The following "articles" are pages from my journal, largely unedited, centered around the theme: being sexual. Each is a recent step in my long process of trying to become conscious and practical about this aspect of who I am. Certainly they are all personal and confessional. Still, on the premise that my pilgrimage is not totally different from that of others, I share these 'slices of myself' as potential mirrors in which a reader may catch glimpses of his or her own journey back to where I suspect we all were before civilization and/or sin diverted us from knowing our sexual selves consciously.
The manuscript is copyrighted and may not be reprinted or used by others without written permission from me. (1674 Glenmore, Baton Rouge, LA 70808)
Sexuality is one part of human capacity; being sexual is an element of who-we-are. We cannot "be ourselves" fully without also embracing this aspect of ourselves. Certainly we are more than just sexual, but it is equally certain that we are less than our complete selves when we try to be less than sexual.
Here I explore just what being sexual means as I see it. I am trying to become more conscious of this aspect of who-I-am. I also want to amplify my perspectives on the social aspects of sex. What does it mean to be sexual with others? How are these genetic elements of humanity related to our social lives? For this latter study I use the word memes (amplified elsewhere) to represent social forces beyond our skins, in parallel with genes to represent inside forces.
Memesare literally another part of our genetic heritage--that is, they too are genetically based. I might call them our social genes. They represent another part of who-we-are, our social selves, we might say, for distinction from our private selves. Roughly speaking, however, we may summarily think of genes and memes; even genes versus memes--since the elements of conflict between the two become a critical part of confronting the questions I am raising here, namely, how are we to be our sexual selves in our social groups?
Sexuality, I have concluded so far, is not "just" a part of human capacity; it is a major component of who-we-are. In fact, of all the specific and distinguishable elements of humanity--such as, emotionality and rationality, being sexual permeates more of who-we-are than any other part except our ingrained instincts for survival, for "staying alive." More than all else, and permeating the other human capacities too, "making babies"--being sexual with its male and female versions on the same theme, looms larger than anything except personal survival. And even self-survival often seems to take a back seat in relation to self-replication or being sexual.
But our powerful drives for self-replication, our instincts for "reproduction," have proven to be the most difficult of all human capacities to assimilate in society. No other part of who-we-are is so problematic in group life as this one. Genes for sex (with differing male and female types) are the most powerful and influential of all our driving forces, save perhaps, genes for survival. Probably it is this fact that which has led to the evolution of correspondingly powerful memes against sex. The best these social genes have been able to evolve so far, in trying to mediate the powers of sex into the structures of social life, is the rather crude device of suppression. In general, where genes-for-sex say, "Yes, yes," memes are still caught up in saying, "No, no." When genes say, "Do it," memes most often say, "Don't."
Of course some reproduction of species is necessary for society too--but not nearly so much as individual genes are able to make. Just one man, for example, is genetically capable of producing enough sperm to fertilize more eggs than any society would need for babies for centuries to come. So, given this imbalance in what we can do sexually, and what is needed for social well-being, society allows a small portion of sexuality to be acceptable, in very limited and carefully controlled structures, backed by strict religious and civil laws for punishing any stepping over its narrow lines. A tiny bit of pervasive sexuality is socially allowed; but the vast majority of these powerful instincts are dealt with primarily by suppression.
Although the deeper connections and cooperation of sexual and social genes may be seen in careful analysis, at casual glance these genes and memes are in direct opposition most all the time. The problem which I explore here is: how are we to best live among these generally oppositional forces--genes which urge us to do it, and memes which teach us not to and punish us when we do anyway? When I want to when I shouldn't, or with whom I am not allowed, what shall I do? The common social answer is, as noted, "suppress it." "Take a cold shower," or better still, nip these "evil desires" in the bud by repressing lust itself. "Don't let yourself feel these 'sinful' urges. Be above such shameful desires." Etc. Etc. "And if you don't, expect social rejection for the slightest offense, plus corporal punishment for anything more, and everlasting damnation," say some, "for breaking God's laws about immorality."
This, of course, is common knowledge. Everyone knows these answers. Less well recognized, however, are the prices we all pay personally for following these socially effective directions. It turns out that suppression leads to repression, which in turn results in splitting our selves. Denials that are socially functional, indeed oiling the wheels of social machines, unfortunately come at considerable expense for us who learn them well. When I think I am "getting on top" of these dangerous impulses, becoming a "good boy" or "better person," I am unwittingly cutting myself off from the deeper roots of who-I-am as a human as well as social being. In becoming a "better" citizen, via sexual repression, I become a "poorer" person. And complete denial of sexual genes, plus full compliance with social memes, leaves me a truncated creature, divided within myself and far from the happiness I sought when I was earning my advanced degrees in the Schools of Social Memes. My hard-earned illusions of being "moral" as society defines the virtue, though socially rewarded, have brought me to the brink of spiritual disaster.
From my entrapment in this milieu of contradictory directives--genes for it and memes against it (in general terms), and many heartaches as well as soulbreaks between then and now, I am evolving an alternative stance which respects, I believe, the wisdom of both. Seeing myself now as both private and social, as individual-in-groups, rather than as one or the other, and seeing genes and memes as secretly married, rather than as the mortal enemies they commonly seem to be, I am trying to carve out a mode-of-living which acknowledges these connections, respects the wisdom of genes and memes, and guides me in the continual mediation required for honoring both.
In sharp contradiction with prevailing social wisdom centering on suppression, and older genetic wisdom which directs us toward naive expression, I am now finding it possible to be both--that is, to acknowledge and accept the lively, seemingly indiscriminate nature of animal sexuality, and also to accept and respect social directives which seem, on the face, to require genetic negation.
In broadest terms, my emerging answer for myself, in contradiction with conventional wisdom, is: be sexual and act social. Rather than trying to be chaste and not-be sexual, I am learning to identify myself with genetic instincts I have long denied and tried to disassociate myself from. At the same time I am trying to become more conscious of my real social connections--of my younger genes-for-society (represented here as memes) which are much harder to "see" than their ancient ancestors who still know far more about survival and reproduction than about self-sacrifice, social morality, being married, getting along with family and neighbors, let alone, living in cities rather than the jungle.
"Admitting (as though it were a crime)" to myself my apparently natural, ingrained sexuality in private, after years of coping via denial/suppression, is challenge enough; but remaining honest with myself and responsible with others is vastly more so. Still, this is the resolution I am now striving to effect. My earlier learning, when I was able to remain somewhat alive sexually but mainly living dictated by memes, required that I "be honest with others" which unfortunately necessitated that I "be dishonest with myself." While memes are diligent in support of "telling the truth" to others, especially in love or under oath, they are permissive and silent about self-deception. Lying-to-others is soundly judged, while lying-to-self is not only allowed but often rewarded when the results are "better citizens."
More knowledgeable now about the costs in personal well-being of this familiar resolution (with its rewards in social well-being only), I am trying to effect a mediation which brings me the best of both worlds---the world of older genes and the world of newer memes. I want now to be both sexually honest with myself and socially pragmatic with others. I want to cease my sexual denials in service of social acceptance--that is, living in bondage to memes, while at the same time cut off in awareness from genes.
In practice this involves remaining consciously sexual, open to natural inclinations from within, in public as well as when I am alone. At the same time I am trying to be even more attentive to memes, especially when they exert their contrary forces. Then, through the rarely embraced but critically important gift of human consciousness, I try to mediate behaviors which respect both sets of powers. Instead of giving precious energies to judging one or the other, or to rebelling against either, I now try to honor both (especially when I do not understand them) and mediate their differences in my speech and actions--what I say and do. But these efforts to be socially functional--avoiding disruption or violation of social proprieties, are undertaken in the light of sexual inclinations which are often at odds which social directives.
When these conflicts occur, as they often do, when what I "feel like doing" is in contradiction with what I "should (as guided by social memes) be doing," then I try to remain privately alert to my urges, while containing them within the confines of my skin and consciousness, and to act discretely with others. This balancing act of personal honesty and public discretion invites an additional challenge, namely, with deception of others. As noted, and everyone knows, memes support "honesty with others"--sincerity, "telling the truth," and above all "not being deceptive." No such memes exist, unfortunately, about self-deception. But in times of conflict between genes and memes, when my "woulds" are in opposition to my "shoulds," a choice must be made between who to deceive: them or me? Shall I be honest with others and dishonest with myself, or vice versa? But since deception is "bad," as judged by memes, and there is no corresponding gene judgment, the easiest thing is to simply go along with memes.
But then, if I deny awareness of sexual urges I am being untrue to my sexual self in favor of my social self--and back into the split I am now trying to heal. The resolution I am seeking has required a re-examination of the meme against deception. Instead of continuing to see deception as "bad" and honesty (with others) as "good," I now think that I have erred in trying to be honest with others, rather than simply acting honest in public while being honest with myself. So, after reappraising the pragmatics of deception, I now accept the necessity of artful deceptions with others if I am to be at all honest with myself.
These and other issues are explored in the following pages from my journals, which were all written before this overview.
MIRRORS ON THE CEILING
Men are better at what we do
Seeing is easier in the light, and
Therefore masculinity is best served
THINKING ABOUT IT
Men therefore err
Wiser, we talk about security
I have erred, I now think, in my general affirmation of consciousness over nonsciousness in the vast realms of gender differences. Although I still see consciousness, the ability to hold discrete bits of data in "mind space," as the apex of evolution so far, and hold that we are generally better served by staying consciously aware of our perceptions rather than repressing them, I now see that gender agendas vary in this regard.
This seems especially true in the arena of being sexual, of "doing it" and reaching orgasm in the process. I have engaged in my own blind projections when I have tried to get women to become more conscious (as I perceived them) and to talk about being sexual. This, I regrettable see only in hindsight, has mostly been my excuse for lack of nerve to embrace my own sexual capacities silently, as in so many other facets of my life. I have wanted woman's permission and affirmation of my sexuality so desperately because I feared seeing and responsibly accepting this power-filled aspect of my own being. Rather than face my own lack of nerve, I have long engaged in the fantasy of, if not diligent effort to bring about, woman's conscious and evident-to-me "wanting to." Somehow, if she were consciously sexual, it has seemed that my own desires would then be okay.
This long and largely fruitless if not destructive effort has kept me blinded to rather obvious facts about gender differences in regard to light and dark, "thinking" and "feeling," indeed, consciousness and nonsciousness (as distinguished from repression and "unconsciousness"). In so many arenas, I now see, femininity is best served in its primal biological agendas by honoring "feelings" over words, thought, and "reason." Masculinity, in sharp contrast, in its focused-type endeavors, all the way from hunting game to seeking ova, from competing to fucking, is indeed more likely to be successful when it remains sharply aware of its goals and procedures, rather than simply "going by feelings."
Proverbial "mirrors on the ceiling" is far more than an idle male fantasy; it emerges, I think, from these deeper facts about the statistical odds of success when we "know what we are doing" rather than darkly "feeling our way along." We do indeed "need to know" where we are going if we are to increase the unlikely odds of "getting there," especially first.
My personal mode of survival which was based on "good grades," et al, rather than "brute strength," made conscious thought even more relevant than it tends to be in most male patterns of survival. "Seeing clearly" has been, I think, even more significant to me than it is to males in general. I have relied more on sight, especially insight, in my survival than on any other sense; small wonder that I have had exaggerated notions about consciousness, given my dependency on this one frail aspect of human capacities.
So, now I want to recognize more clearly and consciously academic gender differences in regard to the pragmatics of consciousness, as well as errors I have made in projecting ancient powers of permission and affirmation on to women. I want to see what is commonly true (if indeed this is so) about males' properly valuing consciousness and females' equally relevant valuing of nonsciousness ("not thinking about sex," for instance). But more relevantly, I want to find out if I can stop my long habit of filtering sexual awareness through the lens of woman's conscious approval, of looking to Her, as though she were magical, for okaying who I sexually am; and then to see if I can use my data on the pragmatics of female nonsciousness about sexuality to our mutual benefit.
Long after it was true
Summary: I have had personal reasons for not seeing that the values of consciousness differ for men and women. I have wrongly advocated the virtues of consciousness for everyone, without consideration of gender differences. Noting now some of my own reasons for continued blindness, namely, my old habit of looking to mother-substitutes for permission-to-be, including being sexual, and my established mode of projecting power on to women, I turn to attempt more objectivity in seeing these possible gender differences. In general, I note that masculinity is best served with consciousness, but that the genetic values of femininity are equally served by nonsciousness--males by "seeing" and females by "feeling."
Why might this be so? Before looking more carefully at what I have long ignored, I affirm my basic premise that genetics, finally, determine all that we are and do. Though we humans range far and wide from basic biological drives which most essentially focus on life and reproduction, staying alive and making babies, all, I think, is ultimately an outgrowth of these prime genetic imperatives. Were we able to trace all human actions back to their genesis, to analyze in depth all that we do, we would return, I surmise, to scripted instincts ingrained in segments of DNA; in other words, to genes.
But if so, how may these genetic imperatives be reflected in present day sexual functioning, especially in differences between men and women in regard to consciousness about sex? Why may males be better served in our biological drives by increased consciousness and females by maintained nonsciousness? Why, in proverbial practice, man males want mirrors on the ceiling while females prefer to turn the lights off?
First, I note that the initial most primal biological issue in our shared reproductive agenda is female ovulation, that monthly time when a ripe ovum is released from an ovary and briefly awaits the possibility of fertilization by a male sperm. Certainly sexual activities in daily life range far and away from this basic event; we "have sex," or want to (or don't), for a wealth of reasons seemingly unrelated to reproduction itself. Still, I think, the time of ovulation remains at the critical genetic heart of our most primally evolved, pre-conscious, sexual "drives." Even when our more immediate motivations are for permission (as in my case) or power (as often seems to be so for females), still the deeper, longest evolved instincts center, I think, around these magical moments when conception is a possibility.
If this is so, then what is the connection between ovulation and consciousness? And what makes it different for males and females? Insofar as reproduction itself is concerned, the beginning of baby-making, the time of ovulation is equally critical to both males and females. When consciousness is not an issue, as in primates and other life forms yet to evolve consciousness as a possibility, both genders are focused on sexual activity at those times of "heat (estrus)," when conception is a possibility--and are generally disinterested when it is not.
But with humans, given the addition of consciousness, the possibility of "thinking about it" rather than "just doing it" by instincts "without thinking," the scene changes dramatically. The ancient historical time when "estrus went underground"--that is, when consciousness began to evolve, thus inviting other agendas to the sexual arena far beyond reproduction alone, is the critical turning point. Earlier, in eons long ago, humans too, as is so for animals still, must have been open about sex; that is, because reproduction was the only motivation, both males and females, like bulls and cows, for instance, were equally focused on determining the times of female ovulation and "having sex" just at the propitious moments when conception was most likely. Female "heat" was open for male determination, primarily by smell of body and urine, and females themselves were openly in quest of male sperm at their peak times for conception. No shame or other far afield motivations cloaked or encouraged being sexual together.
But when males lost our wondrous smell-determining abilities, and when females, through the emerging gift of consciousness, learned the powerful arts of deception--of hiding their times of ovulation when they were pregnable, and pretending to be able to conceive when they were not, then the whole primal script changed radically. No longer could males simply "go by their noses" and "trust females to be open and honest" about when they were truly ready to conceive. If males were to reproduce themselves, as dictated by the second most primal and powerful drive imbedded in all their Y chromosome influenced cells, then they had to "get smarter" than bulls and other pre-conscious creatures ever needed to be.
Even if their noses remained perceptive (which doesn't seem to be the case), still the female use of deceptive "perfumes" and "make-up," along with seductive activities widely separated from times of ovulation, required increased discriminative abilities for successful males. The nose no longer knew all that needed to be known. "Thinking" became necessary for discerning the times of now "underground" as well as cloaked female ovulation. Only the "smarter" (more successful-through-consciousness) males would tend to survive. Those still trying to succeed through smell and female presentations alone would be soon phased out of the evolutional process.
In the hierarchy of male sense evolution, the primary powers of smell must have been gradually supplanted by those of sight and thought--"eyes" for beauty (essentially beauty is a synonym for conceive-ability in its most primal sense), and "brains" for de-coding emerging skills in female deceive-ability about when she is "in heat" and when she is "just fooling" for other pragmatic reasons of her own. Both "looking for pretty girls" (conceive-able females) and discriminating between female deceptions would have been furthered by greater consciousness rather than by older habits of relying on nose and obvious female "heat."
Although the physical sense of sight is certainly more determined by evolved ocular equipment than by mental capacities, skills in knowing what to look for, how to "see" below the make-up and deceptive clothing of females, would certainly be enhanced by careful "thinking" (consciousness). And certainly "seeing-through" the manifold deceptions which females have evolved capable of effecting in the concealment and pretensions of conceive-ability required mental skills which could only come through increased consciousness.
In other words, it seems to me, consciousness was required for male success in reproduction after "estrus went underground" in the long process of human evolution. No longer able to rely on smell and female honesty (open presentations at times of ovulation) for "knowing when to do it, and with whom," males who were successful in replicating their genes must have evolved stronger capacities for "seeing"--both physically and mentally. We must have developed both sight and insight--"head-eyes" for skills in seeing-through make-up, clothing, and other estrus-cloaking deceptions, and "mind-eyes" for discriminating between various sexual deceptions (acting sexual when not ovulating, and acting cool when actually heated). The brutish males who only sniffed and fucked indiscriminately would, I speculate, have been gradually weeded out by the "laws of the jungle," namely, "survival of the fittest," and thusly by those who were more successful in replicating themselves.
So, my theoretical notions are that male consciousness would have every reason to evolve, while continued male nonsciousness ("living like animals") would, being less and less successful in reproducing itself, tend to diminish as a masculine genetic attribute.
Meanwhile, if masculine consciousness were evolving for sound biological reasons, feminine nonsciousness would face no such imperatives. Indeed, given increased powers in male management after estrus became hidden to males, females would have good reason to avoid further consciousness, continuing to be nonsciously sexual along with the escalated values of acquired deception.
Deception for survival had been written into the evolutional script long before humanoids entered the scene. All evolved creatures inherently possess skills in deception--first, in avoiding being eaten by other creatures, and secondly, in acquiring food and other satisfactions more efficiently. Humans, in this regard, are no exception. "Deception," we might say, "just comes naturally." But not so with awareness of deception. It is one thing to deceive "unknowingly" (without consciousness), but quite another to both deceive and know-that-we-are-deceiving--that is, to hold our deceptions in mind-space while actually performing them. It is much easier to "deceive naturally"--as is so with all other "lower" life forms, without "knowing what we are doing," than to consciously choose fooling others.
Given eons of evolved skills in such practices, females, as with all creatures of both genders, can "naturally" (without "thinking") fool others. Although a minimal degree of awareness may be useful in improving such skills, expanded awareness soon becomes a considerable liability which reduces rather than enhances effectiveness in deception. We all do it better, given our common evolutional history, "when we don't think about it." This fact if further strengthened by social values which support "honesty" and condemn "not telling the truth." We are all taught to "be honest" and "tell the truth," that is, to be "straight" rather than devious with others, open rather than deceptive. We receive no social support or training in the arts of lying and fooling others. Only nature "instructs" us here. If we are good social students we learn to deny the impulses of evolution and to present an aura of honesty. Often, as in my case, we get so good at ingesting social values that we only see ourselves as "honest," and do not at all recognize our inherited skills and regular practice at deception-in-service of genetics. Along with our ingrained fool-ability, we eventually, if not early on, learn to fool ourselves even more than we fool others.
My point here is simply to note that "fooling others comes naturally," but that holding this ability in awareness places us in conflict, both with social values as well as the easiest way to do it. When all our mental abilities are dedicated, by inherited skills, to artful deceptions in service of self-survival and enhancement of circumstances, we perform ("without knowing it") more effectively. Consciousness about deception requires first that we choose to place ourselves in jeopardy of social acceptance; then we face the even more difficult issues of holding potentially destructive evidence about ourselves in awareness, all the while acting to the contrary. Acting is a considerable challenge within itself; but acting well while conscious of acting places great demands on the fragile gift of human consciousness. It is far easier to lie when we "think we are telling the truth" than when we know we are lying. Even with the long range dangers of self-deception, the common practice of fooling ourselves into believing that we are "being honest" must be universally easier than acknowledging our deceptions while continuing to practice them artfully.
(The Clinton grand jury tapes are being played today. The major issue, at least the stated one, is determining if he lied under oath. This is also about the profound power of law and social approval in regard to "telling the truth" and not "deceiving others." Never mind that we have eons of evolution as well as years of personal training for guiding us in being dishonest and deceptive about sexuality.)
Now back to the subject: I am only noting that while female deceptions about sex are a naturally evolved capacity (only a small part of huge cross-gender human gifts in this regard), they are most easily effected (as are all other deceptions) when done nonsciously rather than consciously. And my observation is that females hence have good reasons, both socially and selfingly, for remaining nonscious about their deceptions in the sexual arena as well as elsewhere.
Just as men have reasons for becoming more conscious about sex in order to enhance success, so women have equally good reasons for remaining nonscious about the whole arena.
Although determining the time of estrus is equally important for both male and female in the reproductive drama, woman's best way of knowing is vastly different from man's. Whereas man, since he lost smell as a determinant, must rely on what he sees and thinks, woman has a wealth of internal knowledge to weigh in her speculations. Her monthly periods, related to times of conceive-ability, bring bodily changes for clues as to when ovulation may take place. These clues, however, are best "read" by "feeling" rather than "thinking." Body knowledge, brought to awareness by attention to sensations and emotions, is far more relevant, I surmise, than anything she can see or figure out.
And such information is best garnered by respecting nonsciousness--that vast reservoir of data that comes to awareness through feelings, not thoughts. Paying attention to how she feels, her "unconscious" directives perceived in moods, emotions, sensations, comforts/discomforts, etc., proves to be far more revealing of ovulatory facts than does any consciously gathered information. Woman, concerned with conception, is thus better advised to "do it" when she "feels right" than when she "thinks she should."
Furthermore, given the intricacies of ovulation, the movement of an ovum down a Fallopian tube, plus the bodily changes necessary to receive sperm at the proper time, "feelings" remain a far better guide than any consciously-arrived-at information can ever be. Certainly such nonscious data as "feelings" bring is not infallible; but in comparison to that which may be "thought out," as man is limited to doing, body knowledge far outweighs head knowledge.
The point: even when reproduction is the shared goal in having sex, which is certainly not always the case, the relevance of consciousness and nonsciousness is diametrically different for males and females; male odds are improved by sharp attention to what he can see and figure out, activities primarily done consciously, while female chances for success are advanced by strong reliance on "feels right"--that is, respecting nonsciousness over conscious opinions.
Moving past these genetic speculations which are less subject to objective proof at the present time, I note other immediate data which supports the same premise. Once shame entered the human scene, and social directives sent sex to the closets of the mind as well as bedrooms of the house, natural sexuality was changed forever. No longer do males and females, like bulls and cows, openly seek and respond to female "heat" (times of estrus). The additions of sex-for-pleasure and sex-for-power, as well as other complicated psychological reasons, all shrouded in guilt and shame, not to mention secrecy and legal ramifications, make the logistics of intercourse today far more complicated than natural inclinations can wisely resolve. Now, much more "thinking" is required to navigate among these complex and often conflicting factors, each of which bear considerable consequences.
The question is, who will take the responsibility for such "planning"--which requires conscious attention to data and logistical details? At this point three other factors become relevant: first, in the evolutional economy of reproduction, males have evolved to produce vastly more sperm than females have ova. Sperm, we might say, are highly expendable; "there are plenty more where that came from." On the other hand ova are few and precious. "There are none to waste." Secondly, the ease of male ejaculation in comparison with the complexity of female orgasm changes the nature of productive intercourse. Thirdly, the consequences of copulation are far different for males and females. A few moments of pleasure for him may mean a life time of labor for her. Social consequences are also different. He, often, can brag about what she is more likely to be shamed for.
These and other social factors combine to make "doing it" a more pressing issue for males than for females. Males, with discernable reasons, as everyone knows anyway, are much more "interested in sex" than are females who, with equally understandable reasons, are more "concerned with security" than with copulation. And with greater desires for "doing it" more often than female feelings would reasonably support, males predictably acquire the responsibility for "planning sex" (which requires consciousness). After all, they "are more interested in it."
It follows then, logically I conclude, that in largest perspectives males have more genetic as well as social reasons for becoming and being conscious about sex. Females, in contrast, have stronger biological and immediate reasons for remaining nonscious about the whole subject.
In conclusion, I again note that my life-long habits of denial and projection have blinded me to obvious information about gender differences in regard to sex and consciousness. I now see (think) that when wisdom prevails, males are best advised to be as conscious as possible about being and acting sexual, whereas females may find greater satisfactions as well as success by continuing to function nonsciously. This means that a "good man" will reasonably "think about sex" (literally), while a "good woman" may with equally good sense "go by her feelings" rather than "thinking about it." Indeed, it may be as dangerous for a woman to become conscious about sex as it is for a man to remain nonscious about it. Her risks include letting conscious reasons interfere with sound body knowledge best recognized through feelings rather than ideas.
Also she will face the challenges of "knowing about" her many genetically evolved deceptions which are both biologically and socially pragmatic, and of performing them well at the same time. As noted, deception of any type is always easier when done "without thinking" than when such a potentially rejective act is done consciously. A woman who risks consciousness about the ingrained "wiles of women" which function well with no thought or training required, invites challenges she may be unprepared to cope with. Better, I think, to be nonscious and effective in wielding sexual powers than to be conscious and hindered.
I do still believe that consciousness is better in the long run for both genders, even if more immediately productive for males. But I now respect that such an ideal may be a greater challenge for females who already function with reasonable success while holding sexuality in relative nonsciousness. For myself, my issues will focus on greater acknowledgment of masculine impulses, greater respect for the female situation as best I can discern it, withdrawing my blind projections on to women, and learning to function more wisely in the social world where I find myself.
Wonder if I can....
I write, don't I,
Memes are social genes, existent forces in our midst which operate independently of any individual, yet to which we are all subject; for instance: one such meme allows a woman to expose her breasts to a doctor, but not to a neighbor. Gender is a summary word for the effects of genes found on the X and Y-chromosomes--those that make us women and men.
Here I want to explore what I see about the relationships between memes and females/males. What, if anything, is different about how these social forces impinge on women and on men? Are they "kinder" to one than the other? "Harsher" on either?
First I see that memes are generally repressive on genes of both genders. Their primary drives must be to control the often rampant forces of genes which interfere with effective functioning of social structures. In the largest sense, genes are about survival and reproduction and hence about "selfing" and sex--"being selfish" and "doing it." Memes, in their largest goals, seem to be primarily opposed to genes; that is, they direct us to "be unselfish" and "moral," meaning carefully restricted in being sexual.
But past these huge generalizations I see distinct differences in ways memes relate to female genes (X chromosome effects) and to male genes (Y chromosome traits). In the largest picture, I think that memes are far "kinder" to women than to men, and much more harsh about male attributes than about female traits. This is the dark space I want to explore more fully.
In this looking to see what I think, I hope to avoid the pitfalls of judgment, with the inevitable results of envy, shame, or self-righteousness. I don't intend to judge what I see; only to try to look more clearly at the data available to me. I want to try to de-code some of the images related to gender in society which still dictate much of my present living. I want to bring these shaped perceptions into the sharper focus of conceptions, so that I may more clearly acknowledge what my actual experience has been--all this on the more relevant path toward absorbing my insights into myself.
One other preface: established and scientifically accepted gender gene connections are yet poorly defined. We still know very little of how X and Y-chromosomes actually reflect in the distant arenas of social interactions. I have, I know, made quantum leaps in my previous identifications of gender genes and social actions. I suspect, however, that in time, as genetic explorations become more complete, my "educated guesses" about the effects of X and Y chromosome genes will be largely confirmed. In either case, I acknowledge that many of my conclusions about the effects of male and female genes are speculative and based on my own experience rather than objective science. But even if I am wrong about genetic roots, looking at these differences in social memes seems significant to me in being truthful about my perceptions of gender realities.
Now to specifics. Arenas of differences I see include: overt sexual awareness (consciousness vs. nonsciousness), "doing it" often vs. rarely, same-gender sexuality, overt vs. covert seduction, sexual values (sex vs. security), physical touch, looking vs. "looking good," pornography vs. shopping, voyeurism vs. modesty, competing vs. cooperating, promiscuity vs. faithfulness, being hard vs. soft, fighting physically or verbally vs. being peaceful and agreeable.
In every arena where I am able to see differences that I associate with gender genes, it seems to me that memes are more favorable and supportive of genetic female values than of male virtues. Lest I fall into judgment and "poor little me" excuses, I want to speedily note that I also observe the higher correlation between female and social values, than between masculine virtues and smooth working groups. It just so happens (darn it!) that what works best for the female role in our common Reproductive Drama also works best for society in general. In contrast, "really good maleness" is disruptive at best and destructive at worst when loosed in social contexts. Men, it turns out, are better "geared" (engened) for the jungle than for the cave, for the woods than the city, for the yard than the house, for being alone than with others, and for war than for peace.
Consequently, memes have wisely evolved favoring powerful X chromosomes over their weasely Y counterparts. It's not that female values are better or inherently more righteous (even though we often fall for believing this to be so) than are male attributes; but it is that they are more practical in oiling the squeaky wheels of society, keeping us bonded in groups rather than chasing doggies on the lone prairie or killing off all the competition as well as offspring of our male predecessors (as lions do).
But acknowledging the social values of female traits over male attributes does little to ease the potential problems which emerge from these differences, and certainly does not relieve me of daring to look more clearly at them on my longer quest for accepting-what-I-see, on the way to becoming what I know.
Now I want to speculate about the major problems that I think emerge from them. In general, I think they are female self-righteousness and male shame, based on blind reactions to the powers of memes. Since memes predictably tend to support what females naturally do anyway (given that their values are more shared), while they look less favorably on genetic masculinity, women must be more tempted to accept the social affirmation personally, as though they themselves are "right." At the same time, men, more often socially shamed for "being themselves" (openly activating their genes), must be likewise tempted to "be ashamed of themselves" (as social voices may in fact say).
The sins of self-righteousness and self-condemnation (pride and shame) are monumental in regards to living well in this Garden of Eden which is here. Although they may serve society well in keeping us responsive to the often-fragile powers of memes, they are ultimately destructive to us as individuals in living a good life now.
A second potential problem, past these that are more spiritual in nature, lies in the abuses of power that may emerge from the personal sins of pride and shame. When, for example, women who are already more genetically powerful (given two X chromosomes in every cell), come to believe that they are also "right" (to be self-righteous) in their values (since memes tend to tell them so), then their inherent power advantage over males becomes even more exaggerated. Males, in contrast, beginning with lessor engened powers (due to the small Y in the place of a much larger X chromosome in each cell), and conversely tempted to shame when we listen to the voices of memes, are more likely to experience a reduction in our already imbalanced position. In common parlance, women may be more tempted to become Witches, while men, with contrasting temptations, may become Wimps or S.O.B.'s.
Once we fall into these familiar traps (more often blindly than awarely), two other disasters are common: unconsciously seeing themselves as "right," along with their inherent and acquired power advantages (also most often denied in awareness), women may engage in spiritual overkill with men, especially those they love. Men, conversely, not recognizing either our inherent genetic disadvantages (due to Y chromosomes) or the extent of our own shames resulting from listening to meme messages, are apt to exaggerate our physical prowess's (more muscle mass) resulting in various forms of female abuse (physical, sexual, and economic).
These resulting conflicts tend to become even more exaggerated because females biologically desire strong males (for reproductive and security reasons); but when females fail to recognize the extent of their emotional (if not physical) powers, resentments arising from male weakness may reflect in abusive uses of their own unfaced genetic and social powers. Males, unwittingly playing our own parts in this devastating game, not accepting either the inherent imbalance of powers between females and males, or the extent of our personal shames which reflect in "pulling our punches" (trying to "be nice") with females, all too commonly turn into Ass Holes, S.O.B.'s, or Wimps. In either case, all lose in the long run.
Some ideal times they are the same
I want to explore the nature of being sexual and its relationship, if any, with what is commonly referred to as having sex. There are natural expressions of every form of being, such as, fleeing in fear (fear is one form of being), attacking when angry (anger is another), or having sex when being sexual; but the human capacity for consciousness, when it is embraced, allows a small but significant gap between being and doing, where choice may enter in. It is this tiny space which gives rise to the question I explore.
This late-to-evolve capacity for consciousness is, I think, the source and genius of human civilization; without it we would still be living like other life forms which remain primarily moved by genes. It is this gift of time which allows human options less available to other animals--such as, waiting rather than running when we are afraid, of smiling rather than hitting when angry, or of being sexual but not having sex.
But with the gift lies the potential for a human curse to which other "lower animals" are not subject, namely, the splitting of self between natural genetic inclinations (the "wisdom" of evolution in the jungle), and the social knowledge existent in memes. Falling for this curse, we (certainly I) disembody our sense-of-self from the forces represented by genes and identify who-we-are with the powers personified in memes. We try to "not be animal" and "only be human"--that is, to not-be our genes and only-be our memes.
It is the familiar division between genes for sex and memes for morality, personified in individuals such as I, which I am exploring here as I attempt to become more conscious about how I have learned to live my life so far.
Definitions first: By being sexual I refer to a pervasive state of genetic being, surpassed in power and duration only by being selfing ("selfish"). Most often the two are intimately intertwined. But selfing genes for survival of the individual, being older than those for sexual reproduction, are more ingrained and less subject to awareness (we are less likely to "think about" digestion of food than about sex). The effects of genes for sex, partially because they are younger and perhaps because the logistics of having sex require more conscious attention, tend to be more in awareness. Consequently, even though selfing genes are older and more powerful, sexing genes invite more attention (call for more consciousness).
I use the word sex to represent the entire reproductive process, even though we more commonly use this word to refer to "it (as in 'doing it')"--that is, the act of intercourse only ("fucking"). Also I broaden common usage to include both gender roles in the Drama of Reproduction. Woman's role, in fact, including gestation and child rearing as well as conception, might well be given a more descriptive name; but here, since I focus on the male role which does clearly revolve more around "doing it" than "raisin' kids," I choose the single word sex for a part of being which is cross gendered (about human rather than gender being), as well as for the differing roles in reproduction of the species.
Summarizing: being sexual, as I use the phrase here, refers to a way or state-of-being which is comparable to being emotional--that is, a given part of our biological heritage symbolized here by genes. Having sex is a phrase I use for genetic urges both of males and females toward the activities of our complementary (often different) roles in the reproductive process. The male role is more easily focused in having sex ("fucking"), while the female role begins here but is far more expansive than merely "doing it." Still, to limit my terms in this exploration, I use having sex for genetic drives both of males and females.
As noted above, being sexual and having sex "in the jungle (prior to the time of consciousness and memes)" are naturally the same--that is, when animals "feel sexual (are 'in heat')" they usually have sex if mating is possible at the time. In our natural human condition, I postulate, we too would have no gap and potential division between the two. When conditions were "right," we would "do it."
But obviously this is no longer the case (if it ever was) for most of us civilized humans. Consciousness has both allowed and generally resulted in a significant division between the two--even an opposition or split. As noted in the introductory poem, our options now include: being sexual without having sex; or having sex without (relatively speaking) being sexual; using having sex to avoid or short circuit the larger nature of being sexual; or being sensual (a variation of sexual) to avoid the challenges of having sex in our society which is so sexually repressive; or limiting each to lesser than natural degrees (being a bit sexy but not nearly as sexual as humanly possible, and having a little sex, "doing it" occasionally); using having sex as a power device totally disconnected from its natural biological function (especially by women).
I am trying now to see more clearly the difference between these two subjects which I have previously kept intertwined as though they were one. Being sexual is the subject I am trying to tease more into my awareness as I try to discern between the two. Being sexual, as distinguished from only the activities associated with fucking, is the ideal I seek. This state of being is a vital part of human existence, especially for males, and is the source of our greatest powers as well as the heart of the male self. Having sex is more of a pragmatic issue in baby-making, marriage, and society. As noted before, it may or may not be connected with being sexual in the existential sense of this phrase.
My goal, as I now see this difference, it to recognize and properly attend to both, to balance the different requirements of each. Being sexual is a major personal issue, essential in salvation, good living, presence, and heaven here. Having sex (or more often not having sex) is mostly a pragmatic social issue insofar as intimate relationships and society are concerned. Its basic biological function in baby-making, though essential in self-replication and continuation of society, is a relatively small part of the powers presently associated with having sex ("doing it").
My errors, before recognizing these distinctions, came from ignoring the first and giving all my sexual attention to the second. I have had the two subjects so identified as the same--in practice if not in my mind's eye, that any degree of being sexual inevitably led either to attempts at repression of "evil lusting" or some effort to have sex. Being sexual and contained--that is, existing sexually and aware, without any attempts at either denial/suppression or acting out, was not an option. If I "felt sexual" (became aware of being "turned on"), then I had, or so I thought, to "do something about it." The only two choices I had, so far as I knew then, were to either repress these urges or engage in activities aimed at having sex.
A second error I have made for longer than I can remember lies in looking to woman for permission to be sexual/have sex. Of course I was unaware of this consistent error at the time. I must have learned so early--at mother's breast?--to look into the eyes of woman for permission to be my natural self, including being sexual, that the habit was ingrained long before puberty and overt awareness of sex ever appeared. This, I now think, was/is but one aspect of the powerful meme which I call Mother's Smile.
A third error which I have long been trying to correct--with some success in theory if not yet in practice, was buying in to the social/religious values which surrounded me while growing up. Learning local values is, of course, immensely pragmatic in survival and social success; but falling for them, taking them in at cost of denying genetic knowledge is something else. The second mistake is the one I made. I did such a grand job in accepting surrounding social values that I completely ignored or suppressed those I was born with, namely, my genetic values.
In the largest sense, social values, as noted before, are relatively synonymous with genetic female virtues, and are threatened by male values, especially in regard to being sexual. These contrasts appear in the valuing of security over sex, covert versus overt sex, "family values" versus harems, "House Beautiful" versus "Playboy," decoration catalogues versus male pornography, etc. The upshot of such blind acceptance of prevailing social values was that I unwittingly "bought in" to female sexual virtues while diligently trying to deny inherent masculine traits which are not consistent and supportive of female values.
So what is being sexual as distinguished from having sex? Fucking is easy enough to break down into seduction, foreplay, and "doing it; " but how does this process of acting differ from the existential state? Being sexual, as I now see it, is existing with real genetic sexuality acknowledged, embraced, contained, and responsibly activated in society. It is essentially a personal issue--a matter of nerve and sense; nerve to see what society denies (e.g., childhood sexuality, family sex beyond the incest taboo), to see social repressions, and to own one's own suppressions in service of family/social values. Sense is required for the artful deceptions necessary to stay oneself and fit in with family and society, both of which are crucial in good living.
Some of the pragmatic issues involved include: confronting and getting past "false" guilt associated with sexuality in general and specific activities, such as, masturbation ("playing with yourself") in particular--without becoming socially irresponsible. I put false in quotes to imply a distinction from real genetically based guilt. Certainly any guilt which is felt is perceived as real; and social guilt, that learned from breaking social rules (e.g., "don't play with yourself"), is truly felt. But to get back in touch with real guilt, which only arises from breaking connections with genetic reality, requires working one's way through the "false" or socially learned shames (such as, a child "caught" playing with genitals may hear, "Be ashamed of yourself."). If he follows orders and learns well, he thereafter will.
Past such "false" guilt, this practical issue involves, for example, relearning to "play with one's self"--meaning to consciously engage in sexual activation through "self-stimulation." This regrettably inadequate term is chosen because no other common words other than the harsh name masturbation are yet available for the gentle moves of becoming "turned on" privately. The kinder phrase, "playing with one's self," is intended here to include moves of body and mind which acknowledge and activate one's natural, given sexuality in all its diverse arenas. Touching ("playing with") genitals is, of course, the most overt form, the one technically referred to as masturbation; but sexual activation in awareness (getting "turned on") may occur through thousands of other sensations, such as, licking one's lips, stroking one's body, being "tickled," savoring food with tongue and taste buds, crossing and uncrossing legs, plus seeing, smelling, and touching countless other objects which invite sensuality.
"Playing with one's self" in this sexual sense includes mind as well as body. In the playful arena of thought, commonly summarized as "fantasy," we may be mentally "tickled" (excited sexually) through entertaining an immense variety of images, only a few of which are overtly sexual in nature. Getting over "false" guilt about exciting fantasies, often called "lusting" in one's mind (which, in Christianity is "just as bad as doing it"), opens the door to expanding being sexual from body only to the larger dimensions of mind as well.
But reclaiming one's natural right to "play with self" also includes one's social self--that is, self-in-society. Such "self-stimulation (physical and mental)" done well is an enhancement, not an escape from relationships. And it carefully avoids conflict with social rules and civil laws, such as, those related to nudity, "exposing one's self," or becoming a "Peeping Tom." To be sexual thus includes both one's private and public "selves"--that is, being attentive and responsive both to one's memes as well as genes. To simply pit one against the other, to either rebel or comply with one or the other, is to miss the fuller nature of being sexual.
Sensual, I think, is a polite name for sexual. When sensual gets naked, sexy appears. Sexuality is rooted in sensuality. Perhaps sensual is a better name than sexy for woman's overall role in reproduction, since overt sex ("doing it") is a relatively small part for her. Women, I note, more freely use the word sensual, while avoiding sexual. Maybe I prefer sexual simply because I am male; in either case, I want to clarify the connection between these two words which are often seen as distinctly different in nature.
I think they refer to the same basic human capacity, even though named as if distinct. The real difference, if any, is only a matter of degrees; sensual expanded becomes sexual. Becoming sensual is but an earlier phase of what will eventually become sexual if it progresses. Since sensual is a more socially acceptable word, while sexual comes closer to being obscene, it is "polite" and therefore may be freely used in private thought or social conversation with less judgment attached. This may be why women prefer to think of themselves as sensual more easily than as sexy. Or, in the larger picture, perhaps it would be more accurate to reverse these words and see sexy as but a small part of the larger human capacity for sensuality. Social judgment and female preference may be less a factor than is real non-gendered experience.
Language issues aside, the dark space I am trying to see into is what being sensual in the sense of existing with senses-turned-on, somewhat excited, mildly pleasured, has to do with the primal capacity for being sexual, which is more identified with stronger "turn ons," even erections, on the way toward orgasm. Are the two sets of words, aside from issues of judgment and politeness, just names for lessor and greater degrees of the same human experience (as I stated above)? If I move past "what others think" and simply examine what is happening within my body, will I find the two to be essentially the same? I think so.
A gender difference I note may help clarify: women seem to be more comfortable with sensual experience which is separated from sexy, while men tend to be less at ease with apparently non-sexual sensuality. Men more freely accept overt sexuality than we do the softer elements of sensuality. Do we each but use our focus on one end or the other of the same scale because it fits our differing roles in reproduction? Are women more concerned with sensuality, as reflected in romance vs. fucking, in holding and touching vs. screwing, because it is more relevant to their role in baby-making? And are men more focused on sexuality, on the overt stages of sex, because our role does indeed center there? Do women delay sex and men avoid romance simply because of our differing biological gender roles? I suspect so.
But if we move past these roles in primal reproduction, if we examine the continuum of sensual-sexual apart from its place in baby-making, what is its place in good living in general? And more particularly, how does embracing this non-gendered human capacity relate to the memes among which we all live?
My thinking so far is this: first, I believe that all human pleasure ("feeling good," fun, excitement, being "turned on") is rooted in the two primary instincts for self and species survival, namely, staying alive and making babies, being selfing and sexing. The drives in the second arena tend to be more conscious because they are the youngest (in the long times of evolution) and because they require more attention to outside logistics. But the genius of evolution is the eventual attachment of pleasure to what works in regard to these major sets of genetic directives, of "feels good" to "works good" in the survival of self and species.
Consequently, I think that our most conscious senses of pleasure are primarily rooted in what I call being sexual (with male and female variations on the common theme). Past the "feels goods (or tastes or smells)" related to self-survival (breathing, eating, defecating, etc.), all other "good feelings (personal pleasures)" we experience are related to various aspects of sexuality. The pleasures of sensual experience (exercising the senses of sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste), even though far removed from overt sexual activity, are, I think, based in biological sexuality. We may, for sake of politeness and propriety, or for grammatical accuracy, distinguish between sensual and sexual, but in reality the two are only opposite ends of the same theme in one human capacity. Sensual naturally leads to sexual, and sexual always begins with sensual.
Women, with their given roles in reproduction, are more naturally focused (now I can say it clearly) on being sensual (indirectly sexual), while men, with our complementary roles in the same drama, are more genetically inclined to focus on being sexual. But in fact we are each but exercising our shared capacity for "being pleasured" (for "feeling good") which emerges from biological urges toward reproduction. Call it what we will, being sensual or being sexual, the roots of the capacity are, I think, the same; only our gender-based focus is different.
Just as women may use being sensual
Or at least I have
The point of noting these differences, and the common root of both forms of pleasure, sensual and sexual, is so that we may move beyond entrapment in either of the gender-based roles that emerge from the one capacity. Men, commonly (certainly I in particular), tend to get trapped in a focus on sexuality while ignoring its sensual counterpart; women, in contrast, often, it seems to me, become lost in search of sensual pleasure which is cut-off from sexuality. Thus erring, men try to be sexy without being sensual, while women try to be sensual but not sexy. Women want to have romance without going to bed, while men want to take a woman to bed without "wasting time" (which only a male would think) in romance.
I, I see in hindsight, have feared the threats of expansive, mysterious, unfocused sensuality when not obviously connected with sexuality. Only when I felt safely sexual have I comfortably focused on refined sensuality. I have used being sexy to avoid risks I felt in being sensual, just, I imagine, as have some women used the safety (to them) of being sensual to avoid dangers related to overt sexuality. I have been more willing to "be romantic" when I imagined that sex was a possibility, or as a ploy for seducing a woman who felt safer with romance than with sex, but I am only now beginning to face my capacity for enjoying sensuality for its own sake--even when overt sex is impractical or impossible.
I can now see too how I may have mis-labeled (in my own mind) many female activities as "seductive (related to the process of overt sex)" when they were in fact more related to sensuality pure and simple (unconnected with the latter end of the scale). Many aspects of everyday female behavior, such as, bathing, skin care, putting on make-up, wearing silk underwear and soft outerwear, artistic dressing, ways of moving and walking, etc., may in fact (can I have been so blind for so long? Yes!) be but ways of enhancing their own sensual experience, and have absolutely nothing to do with "unconscious seduction."
Certainly I want to respect biological feminine ploys which have evolved over eons of time and are operative even in little girls without any consciousness of overt sexuality; but perhaps I am now ready to begin seeing the larger picture which females must have always seen--namely, how to experience the wonders of sensuality when overt sex is not relevant. In general, I have noted long ago: women know more about being sensual than about being sexual, while men know more about being sexual than about being sensual. Perhaps now I am ready to begin decoding my observations (mental images of reality) into my own experience, to practice what I have long preached. I hope so.
Perhaps homophobia, specifically, male threat of homosexuality, is more deeply rooted in a fear of being sensual than in a fear of being feminine. Maybe we have historically confused feminine and sensual, and faced only the lessor threat so far. Perhaps the greater threat lies in wholeness, in moving past gender differences to embrace personhood, our common human capacities that precede and underlie gender traits evolved for reproduction only. Whatever the larger picture may be, I see now that my homework in pursuit of wholeness, of becoming my fuller self, of moving beyond masculinity only, includes accepting capacities which I have previously only seen projected on to females, and even then only recognized as related to male agendas (e.g., seduction), rather than simply for what they appear to be. For instance, wearing silk "sexy" underwear--I note my projection of "sexy" when in fact females may have an entirely different agenda. What is "sexy" to me may in fact only be "comfortable" (literally, sensually satisfying) to women who dare such personal "good feeling."
My avoidance of silk underwear ("sweet nothings") may be more related to the natural pleasure of continual genital stroking than to my more conscious fear of "being female" or gay. And do women wear perfume more for their own sensual pleasure than for "attracting men"? And could the sensual delights of mixing colors with forms and shapes of clothing be more at the heart of such daily female practices than with any "appeal to others (especially men)"? My goodness! This seems so obviously true to me now that I write it, after years of being caught up in my own projections. Well aware of how little it takes to attract male attention, and of how excessive most female focus on dress is to males, I have completely missed the possibility that females really do "dress for themselves" (as they often say), rather than for "unconscious seduction" (as I have commonly imagined).
Perhaps this is just one more example of what women know about the pleasures of being sensual, even if they are (as we males often imagine) less attentive to the fun of fucking. Maybe in my attention to "female repressions," to the scope of feminine "denials" and "unconsciousness of sexuality," I have completely missed the extent of female knowledge about being sensual, and more particularly the size of my own ignorance in this regard. How much have I used females to get close to my own denied/unembraced capacity for being sensual as well as being sexual? A great deal, I now suspect.
My goal, given this emerging awareness, is to try to translate these theories about wholeness, about the rootedness of all pleasure in self and sex, and the connections between being sensual and being sexual, into practice in my daily living. If sensuality is the beginning, and perhaps larger basis, of sexuality, I want to give more attention to embracing my own capacities for this first end of the scale. If I have feared sensuality and rushed to sex to protect myself from its wider parameters (there is much more room in society for being sensual than for being sexual), then I want now to face such threats more consciously. I want to be aware of any resistance I may continue to exercise out of habit to my own possibilities of sensual pleasure, even as I easily attend to sexual sensations. I do not want to use being sexual to evade larger and previously missed pleasures inherent in being sensual, even when fucking is a possibility (which most often it isn't).
And as I become more capable of conscious attention to sensuality, I want to be more respectful of social and female circumstances which, for whatever reasons, prefer to keep overt sexuality obscene. I want both to be wiser in leaving sexuality in darkness when it is socially feasible (without at the same time suppressing my own awareness), and to use previously wasted energies given to encouraging female consciousness about sex (even requiring it before I acknowledged my own) in my own efforts to become more sensual myself.
In summary: I believe that being sensual and being sexual are in reality part and parcel of the same human capacity for experiencing pleasure that is primally rooted in reproductive urges which I identify with "sex." But I want to move beyond any conflicts between these two ends of the same scale, at least within myself. That is, I want to be as diligent in embracing my sensual possibilities as I have been in acknowledging my sexual urges. I do not want any longer to favor one over the other, and certainly not to use one to evade or deny the other. I want to avoid both the typical female and male attempts to divide the two, using one to escape the other. Instead, as I am able to become more freely sensual, I want to "get smarter" in my relationships and in society--that is, while remaining personally attentive to my own capacities for both, I want to respect the modes and memes of others, and to use energies previously given to "helping," et al, to more wisely achieving my own desires (being myself) and loving others whenever I can.
On the continuum from
I am beginning to see how I have not only projected my sexuality on to women, in the forms of permission to be as well as power to become, but also my capacity for being sensual. I have long seen the connections between sensual and sexual, and now believe that they are but opposite ends of the same continuum--that is, that being sensual is the front end, the beginning of being sexual. When nature prevails, the first proceeds easily to the second, while the second flows naturally back to the first. Good living by Mother Nature's standards, past the deeper demands of attention to survival, involves a constant, rhythmical interaction and flow from one to the other, then back again--like a sine curve arched into a circle.
Being sensual, as measured by time, occupies the larger portion of the scale--perhaps 90%, while being sexual is briefer in chronological duration. But what being sexual lacks in time, it makes up for in intensity. Sensuality is slow, leisurely, and relaxed as it moves naturally along the scale approaching the faster and more exciting elements of sexuality. As intensity builds (more blood in less space), so does the level of inward tension as one moves, with greater pace, toward the climax which signals both the end and the beginning--the end of one cycle on the continuum, and the beginning of another.
Ideally this normal process of being sensual on the way to becoming sexual structures most of one's time after, and even during, time required for the more primal issues of self-survival (food, clothing, shelter, etc.). Easily, even casually, and with little conscious attention required since the process is now so innate, one who is in touch with nature moves through the 90% times of the first into the 10% periods of the second, then just as easily continues the circle which is made up of these rhythmical pulse-like movements.
In this ideal state there is no tension or conflict between the two which are but phases of a single whole, the "stuff" of a major portion of human life in Eden. No energy is wasted in, for instance, trying to be one but not the other, or in judging either as good or bad. Instead, the same energies are given first to enhancing this normal process and secondly to fitting it wisely into the social world where memes hold the upper hand over genes.
But meanwhile back at the ranch, where we mostly live (certainly I), they are. The juices of life are dissipated by women trying to be only sensual and men trying to be only sexual, both trying vainly to split the continuum into their own special halves. And then, of course, there are the predictable judgments of one against the other, the proverbial Battle Of The Sexes. Women, naturally more skilled at the arts of sensuality, given the pragmatics of tenderness required for baby-making, judge "tenderness" and "caring" (signs of sensuality) as good, and "put down" on overt sexuality. Men, in predictable contrast (with millions of sperm to spare), judge women as "cold" and "frigid" or "hung up" on beautifying themselves, when they do not freely fuck at the drop of a hat (sign of a prick). And both women and men thus exit ourselves from Eden by attempting to break, albeit unwittingly after long practice at our opposing sins, the natural flow of energies within our bodies.
I, more specifically, as confessed in the poem above, have, I see only in retrospect, been caught up in blind exaggerations of overt sexuality and persistent denials of my capacity for covert sensuality. Just as I have projected the powers of permission and "turn on" on to women, so I have, with perhaps even more consequential loss to myself, projected my possibilities of conscious sensuality on to femininity in general. Only second-handedly, through attention given to supporting and enhancing feminine moves and materials used in their sensual delights, have I come close to the expansive realm of being sensual. And even this second-hand pleasure has been undercut by judgments of "excessive attentions" to "beautifying" when I felt I was being denied permission to be sexual myself. What a convoluted paradox of projections and denial!
Aside from my theoretical knowledge about being sensual involving conscious and careful attention to the senses--sight, sound, touch, etc., I do well to look again to women for clues to understanding that which I have so long projected on to them. First, I note again that I now think I have erred in seeing what I consider "massive attentions" to "beauty" (of self and spaces) to be all about "appealing to others," or "attracting attention." Perhaps these have been involved, and even the conscious focus of females who, for instance, give such careful attention to "appearances"; but I now suspect that enjoying sensuality--the delights of being sensual may be at the deeper heart of many such efforts. Even while thinking, perhaps, that they are "fixing up for others," maybe enjoying the process (the sensual pleasures involved) has been the truer moving force.
In either case, I think I have much to learn from women about how to go about being sensual (just as they, if they cared to, might learn from men about being sexual; but that's another issue). Some of the arenas for my learning which I now see include: attention to body and skin--to bathing, touching, oiling, stroking, and otherwise stimulating the nerves which "beautifying" requires; to the potential fun in "being careful"--that is, to remaining conscious and alert to bodily safety, but in the process exercising delight in the active sense experiences required for "taking care."
For me this means going past natural pleasures which I now enjoy in taking risks, which is most easily seen in "not being careful." Without losing this awareness or avoiding the fun of chance-taking, I want to also learn more about the sensual delights which I now see are possible in being more bodily alert, attuned to sense experiences, as is required in "being care-full."
Past care-full as related to possible physical danger, I want to also expand my pleasure in sight sensuality, that is, in arranging things in ways which "please my eye." Although I have previously only seen these typically female efforts to, for example, make the house "more beautiful," as being about "what others think," I now suspect that their greater motivations have lain in "pleasing themselves" visually--that is, in experiencing being sensual in everyday living. "Making things work" as in fit together harmoniously for the eye, is new territory for me. I have previously only know about the fun of "making things work" functionally.
But fun is fun, whether for function or sensual delight. Time now for me to learn the latter as well as I already know the former.
Also I may learn from women about the sensual delights of clothing, e.g., soft under and outer clothing. Maybe the deeper motivation of females has been a long and now forgotten (in consciousness) knowledge about what "feels good" to the senses. I know about clothing as functional, e.g., pockets and chaps and belts; but I know little about dressing to "feel good." Can I become more sensual in this arena too?
Also with smell; I have assumed that perfumes, etc., were for appealing to the noses of others. Maybe I have been wrong here too; perhaps females simply know more about how to keep their own noses engaging in sensual delight all day long, with only minor motivation being "to attract males." In either case, smell is another arena for my attention to being sensual.
So with the taste of foods. I have mostly eaten for nutrients, that is, for function only; I have hence eaten fast and with little attention to the finer sensual delights of taste, presentation, slowness of chewing, use of tongue in extended tasting, etc.
Likewise with sounds. I have mainly been attentive to the meanings of words and functions of clear communication, with little awareness of harmonious connections of words, let alone the sounds of music. Of course I have "enjoyed some music," but I have given minimal attention to surrounding myself with sounds I like, even as I have ignored smells and tastes.
Only when the senses seemed directly related to being sexual, as in seeing "pretty girls" or looking at pornography, have I been at all diligent in sensual delights. Perhaps now I can expand beyond the narrow confines of sexually related stimuli to include the almost infinite varieties of tickling of the senses in ways which may eventually lead to overt sex, but are, in the mean time, as I imagine all females already know, more immediately experienced as sensual pleasure alone.
I intend to see....
Another pragmatic issue in becoming sexual involves acquiring a non-judgmental language as a step in moving past the practice of judging sexuality. Judgments, aside from the ill effects of sin, interfere with normal awareness and sensible decisions. They are a cop-out on the Creative Process of moving easily from images to concepts to becoming. But the fact is that almost all our available words for specific elements of the general subject of sex--bodily parts as well as physical activities, are either "dirty" and therefore obscene, or so academic as to be outside the dimensions of common human thought. Even if we can pronounce them, which often is difficult, still they feel stilted and unnatural, cold and impersonal--all in contrast to what "feeling sexy" is truly like.
The significance of this problem is hard to overestimate. Full awareness, as I have amplified elsewhere (see my book, The Creative Process, also on this web page), requires moving from perceptions to images to concepts to minding; but the nature of such "thinking" is that the move from images to concepts requires words and language. If we are to hold more than a picture in mind (remember more than images) we must have names--symbols for elements in the picture. We might, as twins sometimes do in private, create words for personal use; but in practice our words and language are acquired from others, from the society in which we are born. Would that we could receive all language as innocent words only; but alas, not so. With all words, we also get the meme powers with which they are inevitably associated in our local society. We get, that is, not only the words, but also the judgments that are socially attached. Briefly in early childhood, for instance, one may get the word "do" to stand for "bowel movement"; but as soon as "do-do" becomes "shit," all the meme powers of "dirty" come with it.
And such judgments inevitably interfere with the easy flow of thought. If attention must also be given to being "good" or "bad" because of judgments associated with a word, then such "double thinking" (about both the subject and the social judgments) cannot but be taken from energies otherwise available for "sense-making" alone. If a child wants to--and I suspect that all children naturally do--think about "it" (where babies come from and what adults do in the dark) then some more definitive words than the neuter pronoun "it" are needed. But "intercourse" is long, bulky and deceptive, since it also applies to talk; "copulation" is likewise academic and long. "Fuck" is simple and clear, but the social judgments attached to this easy word are so immense that no "good" child would dare to use it, even in thought if not aloud. So, past "it," where is a kid to go for acceptable words needed to move from images (noises in the night from parents' bed room) to concepts required for further sense-making?
And so with adults. If we are to bring the dark subject of sexuality into the light of consciousness, we must have words. No choice here. But what words? If those available are either academic, hard to pronounce, or tainted with powerful judgments, what can we do about a functional language for thinking about sex?
This is the pragmatic problem I note here. Since no such simple, judgment-free language is available for this generally suppressed subject, we have no choice but to either create one of our own (devise terms which we easily recognize as representing the various aspects of being "turned-on," for example, or else "clean up" (in our own minds) those which are given in tainted form. However we confront the problem, we must somehow acquire acceptable words which are readily available for naming sexual subjects without at the same time resurrecting powerful memes of "false" guilt commonly associated with them. For myself I have generally gone back and tried to reclaim those words of childhood which, when I am able to move past associated shames, do seem to work for me.
Of course, the problem is not simply academic. When I am able to disassociate acquired guilt (separate words from social memes attached) from primary sexual words, any will do. It does not matter, once one can move past memetic powers, what words one uses. "A rose by any other name...," or "intercourse...," etc. But meanwhile the problem remains and, if I am to think clearly, I must continually be alert to finding descriptive, understandable words, while at the same time avoiding the pitfalls of judgments easily associated with any language about sex--and, all this for private thinking before anything is said to another person, placed in the public arena where powerful memes yet reside.
Genes related to being sexual lead, when allowed, to various physiological states and urges which often conflict with powerful memes also present at the time. The logistics of honoring both without negating or judging either become another challenge in the process of embracing the human capacity for being sexual. Notable among these are: opening of peripheral blood vessels which allow blood flow to expand, resulting in blushing, flushing, and enlargement of genitals ("erections" in males and enlarged clitorises in females). These, obviously, can be problematic in social situations where memes are at work suppressing any sexually related expressions.
Blushing and flushing, with lessor powered memes at work, are or course easier to shield. Clitoral enlargement is also less of a problem, given its size and the concealment allowed by female clothing. But male erections, even in their beginning stages, can be difficult to hide due to the way men dress.
Concealing these physical conditions when memes call for hiding and judge them "bad" can become personally challenging. The second element in meme power, namely, the judgments ("you shouldn't be attracted to him/her," or, "you're not supposed to be sexual here," etc.), is often more difficult than the simpler logistics of physical concealment. Blushing, for instance, may be hidden either by makeup or by looking away; but the embarrassment which accompanies blushing, the false guilt associated with it, can be a real problem. And embarrassment about these earlier signs of sexual arousal is relatively easy in comparison with more pervasive guilt likely to be associated with feeling sexual in the "wrong places" or with the "wrong persons."
Sexual urges also, as everyone knows, naturally lead, especially for males, to looking, talking, and touching--all of which are in conflict with common memes. In polite society we are "not supposed" to "be staring" at others, especially at attractive others or their more sexually related parts (e.g., penis and butt or "tits and ass"). Pornography, which may allow for safer looking, is either "obscene" (another meme), illegal, or both. And except in the confines of gender-separated company, almost all talk about sex apart from academic teaching and carefully moderated jokes is socially obscene. The consequences of even "suggestive language," let alone "crude jokes" or overt discussion of sex, are notably dangerous in society.
Certainly almost all touching, apart from casual rituals allowed in greeting, plus physical expressions of comfort or affection which are carefully separated from any sexual connotations, is disallowed by powerful memes (usually backed by civil laws). Only in social dancing or "bear hugs" which are carefully kept neutered are physical contacts between the genders allowed by memes.
The point: physical inclinations of genes to "become aroused" or "turned-on," evidenced by blushing and expanded genitals, plus urges to look, talk, and touch, are commonly in conflict with powerful memes. Furthermore, the power of these memes varies from place to place, person to person, and circumstance to circumstance. What, for example, may be highly dangerous with one person, may even be desirable with another. What leads to greater acceptance with one may result in total rejection or even civil arrest with another. What then is one who would be sexual and socially responsible at the same time to do? Easier resolutions include sexual denial and repression ("Who me? I don't feel anything!") or social rebellion and "acting-out." But each of these result in negative consequences, the first internal (splitting of self) and the second external (social rejection or even incarceration).
The challenge, and the wiser course of action (it seems to me), begins with respecting both genes and memes, rather than judging either (e.g., "lust" as bad or "nice" as good). Then careful attention to the powers of each is called for. With genes, this means allowing sexual inclinations, whatever they may be, into awareness, rather than suppressing them and becoming "up tight." With memes, it means being carefully attentive to the ever-shifting powers in changing social circumstances. Then, the physiological changes, plus urges (to look, talk, and touch) are to be contained and appropriately hidden/revealed, depending on personal goals and meme powers present at the time.
Finally, wisdom calls for an alert and sensitive merging of all these potentially conflicting forces: specifically, concealing or revealing physical signs of excitement, carefully glancing or looking away, monitoring words and speech sharply, and appropriately touching or keeping physical distance as guided by intentions and memes. In the constantly changing tides of personal and social circumstances, such wisdom is a considerable challenge for me.
Male and female "interest in sex" is naturally different, as are present-tense sexual interests of any two persons at a given time. Only in the rarest of times do cross-gender and person-to-person degrees of conscious sexuality coincide or converge. This challenge involves respecting these real differences, plus the sexual integrity of each person, and managing the logistics of seduction or private pleasures.
Perhaps the most obvious of these differences is reflected in the proverbial female notion that "all men think about is sex"-that is, the biological fact that males are genetically geared to "have sex" more often than females who inherently have responsibilities far past conception. Men, when nature prevails, want to "do it" more often than females who are equally honest. "Regular" sex is fitted with male genes, while "occasional" sex best describes natural female desires. Consequently, men do "think about sex," that is, look for potential partners, want to talk sexually, are inclined to touch females, and "feel like doing it" more often than women.
The problem then, in monogamous relationships--which are strongly supported by current memes, is: how are such differing degrees and times of sexual interest to be merged without disrespecting gender differences or doing violence to the sexual integrity of either the man or woman? Unless one becomes totally subservient to the desires of the other, how are the logistics of timely orgasms to be managed? How is a man to be true to his genetic self with a woman who equally respects her own female heritage, and vice versa?
The easy answers have traditionally been for husbands to have affairs and wives to "do their duty," or for husbands to become "hen-pecked" while wives "decide when." But in either of these familiar resolutions, serious consequences are predictable in time. The wiser course, it seems to me, begins with a basic respect for natural differences, avoiding the common judgments (supported by various memes) that men are "over-sexed" and that women are "frigid," plus the all too familiar "put-downs" of each by the other. Instead, compromise-with-respect makes more sense to me. This means initially that each will "give a little"--men, should such sense prevail, will first of all contain their natural desires rather than immediately projecting them on to women around them; women, correspondingly, will move closer to the edges of their natural desires, making more room for overt sexuality than their own genes direct.
Then, within these tolerances, men will give more attention to artful seductions--given the slower nature of female arousal, and beginning long before a time for overt sex. Women, with similar wisdom, will pay more attention to their own sexual urges and to the seductive moves of men, making more social space for both. Sometimes then, mutual sexual satisfactions--sex together with orgasms, will become more predictable than assorted withdrawals, "giving ins" with resentment, or "holding outs" with malicious glee and promoted imbalances in gender powers.
Still, after all such mutually satisfying sexual experiences together, basic genetic differences are likely to be encountered in any extended relationship. Even with tolerance, compromise, artful seduction, and loving acceptance, real differences will predictably remain. Men will naturally want more sex, with variety, and women will naturally want "better" sex, less often.
Short of socially dangerous extra-marital affairs or personally destructive inner-marriage repressions, how may these real differences be managed in a context of mutual love? Each of the resolutions I have found so far involves additional challenges which I will amplify next; but first I enumerate the elements: artful and loving deceptions, pornography and romance novels, masturbation, and sexual acting. These elements, when wisdom prevails (which is yet rare for me), are mixed and merged in skillful degrees as each partner becomes personally responsible for their own sexual satisfactions separate from each other but in relationship with the other. Differing degrees and interests, when mutual satisfaction is impractical or impossible, are pursued privately, respecting the sexual integrity of each partner as well as the delicate balances required in a loving relationship.
The first prerequisite for the above resolution lies in confronting typical sexual dependencies common in male/female relationships. Before the required elements can be merged in action, one must become sexually independent, both emotionally and practically--that is, own and accept responsibility for his/her genetically given sexuality, rather than projecting and leaning on a partner for activation and satisfaction. And of course such a process occurs by degrees. I, for instance, have long been dependent on females both for permission to be sexual (to "turn me on"), and to act overtly sexual in any way. Although I may have been dependent to an unusually large degree, I suspect that such dependencies are far from rare.
Whatever the case in this regard, some degree of sexual independence allowing for conscious responsibility for one's own being sexual, is necessary. I cannot be artfully deceptive, masturbate effectively, or act sexual lovingly beyond the degree of my owned sexuality. When I am dependent on others for permission, "turning me on," or sexual approval, I am to that same extent, incapable of merging differing sexual interests in positive ways.
"Ceasing dependency" or becoming sexually independent is primarily a personal "emotional" or spiritual matter. In such a move I must accept the fact that almost all of the sexual stirrings I experience arise from within my body--the framework of parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems as structured by my own genes. Although "gene eyes" are geared and hence moved by what they have evolved to see, still the basic roots of all sexuality remain within our own skins (or so I now believe, even when I act otherwise). I may "think" that she "turns me on," but in reality I believe that most of my sexual initiatives come from genetic masculinity, not from, say, "tits and ass" or many and varied other female "seductions."
Thinking (and writing) about sexual independence is difficult because almost all available language begins with premises of dependence and personal irresponsibility. We commonly think, for instance, of being: turned on, ex-cited, stimulated, and "made happy (to feel good)." Each of these phrases places the power "out there." We cannot even say, in good English, "I am cited"--as I believe is more literally true, since there is no such word. We must, so far as language is concerned, be ex cited or moved from without rather than within. Even if I say, "I am turned on"--meaning personally aroused, still the words imply inner impotence and external power to "make me" so. "Stimulated" likewise places the arousing force "out there" (as in "tits and ass," or, a "strong man").
But language difficulties notwithstanding, being responsibly sexual requires moving past these social limitations. Perhaps projected sexual responsibility is so pervasive that even thinking about "sexual independence" is so uncommon that we have not needed words to speak of it. Even so, I find no way of both remaining true to what I believe to be my given sexuality and to the social responsibilities which surround me, other than via owning my impulses as my own.
The only path which I have found to such independence lies through "growing up"--that is, through expanded consciousness (as I am attempting in these writings) and movement from Stage 3 to Stage 4 of the Creative Process. When, as I understand this state, I cease some of my habitual dependencies and become more alert to genes as well as memes, I discover, paradoxically, that I am both more normally "cited" and less "turned-on" or ex-cited by others.
This freedom makes more room both for the delights of being sexual and the challenges of being responsibly so--honoring genes and memes.
Commonly, "ass hole" is a sharply derogatory as well as obscene label. Its utility in harsh judgments of a person arises, I think, not only from deep-seated associations between shit and dirty, but also a disassociation of self from this "dirty place." Far past obvious and sensible reasons for "cleaning ourselves" after defecating, and disposing of our "waste by-products," there lies, I surmise, a profound and widespread attempt to clean ourselves as well as our anuses, and to define who-we-are as distinct from such "dirty" places.
This disassociation, if I am correct, may be a useful meme, promoting social values which are beneficial to all, beginning with parents and extending to one's entire community; but in regard to genes it becomes extremely problematic, especially when we come to being sexual. Biologically, shitting precedes fucking--that is, we begin defecating at birth but only become overtly sexual at puberty. Of course we are naturally sexual long before puberty (or so I believe), but the functions of elimination are more primal and relevant much sooner than the activities of sex.
And the genius of Mother Nature lies in ingraining pleasure with what works for Her purposes--in this case, defecating for survival as well as sexing for reproduction. Natural bodily pleasures occur earliest in the "relief" of urination and "bowel movements," and later in the delights experienced in being sexual. So far, so good; puberty takes time. But the problem emerges because She has also placed the orifices and organs essential for each so close together that we can hardly distinguish the pleasures of one from those of the other. Both " feel good." And stimulation of one seems to spread to stimulation of the other. So far as our head knows, we simply "feel good down there." Who can draw an accurate line between the minor "relief" of peeing or shitting, and the major "relief" of a successful orgasm?
These biological facts become relevant to being sexual when we have in some deep emotional way separated our selves from our anuses, seeing the first as "clean" and "good" but the other as "dirty" and "not me." Pleasure, it turns out, is pleasure--no matter what its source; but if I try to experience genital pleasure while I am cut off from anus-as-self also, then I am in a significant double bind. Ass hole and penis (or clitoris) are so near to each other, and the nerves involved in their similar pleasures so intertwined, that fragile consciousness allows no such clear distinctions in associated delights.
But if I choose to be sexual and thus evoke genital pleasures, while at the same time caught up in a life long attempt to not-be my "dirty" anus, then I am conflicted when "good feelings" begin to flow "down there." Furthermore, in the logistics of intercourse or masturbation, touching this "bad hole" becomes highly likely. And if it is "dirty"--especially in a spiritual sense, then I must "be careful," a squenching process which inevitably interferes with the "letting go" required in approaching orgasm.
Only to the degree that I am fully embodied, including ass-hole-as-self, can I let go and move out of ego-as-self into a wondrous moment of immanent transcendence which we mundanely call "orgasm." "Becoming my ass hole" thus means getting past the powerful negative meme which we commonly attach to anus (simply, in reality, a functional orifice like nose), so that I can safely and easily move into these bodily spaces which are nerved for the pleasures of defecation and sex.
Although scientific data is not available to me for confirming this idea, I suspect that the pleasures associated with elimination are more deeply rooted in our genes than are those attached to reproductive processes, since self-survival is more primal than self-replication. Probably in actual experience we encounter anal pleasures first, both through defecation and the touching involved in "cleaning," before we become conscious of later-to-appear pleasures associated with genitals. Then, due to the difficulty of delineating one source of pleasure from another, anal pleasures phase into genital delights and are never separable thereafter.
The relevancy of this possibility is that denial of anal pleasure, which is first and more primal, would reasonably interfere with genial satisfactions if one were trying to have the second without the first.
Whatever the correct analysis of cause may be, I conclude that moving past judgments of "ass hole" and re-identifying one's self with this commonly seen as "dirty part" is a predictably but necessary challenge in becoming sexual as we are evolved to be.
Another challenge in being sexual in its fuller sense (literally, re-becoming a part of the way we naturally are) appears in the fact that the process must be undertaken in almost complete privacy. Perhaps no other aspect of being, of becoming ourselves, requires so much aloneness. Not only is social education or guidance relatively unavailable, but powerful negative memes surrounding the whole subject threatening any attempt to bring it into consciousness. When we come to language--words for thinking, we face the same challenges. Not only are relatively few words available, but those which are must first be de-memed before natural sense-making can occur.
And even when one succeeds in personally getting past judgments commonly attached to words and language about sex, the generally taboo nature of the subject in public must be confronted. Even with one's most intimate friends or loved ones, these powerful memes are likely to encountered again in every conversation or even mention of the subject. Only in therapy, and there with a highly skilled practitioner, have I found it possible to reduce the threat of sexual memes.
The highly charged nature not only of the subject itself, but of the language available for speaking it, combine to make the process of re-embracing this aspect of oneself extremely problematic beyond the boundaries of privacy. My experience has largely been: "You gotta walk this lonesome valley all by yourself." And as the old spiritual also adds: "Ain't nobody else can walk it for you."
This means that all the other threats of being alone and separate from others, of being "cut-off" and isolated-in-one's-own-skin, of existing "completely on one's own," which are at the heart of human existence itself, must also be confronted in the process of facing this single aspect of self. Just when we may need company, someone else to talk to, an understanding ear or a guiding voice while entering the Enchanted Forest of Sexuality, we may find ourselves more alone than ever before. Or so it has seemed to me.
This problem is complicated by the fact that so many aspects of what I believe to be normal sexuality, insofar as genetics are concerned, are socially viewed as evil, perverted, bad, wrong, or abnormal. Furthermore, these judgments are backed by religious and civil laws with corresponding punishments ranging from mild rebuke to excommunication and incarceration. It truly is socially dangerous to risk revealing oneself while in the process of re-becoming sexual. When this capacity is embraced (or to the degree that it is), one may add discretion to all revelations and hence become safer in public; but while one struggles with the threats of the venture the dangers of honesty beyond oneself are great. Social memes related to sex are among the most powerful of all.
EASY DOES IT
Turned off is easier than turned on
Women don't know if they can stand
Woman's way: sensual but not sexy
Finding flaws is easier
Another challenge in being sexual is facing threats inherent in being "turned on" rather than hiding in the pseudo-safety of being "turned off." I fear being "turned on," literally cited (as distinguished from un-cited or ex-cited), for a number of reasons just becoming apparent to me. Previous attention has gone to my wish to "have fun," my desire to be "turned on" and to live "a passionate life"--or the conflicts between pleasure and duty; rarely have I looked at the possible reasons for such attentions or avoidances.
First, I see that the weight of my experience has been in the latter rather than the former; I have had far more practice in existing relatively "turned off" than in being "turned on." Familiarity may breed contempt in the long run, but at first it gives illusions of safety and comfort. And these "feel good" even if they are costly illusions in time. I know far more about being un-cited than about being excited. And I know even more about being ex-cited than about being cited on my own.
I may occasionally "get" ex-cited, feeling the pulsations of pleasure flowing in my veins; but in the course of an average day (or my lifetime) I have far more time in grade with feeling safely (it seems at the time) "turned down" if not off. Even boredom is more familiar to me than immediate pleasure, let alone passion and ecstasy. And when I do feel pleasured I commonly imagine it to "come to me" or be caused (stimulated) by some external source, as implied in the phrase "turned on." Turned places the power out there, usually in a woman. And ex-cited is the proper term, since ex also implies that the source of my "citement" is external to me. In either case, "it" (usually "she") holds the power which moves me, again leaving me unfamiliar with the personal experience of being "cited" on my own.
These latter facts--projecting the inherent powers of "citement" out there, also lead to the seeming comfort of irresponsibility. If it is not I who am sexual, but she who "turns me on"--or "off," then the whole responsibility for this aspect of myself is projected beyond myself. And while I may delight in her "turning me on," I may also escape responsibility for powers innate in my own cells by blaming my suppressions on her for "turning me off." Empowered flaws, as noted in the poems above, are easier to detect than are internal forces which threaten my illusions of irresponsibility. How "they (usually 'she')" looks (or doesn't)--their perfections or flaws, what "they" do (or don't)--to turn me on (or off), these are easily credited or faulted for my internal state, in either case leaving me essentially irresponsible for my own sexuality.
And blaming, as everyone knows, is easier than being responsible. In summary, the familiarity gained by existing over long periods of time "turned down" or off, being in stasis or bored, in consort with the projection of sexual responsibility, makes the possibility of giving up either a considerable challenge. Insofar as being sexual is concerned, given its inherent thrills and response-abilities, I think that most of us, certainly I, have far too much experience in not-being to let go of our long learning easily.
Past the comforts of familiarity and irresponsibility come the additional challenges of facing social threats inherent in any signs, not to mention expressions, of overt sexuality. Society tolerates, even promotes and builds commerce around covert sex--innuendoes which may be easily denied in consciousness; but any obviously sexual pleasure or practice is apt to bring down the "powers that be" on one so "crude" as to be sexual.
Even if we dare move beyond the familiarity of "being turned off" into the risky existential states of "feeling the flow," riding with the pulsations of pleasure in private, we face many social challenges in being sexual and responsible in public. And since being naturally leads to doing, since im-pressions normally reflect in ex-pressions, since feeling moves us to action, attention to social consequences becomes inevitable.
First, nearly all signs of overt sexuality--being turned on, ("lusting"), looking ("leering"), touching ("fondling"), or talking ("dirty"), are ob-scene, that is, judged negatively in "polite" society. Powerful memes are attached to any such expressions, usually accompanied by social rejection if not legal consequences. And, given the natural inclination to "be honest" to "go naked in the world (when it's not too cold)"--to feel what we feel, to say what we are thinking, and to do what we feel like doing--we are all in an inevitable double bind when we come to being sexual and social at the same time.
Not only is the whole subject relatively ob-scene (off-the-social-scene), but most all the natural expressions of being sexual, past the narrow confines of social structures, are improper or illegal. For instance, genes know little if anything about family "no-no's," social improprieties, or marital fidelities. When they "feel sexy" they simply want to "be sexy" in exactly the ways they are inclined; but such natural inclinations are often socially disastrous. "Monkey see (if he is male)," in all likelihood, "monkey touch." Or more. And, to continue this metaphor: "monkey soon be in jail" no doubt!
So, if we chance being "turned on" inwardly, we then face the challenges of being "turned on" outwardly--in society, with its powerful negative memes and dangerous consequences. We may "feel irresponsible," given long practice in sexual projections (all the way back to Adam: "the women, she...," or, "the devil made me do it," etc.), but once out of the bathroom and into public places, we have no choice but to be responsible--or pay for not being.
This brings the further challenge of "making decisions" which, if done well, require consciousness and reason--both of which are far more difficult than remaining nonscious and either doing what we feel like doing, or being dictated by memes. I have concluded that the ultimate human challenge at this stage of evolution lies in making conscious, reasonable decisions--in any area of human capacities and options, but especially in sexual arenas, where there is no social training or support past negation only.
We are well schooled in "Thou shalt nots...," but most of our "shalts" must be determined on our own. We, alone, must decide what-to-do--what to show or hide, contain or express, say of hold, in each particular instant of social membership. The existential challenges of any conscious decision are expanded whenever we venture into even the edges of being sexual in society. And furthermore, there are no one-time decisions in this arena, where the ever-shifting wonders of passion continually invite, indeed require creativity in every instant and place with every person in time.
Less commonly recognized, but perhaps more consequential in the larger picture, are the spiritual challenges inherent in being sexual with others--namely, of idolatry and condemnation, the ever-present temptation to play god by "setting up" others, unwittingly breaking the First Commandment (Thou shalt have no other gods before Me). Adoration, especially by males of females, is so common and socially supported (especially by females) as to be praised or go unnoticed, with no attention to the idolatry inherent therein. We simply take it for granted, most often, without awareness of the spiritual consequences of playing god by making gods of other human beings. This, of course, is sin in its greatest form.
Unconscious projections of personal power are of course unrecognized when we "set up" others in the place of God, beginning usually with our mothers, but continuing, especially by grown boys, with other females with whom we "fall in love." But the consequences of such "unwitting" sins are even more dangerous than "chosen" sins which, being easier to see, are also easier to repent from.
The flip side of the same sin of idolatry is "putting down" on those we have previously "put up," as revealed in blaming those we once praised, finding faults ("clay feet") in those who, as long as they blessed us, "could do no harm." Gods, as nouns, are always easier than "godding," a participle, because we remain secretly in charge of gods we install; if they fail to "live up" to our expectations (to answer our prayers or "turn us on"), we can always "take them down" (usually at the drop of a hat), changing instantly from praise to condemnation. "Good Mother" easily becomes "Bad Mother" after her milk turns sour and sin is born, as with "Good Lovers" and spouses.
And all these consequential sins are invited whenever being sexual goes public, adding to the already formidable challengers of embracing this human capacity.
Being sexual is essential
Once, for example, they are handed to Eve
To the degree that I am able to face my sins of idolatry--specifically, of worshiping at the throne of Woman and other social authorities, I then confront the threat of powers that may be reaffirmed following such adorations. As noted above, the nature of idolatry involves the psychological phenomenon of projection; internal, personal powers perceived as threatening or dangerous are "projected" out there--that is, seen in the mirror (as a movie projector projects images onto a screen) of the various authority figures which surround one who projects.
But the beauty and effectiveness of this psychological process is that one who projects his awareness of power onto the mirror, e.g., of another person (in my case, my mother), is that one either does so "without thinking (sub-consciously)," or else immediately "forgets" that he has done so. Thereafter it "seems as though (note metaphor)" the screen or mirror (if human, then the other person) actually possesses the power which has literally (no metaphor) been projected (seen reflected in them). It is "as though (metaphor)" the mirror holds or is the power which the projecting one has seen reflected therein.
In the classic "mirror mirror on the wall, who is fairest of them all?" it is "as though" the mirror holds the power of discerning beauty and might then tell the one reflected (projected) there about her own looks.
Lest this psychic phenomenon of "projection" be mistaken as some quirky form of mental pathology restricted to "abnormal people" who are in some degree "mentally sick," I note that the process of imaging (seeing "projected" perceptions) is at the heart of the Creative Process--the normal progression of all human experience when it is not distorted by various forms of "mental illness." Everyone who is normal naturally "projects" or images all perceptions at Stage Two of the Creative Process before moving on to Stage Three, conceiving. That we also "project" or image perceived power (as in Mother's Kiss) is perfectly normal. Probably all children form such images of power early in life when, in reality, most of the forces which determine the quality of their existence are personified in Mother.
But idolatry does not lie in the recognition of real external power, as is true with a baby in its mothers care; it only begins when one fails to continue in the Creative Process, moving normally on to Stage Three, decoding prior images (carefully examining Mother's actual powers) and bringing emerging perceptions of one's own developing powers into further awareness. Here, however, is where I think the sin of idolatry must begin. Rather than daring to continue in the normal process, one opts for elevating real powers beyond the plane of reality--for "setting up" mother (lower case, indicating real person) into Mother who possesses magical (unreal) powers for doing what, in reality, no woman can ever do. Rather than daring to acknowledge and affirm one's own emerging-in-experience powers--perceptions, for example, of developing selfing and sexual powers, one who falls for this temptation "projects" this normal awareness on to an available "screen," say a mother-mirror, and thereafter takes "it" to actually exist "out there" rather than "in here" where the projection began (like in the hidden projection booth at the rear of a theater which focuses on the screen "up front").
Once such projections of personal power are made and the metaphored "projection booth" in the heart the one-who-projects is forgotten, then the "screen" or mirror (e.g., the person who is the recipient of my projections) looms larger than life (reflecting my elevation, adoration, worship, and hence idolatry). The "magical powers" which begin as perceptions of my emerging real powers (e.g., to be myself, including my sexual self), are only recognized, and hence related to, "out there" in the form of idolized One who seems to be superhuman (again, note metaphor: seems to be, indicating that the perception is an illusion existing in the mind of the adoring one, rather than in the reality of the magical person).
Understanding this phenomenon of natural imaging based on "projection," which goes awry in adoration, is useful to me in reversing the illusionary escape from reality--in repenting, that is, from my sin of idolatry. It is here that the threat of power becomes relevant. I cannot decode my superhuman (magical) images without confronting the same personal powers which were originally projected and frozen out there on the assorted screens of my childhood, e.g., "my" Mother.
But why should personal powers, if they do exist, be threatening? Consciously we all seem to want power, to be "in control," to be "in charge of our destiny ('our own boss')," to be able to "make things--including other people, do what we want them to." Yet it is below these familiar conscious desires to "be powerful" that the threats I note exist for me. I want power; yet I fear that which I want. Why? Because, I have figured out so far, I am inexperienced and therefore uncomfortable ("threatened") with being power-filled. I began my projections so long ago, at mother's breasts I suspect, and fell so soon into the idolatry of my images (beginning with her breasts) that I am relatively inexperienced with owing/being the forces so long only acknowledged "out there."
I imagine, in hindsight, that the threats were quite real in the beginning, when my emerging powers to be-a-self first confronted her powers to be-a-mother, when "I" (an infant self as well as "her baby" first found myself wanting something different from her desires for me. Perhaps these conflicts began when I wanted more milk than she had to give, or to stay awake when she wanted me to sleep, or to wake up before she was ready to arise, or to continue defecating irresponsibly by my own schedule rather than "holding it" for the potty, or....? Whatever the arenas of these conflicts may have been (no doubt they occur in the life of every infant and mother, not to mention father who also appears in time), I am confident in retrospect that I must have resolved them, at least partially, by deferring to her greater powers (trying to "be good"--as defined by her), which in time led to my adorations and eventual idolatry.
Idolatry, of course, works; at first. "Being good (or bad)" pays off in the beginning. But an eventual problem--one which becomes relevant here, is loss of experience in learning to become responsibly power-filled, as genetic drives structure us to be. Energies which would otherwise be available for this natural learning are diverted into the activities of idolatry, such as, pleasing the "gods (e.g., Magical Mother and Fearsome Father)" by "trying to be good," or rebelling against them (after the idolatry is begun) by "being bad." In either case, "giving in" or "holding out," complying or rebelling, trying to "be good" or "be bad," become our training grounds. We school ourselves in varying degrees of one and/or the other, becoming knowledgeable devotees or distractors, believers or atheists. In so doing, we leave ourselves unschooled, uneducated, inexperienced in knowing how to be powered-and-responsible, contained individuals in social groups.
We know much about how to be unempowered and irresponsible, how to follow or rebel (or to autocratically but irresponsibly lead), but little about how to be-with-power in a sensible manner (or, in case I project too much, this is so for me). The saying, "Power corrupts; and ultimate power corrupts ultimately," reflects, I think, this common fear. We know so little about being empowered and responsible that we fear "corruption" if we acquire power. Will we be wise enough to moderate and exercise power without endangering ourselves in groups where we live? Will we, as so often seems to occur, use power in destructive rather than creative ways? Inexperience naturally leads to such reasonable questions, based on what we have all seen in others who wielded great powers.
In summary, I now recognize two major sources for the perceived threat in being power-filled (I avoid the more familiar "powerful" because it has come to imply an unordinary state of being). First, inexperience--the unfamiliar and unknown, which is enough to warrant avoidance of most anything. But then comes our common experience (reflected in the above saying) with abuses of power, with power exercised unwisely, dictatorially, and destructively. Will we be able to do otherwise? Is this danger of "corruption" inherent in power itself, so that we will inevitably become destructive if we have power? Common inexperience, coupled with our shared experience of corrupted power "out there," reasonably reflects in the threats that I note here.
Not to get specific: these general observations about being-with-power in any regard are further amplified in relation to being sexual--my subject here. If power itself is threatening, sexual power is even more dangerous because of the way society has come to deal with this element of human capacity, namely, via suppression.
Biologically speaking, the two major sources of genetic power (completely apart from social memes) are focused in "instincts" for self-survival and self-replication--for being "selfish" and "sexy (with two gender versions)." Because the genetic forces for life and survival are older ("sex" as a means of reproduction only having evolved some 600 million years ago), they are more in-grained and less in-awareness. "Sexy" urges, being younger and by nature of how they must be exercised, involve more awareness. Even though, for instance, air is more primally related to survival, we "think more" about having sex than about breathing.
Furthermore, because self-survival and self-replication are so intertwined, the powers generated for one can hardly be separated in consciousness from those produced for the other. Selfing and sexuality become interlaced to such an extent that who can tell the difference? And since sex takes more awareness (due to logistical requirements) we easily confuse, I surmise, survival powers with reproductive powers. Once into a social situation, for instance, inherent powers for selfing (viewed in society as "selfish" and therefore "bad") and for "being sexy" must be compounded by lack of separation. The point: when we face the challenges of bringing ingrained powers for being sexual into a social context, they are likely to be compounded in awareness because unrecognized drives for selfing are intertwined with them.
Instinctively we are inclined to "protect ourselves" and "advance our own causes (be 'selfish')," as well as to reproduce ourselves--to "be sexy." These two most basic of our "drives," which are also the greatest sources of personal powers, are present (recognized or not) whenever we are with others, just as when we are alone. The problem of threatening powers inherent in each, amplified in combination, are great enough when I am alone; but in relationships they can be truly awesome to manage. Far easier I--and I suspect others--have learned to simply suppress them (as society trains us to do), cut myself off from them in awareness, than to remain responsibly present, selfing, sexual, and social--all at the same time.
If I deny awareness (accomplished by splitting myself into a dis-embodied "I" and a body "I" happen to be stuck in for the present) of being selfing and sexual, and pretend (remain in the image stage of the Creative Process) to only be social (unselfish and nonsexual), then the pragmatics of social intercourse are far simpler to manage. Memes alone--all the rules for polite meeting which I learned long ago, are sufficient to guide me sensibly until we part. But if I acknowledge and confront powers and urges inherent in genes for survival and reproduction, as well as the meme powers present in any encounter with another person, I must somehow be wise and contained enough to moderate these commonly conflicting forces instantaneously throughout the encounter.
Confronting and somehow resolving this "threat of power" becomes another challenge in the process of being sexual. Opting out for automatic, meme--directed living, as though I were not truly a genetically rooted person also, is a choice I commonly made in the past--and often still do.
I hope I may more wisely face the possibility of being a whole person--with all the powers inherent in being "selfish," "sexy," and social, embraced the next time I meet someone. Otherwise, I will continue to "send in the clowns."
Although different for each gender, both males and females face challenges in consciousness when we chance being sexual. As previously noted, genetics and society seem favorable to masculine consciousness and female nonsciousness--to males "thinking about it" and females "not thinking about it (relying on 'feelings' rather than notions)." It might therefore seem that consciousness-about-sex would only be a threat to females; but experience may prove otherwise.
First, I note some of the more obvious threats to women (see previous thoughts on Sex and Consciousness): Being sexual--that is, acknowledging, accepting, and embracing this capacity, just as is so with any other human capacity, cannot but invite consciousness. We cannot sense, feel, or do anything without risking consciousness; it's the way we're made (have evolved to be). But for females, unlike males, this natural process of bringing perceptions into awareness, then into the realm of conceptions and consciousness, poses dangers.
Among them are the risks of confusion about times of ovulation which are more easily determined by eons of "emotional" or "right brain" data than by any scientific or conscious information. Confusion is certainly not inherent in consciousness itself; but external information may conflict with internal "feelings" which may indeed invite confusion. "Not thinking about it," which means relying on nonscious knowledge (moods, desires, emotions, etc.) certainly must be temporarily safer and easier than running the risks of internal stress inherent in entertaining possibly contradictory data.
Then there are "image problems" likely to ensue from allowing "woman's wiles"--her long evolved deception-skills, into conscious awareness. Along with risks of reducing effectiveness through attention being divided both into "thinking about it" while at the same time "doing it," such awareness may well conflict with how a women "sees herself." Certainly it is presumptuous for any male to speak as though he knew about any woman's sense of herself; but it does seem to me that females in general must have personal images of who-they-are which are more innocent, caring, gentle, accepting, moral, unselfish, and unmanipulative than facts about deception, should they ever become conscious, would easily allow. I speculate, as is only possible for a male to honestly do, that any female who chances bringing her true, genetic sexuality into open awareness can anticipate conflicts with her acquired image of herself. Specifically, I suspect that most females are far more sexual by nature than society trains them to realize.
And whatever the arena of self-image conflicts, finding out that who we actually are is not the same as who we have long thought we were is predictably disarming if not temporarily debilitating.
It is precisely here that male threats may appear if we risk greater consciousness about our sexuality. Even though we are comfortably accustomed to "thinking a lot about sex," and may feel more consciously "at home" with the whole spectrum of sexuality than an average female, still there are dark spaces in typical male awareness which increased consciousness may threateningly invite into awareness. We may often "think about sex," but careful examination of male sexual consciousness is apt to reveal sharp and decisive edges to our actual awareness--that is, that we habitually limit our consciousness to relatively safe dimensions of our own sexual capacities. Most commonly these include heterosexual desires only, and sexual potency.
But if the nature of genetic female sexuality is more pervasive and cunning than typical feminine consciousness seems to indicate, I believe that masculine sexuality is also commonly limited in the traditional male psyche. Specifically, I think that two major walls-in-awareness must be widespread in American males: first, barriers against same-sex-attractions or homosexuality-in-awareness and, secondly, mental walls separating us from true limitations and powers in sexual potency. Homophobia is certainly widespread, and either exaggerated or diminished senses of can-do-ness are evidenced in most males as I have known us. We commonly, as I suspect females know far better than do we, tend to "think more highly of our sexual selves" than we in reality (in the bedrooms of marriage) prove to be. Or else, on the flip side of the same coin of blindness, we do not recognize the true extent of what we actually can-do sexually. We "act like wimps," fearing impotence far more than we dare admit, and unwittingly run from fears of "not being able to get it up" or truly "please women" by hiding in cloaks of niceness or rushing to pre-mature withdrawals if not ejaculations.
If we fear impotence, as more commonly recognized, it may well be that we harbor even greater fears of the extent of our real sexual potency in a society that doesn't need or support it.
In our much thinking about sex we often have, I conclude, exaggerated notions of just how conscious we actually are about the huge arenas of male sexuality which exist outside the rather narrow confines of heterosexual desires and our images of relative omnipotence or impotence. Whenever a male confronts truly being sexual, his established images of his own sexuality, be they exaggerated or impoverished, risk entrance into consciousness. Then he may face more threats in consciousness than females who have more practice in honest nonsciousness than in dishonest denials.
These psychological "ego threats"--as they are more commonly recognized, at least in female awareness of the "fragile male ego," often prove to be far more dangerous in practice than do any real physiological factors. And the escalated consciousness which truly being sexual invites in males as well as females throws us smack up against commonly suppressed fears of gayness, impotence and/or omnipotence.
Threats to male consciousness may go far past perceived risks of homosexuality (same-sex-behavior) and even more dangerously invite us to face the possibility of denied femininity within ourselves. Traits initiated by XX chromosomes and commonly identified with femininity are also present, though more limited, in us who also have a single X in each of our cells. Specifically, these probably reflect in what we have come to recognize as "tenderness," "emotionality," "being careful," "softness," etc. They are the traits more identified with sensuality than with sexuality. But, as discussed previously, sensuality and sexuality are opposite ends of the same continuum; thus, to risk being "very sensual" is to chance becoming overtly sexual--which is a more typically female threat. But the opposite may be an even greater male threat, namely, in being sexual in its wider dimensions (past animal-like fucking only) invites becoming more sensual--the "softer" elements in love-making.
Since, however, such "tenderness" has been socially associated with femininity and gay males, two major threats are resurrected at the same time: if a man being sexual is invited to also become more sensual (as the continuum of wholeness requires) then he faces any unresolved conflicts with both femininity and homosexuality. These, obviously, can be great for a typically "macho" male.
Back to female threats: perhaps a greater female risk in the consciousness which being sexual invites lies in facing what I see as the overall power imbalance between femininity and masculinity (two powerful X chromosomes in every cell rather than only one X and a weasely Y). Contrary to accepted notions about women as "the weaker sex," I think that females are more powerful than males, both biologically and socially. For pragmatic reasons, males "play peacock," exaggerating our limited powers, while females, for practical reasons have long known to "play down" their inherent and acquired advantages.
The problem being noted here emerges from the fact (as I see things) that many females seem to have fallen for their own ruses or been faked off by peacock-like male egos--that is, come to see themselves as actually weak, rather than pragmatically deferring to already-threatened males. In this state (again by my observations) of diminished awareness of their real female powers, and with long practice at "surviving by submission (with self-images of weakness)," they face serious "image problems" when confronted with obvious powers which emerge in being sexual.
But even past serious issues always to be faced in revising any erroneous self-image which has been comfortably embraced for a long time, females who become more conscious must also confront the pragmatics of wielding-in-awareness these emerging powers. Even if I am wrong about an inherent biological power imbalance between the genders, the facts about male projections of powers on to females (e.g., to "turn us on,"give us permission, bless our sexuality, "give us heart," make us happy, if not feed and even save us from ourselves) are less controvertible. Females becoming more conscious through being sexual rather than hiding in disinterest and/or blaming it all on one-dimensional males, cannot but see the vast powers which we semi-conscious males commonly project on to them. And to see removes the ease of remaining in illusions of irresponsibility, playing "Poor Little Me" if not, "Ain't Men Awful."
In the jungle, sexual containment was probably less relevant; circumstances and opportunity (or its lack) were perhaps sufficient to guide all sexual activity. But in society, including all personal relationships, the embraced capacity for containment is another predictable challenge in being sexual. Acting-out sexual impulses without regard to social consequences is no longer an option for any civilized person who wishes to remain in society. The traditional mode of coping with sexuality by suppression of course reduces the risks of acting-out; if you don't think about it, and especially if you repress desires as well as thoughts, then you are far less likely to do it. But while this resolution may be temporarily effective for our social selves and the groups in which we find ourselves, it is, as previously observed, extremely dangerous for personal well-being. We cannot be our fuller selves while trying to rule out being our sexual selves also.
But adding wisdom to awareness, rather than fleeing awareness into repression, requires that we be able to hold impulses within our private selves--to "contain them" within our skins, while we decide what, if anything, to say or do. Just as "making sense" requires that we be able to hold various notions in mind-space while we mix them together reasonably, so acting sensibly requires that we hold various impulses (genetic desires and directives) in awareness while we weigh personal and public consequences. This, of course, is the capacity that allows us to be civilized human beings.
But if it is needed for lessor powered capacities, such as, emotions, it is far more relevant with our greater powered sexual "drives." If we don't learn containment, and wish to remain socially acceptable, then the traditional devices of suppression and repression are perhaps our best options. I, however, am looking for a better way, and have come to realize how essential containment is when I wish to be true both to my sexual and social selves.
Sexual containment, as I use the phrase, means being sexual inside my skin--that is, with my given sexuality activated (vs. suppressed) and fully present in awareness (vs. "pushed out of mind"). At the same time, attention is required and given to monitoring all forms of expression--such as, movements, facial expressions, breath, looks, touches, and, of course, all words and actions, so as to completely conceal my internal state of being. "I," one might say, "am the only one who knows how sexual I am being" when I am thusly contained. Superman, given his X-ray vision, might see through my skin and recognize from the condition of my para-sympathetic nervous system that I am sexually "turned-on," but without such vision an ordinary person would not see that I am being sexual at the time.
For analysis, the challenges of containment may be divided into two areas: alone and with others, or in private and in public. First are the issues of "standing being sexual" when I am alone--tolerating the excitement that is inherent in embraced sexuality. These are perhaps the most challenging and difficult to face because we so commonly learn to avoid them early in life and practice them so consistently that our modes of coping become "second nature"--that is, done "without thinking." Most everyone, it seems to me, must consciously believe that we have no fear of fun, that we are "not afraid of excitement," that "feeling sexy" doesn't scare us. In fact, in awareness we seem to believe that we truly want more pleasure and excitement in our lives, including sexual satisfactions.
Beneath these beliefs, however, I have come to suspect that there is an underlying, long forgotten feeling of fear which leaves many of us thoroughly ambivalent whenever we face more than minimal degrees of pleasure, especially the escalated excitement inherent in approaching orgasm. We "think (consciously believe)" that the fun of feeling sexual is desirable, yet we exist, I surmise, with deeper threats which commonly evade awareness. We don't truly know that we can stand fuller degrees of "turned-on-ness" without "something bad happening." Bodily experiences which form the basis of excitement--the parasympathetic nervous system holding sway over the sympathetic, the opening of peripheral blood vessels, the rhythmical pulsations of increased energy flows, the "loss of self control," the sense of self being "taken over" by unfamiliar forces, all these normal aspects of pleasure must seem dark and foreboding to us who have far more practice with being "turned down" or "off" than "on."
I theorize too that all escalated pleasure, as is inherent in being sexual, must evoke primal, genetically ingrained fears of losing breath, of being smothered, cut off from air, the most immediately crucial requirement for human life. It has been noted that baby chicks have ingrained fears of overhead shadows, genetically reminiscent, we conjecture, of flying hawks and other aerial predators. In like manner I speculate, we humans have evolved to "automatically" fear losing our breath, since loss of air is tantamount to death within moments. We can do without water and food for longer periods; but when breath is curtailed, the "grim reaper" is near at hand.
And, as everyone knows intuitively if not consciously, higher levels of fun are "breath-taking." Excitement "makes us breathe fast." We must "catch our breaths" before we can go on. Lady Chatterly, approaching that unknown-to-her experience of orgasm, said, "I die, I die!," as have many others associating ecstasy and death. In France it is even called petite mall--the "little death." If we do have, as I surmise, engened knowledge about the necessity of air, then it follows logically that anything that brings us near to losing breath would also be inherently threatening. After all, nothing is more primally ingrained, even sex itself, than "staying alive" at all costs--including pleasure.
If ingrained fears of losing breath are evoked in escalated degrees of pleasure, so must dark fears of abandonment, rejection, isolation, being "cut off," be called forth when passion begins to emerge into awareness. Given society's way of coping with sex in community, namely, suppression, and our earliest training in socialization by our mothers, we must all experience the threats of rejection-for-being-sexual very early in life. Mothers may touch, tickle, and invite an infant's pleasure in many arenas, but as soon as overt sexuality appears in a child's life, her affirmation of this pleasure becomes predictably absent. As society's strongest teachers, mothers--consciously or not, must universally become our first "trainers" in sexual suppression. "Playing with yourself," touching your "private parts," showing off erections, trying to touch or sexually "play with" one's opposite sex friends or to get mother or them to stimulate oneself--all these and many more become arenas for learning sexual suppression.
Such training is, of course, an essential part of becoming socialized, which is itself a part of individual survival. But the early nature of this learning at the hands of the one person who holds near omnipotent powers over an infant's well-being if not life itself, cannot but evoke, I surmise, our primal fears of abandonment which must be only slightly less than those related to losing breath. We must have air to survive immediately after womb-exodus; but the necessity for mother is not far behind. Somehow we must have evolved reflexive knowledge about immanent death without the first, and with primal knowledge about the second.
Mothers, when we are fortunate, affirm all aspects of a child's potential being; but mothers-in-practice must be near universal in drawing the line about overt sexuality. No other aspect of who-we-are, must be embraced--if at all, so essentially alone. And none other, as best I can tell, places us in such threat of passive if not active social rejection as does this one.
The point: if fears of mother-rejection are only slightly higher on the evolutional scale than are ingrained fears of air-loss, as I speculate, then evoking these deep-seated terrors when we face potential rejection for being sexual would be predictable. Although scientific research data to support this premise is yet lacking, I predict that the connection may in time be confirmed. For now, I can only note that even though sexuality is inherent in human nature as surely as are survival instincts, its common denial beginning with mothers seems to evoke powerful fears not unlike those associated with loss of breath.
Although these fears of social rejection, beginning with mother, are related to other persons, their learning must be so early that they are experienced even when we are alone. Whatever the source of these deep threats, my best data confirms that powerful irrational fears about being sexual--possibly related to breath-loss and mother-rejection, each of which is tantamount to death, seem to be near universal.
Perhaps these dark dangers lie at the source of our general lack of experience in learning to be consciously comfortable with the pulsating flows of energy inherent in being sexual even when we are alone. In the face of possible death by smothering or lost mothering, perhaps we simply lack experience in learning to tolerate escalating bodily passions as expanded sexuality inevitably invites. Even in the privacy of our own life-spaces, the proverbial "bathroom," for example, I believe that primal fears of consciously delighting in fuller degrees of natural sexuality are common if not universal.
And if, as I speculate, we fear sexuality alone, apart from the potential dangers of "prying eyes," we must all have learned far more about the external risks of sex-in-society, even when "others" are only one. If it somehow seems dangerous to be sexual in private, we all know that real social and civil dangers await even the slightest evidences of most sexual expressions in public.
The threats of being responsibly sexual in public--that is, consciously experiencing natural impulses that are unsocial and/or illegal if acted upon, are expanded because of the way suppression works. Given the obvious fact that we learn to be socially expedient primarily through sexual repression, we have no option but to deal with the consequences of denial. Projection is the inevitable result of suppression. That which we push from awareness does not go away--except from our own sight within ourselves; thereafter it appears in the mirrors of others. Not only do we project awareness of any suppression, but also the power inherent in its activation. This projection of power is what adds to the challenges of responsible containment of sexuality in public. It is not simply that "they" re-mind us (bring sexuality to mind) of being sexual; "they" also, as a result of our projections, also seem to hold the power to "turn us on."
We, consequently, to the extent of previous sexual suppression and projection, are vulnerable to the apparent powers of what or whomever we have learned to react to in the past. And how can we contain that which is "caused by" (or seems to be) others? If they or it "turn me on," then I am (or so I think) out of control of the actions which I am inclined to take. They (or the proverbial devil) "make me do it." All the way back to Adam: "...the woman, she...").
This common sense of being "out of control" of desires or inclinations which seem to be "caused by" the tempting others only adds to the challenge of necessary containment required for being sexual in public. Suppression, as we are all taught from earliest times, must be the best and only way to avoid social trouble, until we learn containment. And containment cannot be learned without withdrawing the powers for "turning on" which have previously been projected on to others.
Catch 22: we suppress/project in order to act sexually responsible with others; but then this very process increases the likelihood of (or at least vulnerability to) acting-out which brings dangerous consequences. We deny for safety, only to become more endangered because of our denials.
In summary, even if I err in my speculations about the reasons, another challenge in being sexual, both alone and with others, is facing and dealing successfully with the necessity of containment. We cannot become truly responsible, either to our selves and or with others, beyond the extent to which we embrace not only our natural desires, but also our potential capacity to contain them completely within ourselves while we act appropriately with others. We must be consciously able to stand the rise and fall, the flow and ebb, of the "juices" and energy generated by inherent sexuality, without "doing anything about it," or even revealing this internal state of being, before we can responsibly choose courses of action. Otherwise, suppression or the risks and dangers of acting-out, seem to be our only options--both of which are spiritually and socially disastrous in time.
I cannot, so far as I know, "go to heaven" on earth, be saved in the here and now, enter the Kingdom of God "at hand," except to the degree that I am healed of this division within myself. Heaven later, as popularly touted, may allow sexual repression-even, as many seem to think, require it. Certainly familiar religious guidelines support and affirm sexual suppression. But heaven here, as best I can tell, allows no such negations.
Specifically, re-becoming and hence being sexual--healing and wholing in this regard, is the basis for three major elements in good living: power, pleasure, and love. Being sexual is a prime source of personal power essential for survival, coping, and living well in both the physical and social worlds where we all exist. Sexual pleasure is so innately recognized that once repression diminishes, the natural fun of "feeling sexy" regularly reappears.
"Making love" is, of course, a popular euphemism for sexual expression at its apex; but in popular understanding sexual "love" is totally disconnected from "real love" or "Christian love." The two, in fact, are often seen as opposites, each mutually exclusive of the other. Agape and fucking are, in this common perspective, mortal enemies. "Sexy people" are "just animals" and "don't really care." And those who are most virtuous-monks and saints, renounce sex completely.
In contrast with this familiar perspective, I believe that agape ("Christian love") is the apex of eros, not its opposite or enemy. True spiritual ecstasy is predicated on embraced capacity for physical pleasure, including orgasm. Transcendence is immanence culminated, not negated or escaped from. Only embraced capacities for "making love" form an adequate basis for the culminating virtues of "being loving."
Certainly agape is more than fucking, but real love, as I understand it, is rooted in the embraced capacity to do so.
To summarize: Why be sexual?
In existential language: Because we can be, because we are created capable of being so and cannot be ourselves if we are not.
In religious language: Because we can't "get to heaven" here (return to Eden on earth) if we don't. Being healed, whole, and hence saved is impossible without re-becoming all that we are created to be, including being sexual.
In practical language: Because we lack power, miss pleasure, and cannot really love beyond the degree to which we re-become sexual.
At least this is how I now "see things." My best data so far, in sharp contrast with social memes-what I have been taught by others, is that if I want to "be myself," to meet God in this Eden on earth, if I want to be empowered, to "have fun," and to truly love, then I must be sexual also.
But it ain't, I regretfully acknowledge.
Re-becoming sexual, "like a little child" in this regard, begins, I conclude, with seeing-but this is only for openers. Insight is just the first step in a long, faith-demanding process of absorbing what I see into myself, of becoming what I know. As I have amplified in my analysis of the Creative Process, Stage Three, conceiving, is necessary in moving past Stage Two, imaging. We must mentally de-code the power-filled icons on to which we have previously projected inherent powers-of-being. We must look the "gift horses" of Santa Claus, God, and in my case, Woman, "in the mouth." But Stage Four, the culmination of the Creative Process, requires "eating our words," re-identifying with and re-becoming that which we mentally see at Stage Three.
In this regard, sexual projections are no different from any other images. I must first "see through" my sexual images, specifically my projections of inherent sexual powers-primarily on to female screens. I must bring the subject into the light of reason rather than leaving it the dark Enchanted Forest of nonsciousness-as I have been attempting in these efforts to "make sense" of my sexual history and information.
Such seeing has, for me, been hard enough. "Making sense" of my experience, de-coding my sacred images, intellectualizing about sex, is mentally challenging; but moving on is far more so. Specifically, in addition to the challenges noted, I now recognize two other major arenas of "homework" in moving from Stage 3 to Stage 4 of the Creative Process of becoming myself: bodily education and mental attention.
"Un-repressing"-that is, breaking out of habits of mental suppression, daring to "admit" and "look at" dark realities long kept hidden from full awareness, begins in the mind. Thawing "frozen thinking," opening up to see things in my mind's eye, had, I suppose, to come first. But I cannot move on to "becoming what I know" in Stage 4 without a corresponding "thaw" in bodily processes as well as in those of mind. No matter how clearly I see "in my head" and "know what to do," I must also re-learn in my body.
Suppression of sexuality may begin with denied thinking, but is soon "learned" physically as well as mentally. "The body," we might say after splitting our selves off from it, "is very smart." It "catches on quickly" and learns physical modes for effecting mental denials. Somehow it learns to "tense up," to squelch, curtail, even stop the flow of bodily energies which are inherent in being sexually excited. Dangerous desire, called "lust," is physically nipped in the bud even before such yearnings may approach the light of consciousness. The "smart body" becomes an ally, an advance guard, in our quest for sexual suppression, as taught by society and learned as the way to deal with this part of who-we-are.
And like all habits in time, physical modes-of-repression, learned well, tend to become so ingrained and automatic that they seem to be genetic instincts rather than learned reactions. Just a sign of potential sexual excitement, any clue to the possibility of "thinking about sex," becomes sufficient to trigger acquired bodily defenses. Before sexual notions slip into awareness, bodily tensions, learned to squelch desire, rush into action, protecting me from even "thinking about" what I might do. I am "up tight" before I "know it." My sympathetic nervous system is so well educated that it jumps into dominance over its para-sympathetic counterpart, "without a thought required." Before peripheral blood vessels even have a chance to relax and expand, allowing me to flush or blush; before my pupils can dilate or my saliva begins to thicken; before my skin starts to tingle, my heart to palpitate luxuriously, my loins to awaken, and certainly my penis to thicken, I am already "turned off."
Before the devil, who, I was told, makes us want to do it, can even ask, I can truthfully deny: "Who me? No not I. I don't feel anything."
Bodily education is a term I choose to name unlearning my long habit of "freezing up" physically rather than risking the normal flow of energies which sexual desire initiates. Perhaps re-educating would be more accurate, since I surmise that I may have once known, physically if not mentally, about being sexual in body. What ever the case, such cellular "learning" (or "unlearning") is necessary before I can remain sexually present and alive in immediate circumstances perceived as threatening. What I now know "in my head" must also be learned "in my body."
"Standing being sexual," as previously considered, must be expanded to include the entire process of "build up" which precedes becoming consciously and specifically "sexual." This bodily education begins with mental alertness, "paying attention" to first signs of arousal which have previously been taken as triggers to "tense up" or "get a grip on myself." Only when I can predict or recognize (be aware of) these clues to awakening sexuality do I have any options in relearning. Once I "catch myself" beginning to "get up tight," then I may begin the process of bodily re-programing by delaying, if only for a second, my long learned habits of physical suppression. Each such small "training" becomes a tiny step in the wondrous process of bodily education which I now see as essential to moving from Stage 3 to Stage 4 of the Creative Process of becoming myself.
But intimately connected with this physical learning in my cells is another type of mental attention, re-education in my mind. Just as I have deeply learned habits of bodily suppression, so I have also acquired mental modes which are now almost as ingrained as my knee-jerk physical reactions to emerging sexuality. Probably I learned these mental tricks to justify or explain the unnatural physical suppressions which must have seemed necessary when sexuality was first becoming overt. When or why ever, I can now see, especially in hindsight, two such defensive mental habits.
Confronted with threats or fears associated with becoming consciously sexual, and opting by habit for suppression, I am quick to blame and judge. Rather than remaining responsibly conscious, I am almost as speedy in these two mental habits as I am in my physical negations. Easily and quickly I excuse myself for my suppressions by blaming circumstances or other persons. I am skilled at "picking out flaws" and focusing on acts or moves of others which I irresponsibly conclude "turn me off." "It is not I who am suppressing myself," I hastily decide, but it or she who "makes me do so." Lacking the courage to remain consciously and honestly present, I all-too-easily escape in playing the Blame Game-which at the time is far more than a game.
On the heels of blaming-or is it but a part of the same mental trick?-I then proceed to cinch my escape by judging, either it, she, or I, usually all three. I, for example, "put down" on circumstances for not cooperating, on her for something she does or does not do, says or does not say, or on myself for "being bad" or scared.
These and countless other forms of the sin of judging (playing God) are among the many automatic mental skills I have acquired to supplement bodily habits useful in safely removing me from potential sexual scenes. Or so it seems at the time. Only in retrospect do I sometimes confront the high prices I have long paid for such seemingly automatic habits.
In becoming sexual, past "thinking about it," I face resisting these familiar mental habits, becoming mentally attentive, re-learning to think more honestly--as well as to physically re-spond more truthfully at the time. As long as I continue to indulge in blaming and judging, mental energies essential for acting responsibly are diverted and ultimately wasted in destructive mind games.
In the process of re-becoming sexual and responsible, I can now see how essential both bodily education and mental attention are in embracing this part of who-I-am.