Archive for July, 2009
I have just arrived home from a retreat in which I participated this weekend, so this is my first chance to head over there today. If you’d like to do the same, follow me here!
“There is nothing left to throw of ginger, lemon, indigo…”
-R.E.M. “Find the River”
Today the esteemed Jeremy Edwards takes on one of my favorite herbs, dill, for the Spicy Summer Sundays blog tour! (The plethora of pickle talk on his dill-ightful post reminds me of this pickle jar encounter I had earlier this year. Heh.)
In addition to paying homage to this fabulous herb, Jeremy asks us all an interesting writerly question. Check it outhere!
-from Jeremy himself. No, really, go see! ;)
Since I spent the first part of this week traveling, I spent last night catching up on blog reading (yes, I do plan to catch up on email eventually as well …no really). One of the things I ran across was P. S. Haven’s latest post, in which he provides a novella excerpt that I found quite captivating and poignant (as well as beautifully written). I found it poignant because it involved a young woman who (apparently) felt that sex was against what God wanted and that it was sinful to be involved in it.
And I remember feeling that way.
I know a number of people who grew up in strict religious households and rebelled against that inside themselves when they became adults (or even a little before). That was actually not my experience. I was, indeed, told that “sex was for marriage” and that having sex before one was married was against the rules according to “God.” But it wasn’t pounded into me or emphasized much — it was just presented as basically a given, the “way it is,” and then not talked about very much in my family or experience or even the church I attended.
It didn’t need to be. I will spare anyone reading this a detailed explanation of historical psychic structure patterns in me and suffice to say that there was a configuration of fear, constraint, and self-deprivation already evident in me that took this “rule” as it was presented and solidified it into something that I was required to follow. The pressure to not have sex before I was married after that first message that it was a rule according to “God” came almost entirely from a very strict part of the psychic structure in me — which is to say, it was almost entirely self-induced.
Moving forward a number of years and much significant psycho-spiritual work and breakthroughs later, an expansion has occurred within me in relation to sexuality and that very strict part of the psychic structure in me. (That may be obvious, heh.) In addition, there has been an expansion in me relating to that same strict part of me and spirituality/consciousness. I suspect this is why the convergence of sexuality and spirituality holds such appeal for me.
Thus it seems to me that when I see the message that sex “before marriage” (I have expounded here before about the lack of appreciation in me of a seemingly automatic contingence of sex and marriage and thus won’t go on about it now, but I will reiterate that I find that consideration significant) is somehow “wrong” being propagated, I have felt what almost seems like a fierce protectionism. I feel like I don’t want anyone to have to feel the way I did — that s/he would be extremely punished for examining, exploring, respecting one of the most personal and inherent aspects of living experience. (It is, after all, how we exist.)
The recognition in me now is that within a religious context, the idea of sex being a sin is rooted in the centuries-old postulation of a fundamental separation between the body and the spirit — with the body being the pathway to “sin.” Said view perceives “fleshly desires” — of which sex is decidedly one of the most prominent — as something to be transcended in the name of and in order to access the “spirit.”
In my perspective this claim is fundamentally flawed in its adherence to a view of separation/compartmentalization within the human being. Wholeness is, to me, congruent with spiritual realization. The “divide and conquer” mentality within ourselves inevitably leads away from this and results in myriad inauthenticities and suffering. When something as intrinsic and fundamental as sexuality is repressed or vilified, it creates a substantial internal rift. Repression does not equal obliteration.
Further, the expansion I have experienced in this area seems to have offered a clear perception that rather than simply being “acceptable,” sexuality is sacred. (Of course on some level everything is.) Being so fundamental and connected to life and humanity offers it enormous potential as a pathway to consciousness/the Divine.
A while back I saw $pread Magazine ask in a call for submissions for its “Positions” section for 350 words on “Why Sex Work Is NOT a Sin.” I originally read the question as why sex is not a sin (apparently forgetting the point of the magazine, heh), but really, it seems to me the answer is about the same. I much appreciated the question, and I did not find it hard to answer.
(Of course, I would first clarify that the word “sin” is not really in my vocabulary at this time. Much like the word “God,” the degree to which it seems to have been skewed in general public perception is such that it has been rendered to me either virtually meaningless or significantly misleading/exploitative. Basically the understanding in me is that the concept of “sin” as postulated in religious terms really does not exist. Particular acts are not inherently a “sin.” As Eckhart Tolle says, “[Y]our state of consciousness is primary, all else secondary.” [p. 266 A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.] It is not the act but the place/consciousness/energy from which it comes.)
Anyway, for me, wanting and choosing to enter sex work in a number of capacities stemmed directly from the above-described realizations. Sex work seemed an opportunity to enhance others’ sexual experience and/or appreciation, and given that I did not want others to feel the same searing effects of repression that I had, I felt delight at the idea/chance to offer my service in this way. I have continued to find the frequent societal perception that seems to completely miss this heartbreaking.
Professionally speaking, of course, in a capitalistic society citizens are expected to provide a product or service to society and be financially compensated for it. Considering sex work a “sin” simply because of the financial aspect, therefore, seems to me hypocritical, unreasonable, and unfair.
Sexuality, as every aspect of our existence, may be offered, held, and lived from the beauty and authenticity of wholeness; when done so, it is generative as such. It follows that sex work, devoting one’s personal form of service to embodying and offering this understanding of sexuality on a professional level, holds immense power as a healing, beautifying, loving force on both tangible and intangible levels.
Incidentally, I consider writing about sex consciously/from this place of authenticity a form of such service as well. I feel much gratitude for the realizations I have experienced regarding sexuality, the opportunity to have offered sexual service professionally, and for others offering similar service with respect for sexuality. In no way, by the way, do I mean to postulate that any of the above discovery in me was/is a finite process and has been all worked out; on the contrary, such Work is lifelong.
I dedicate myself to it once again.
-Live “They Stood Up for Love”
I lament that I am late with this post, as I have been traveling today to my hometown, where things seemed busy indeed upon my arrival. But dazzling Alison Tyler has generously posted my story, “Fireworks Display,” on her H is for Harlot site today!
-from “Fireworks Display”
-John Mayer “My Stupid Mouth”