and women are the "embracers, internal." Our anatomy says it all! So sad to me, is how much PORN has destroyed this intimacy…..

JohnH Aug 11, 2014 10:33pm

Thank you Zoe for your insight into tantric "emptiness". Our gender roles are both biological and sociological, but we have the potential for a full range of yin-yang energies. As a male, I instinctively resonate with your son's impulse to be assertive and penetrate. I too experience the yin feelings of empty, undefined potential. Instinctively I want to fill it with something, but if done too soon and unconsciously the moment is often wasted in addictive diversions. I am reminded of William Bridges' book, "Transitions", where he lists the steps of recovery from loss as "ending", "neutral zone", and "renewal". The neutral zone seems to be the most difficult for Westerners, particularly males. It is a time of disintegration, chaos and confusion. It is the Shakti moment of pure potentiality, what Deepak Chopra calls the "quantum moment" where we get to allow our yang ego to drown in infinite possibility. If we can allow ourselves to empty as you describe, we can begin to feel the the tugs from our deepest yearnings and desires. If not, we cycle back into our habits and addictions allowing our lives to remain constricted and tidy. Your words are deep and bold. You're a pure, powerful channel for Shakti. Namaste.

Debra Gail Jul 22, 2014 3:00am

Brilliant. I can relate to this on so many levels. And I understand where you come from. Maybe society does teach gender roles to an extent, but I believe that a large portion of that is programmed in our brains already. How else do I explain why my son consistently chooses cars, movies with plenty of action, and male-looking stuffed toys over gentler or feminine looking ones over every other option we’ve presented to him? Just a thought.

Either way, thank you! You’re awesome.

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Zoë Kors

Zoë Kors is a writer, speaker, coach, and founder of The Big Libido, and other programs for women. She is committed to shifting the way we hold our sexuality, both individually and culturally, and to cultivating a sisterhood of wildly-expressed women. She lives in Los Angeles with her daughter, son, and dog. She can be found at ZoeKors.com, on Facebook and Twitter