Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sex in the Country

Without formal psychological training, my sister lane and I are able to talk deeply about our family experiences growing up. Perhaps this is possible because of the distance and abstract voices over the phone lines just as much as the common blood. We have been practicing a long time and been much more effective than I with any of my fifteen counselors in twenty years.

Once I was confessing to her the urge I felt to apologize to a woman for having lustful feelings, fearful it would ruin a great friendship. Lane wondered if this was consistent in my life because our mother, it turns out, had lectured her constantly about men being sexually out of control, single-mindedly focused and frustrated if they did not get their way. It was a woman’s job, my mother apparently believed, to reign him in, keep him satisfied and under control around his shenanigans. While sex was pleasurable for her, men were insatiable and had to be tolerated in their appetites.

While I never remember being given this message explicitly from her myself, it could explain why I have been so painfully shy (can you believe it?) and uncomfortable around sexuality. Feeling lustful nevertheless, I resorted to being secretive and self-shamed.

Barely ever alone with girls in high school, I was the guy looking in one direction while my arm moved casually and “accidentally” around the shoulders in the other. If she figured out what I was doing, I thought, she would surely make me stop (which she usually did actually because I was so damned awkward and unsexy!)

When I finally experimented in the covert darkness of a summer of skinny dipping parties, I never actually acknowledged the intercourse, much less the magic I felt roiling in the luxury of her breasts and the wondrous mysteries of her insides. I thought you had to be in love to play together and my silence, my inability to face the beautiful intimacy, my hesitation throughout those many years to unwrap the gift, made me lose out on much deeper connections.

Quite miraculously I did get married early and learned to fumble with a little more sophistication. It was not until one day building on the sand dune over-looking a deserted beach, watching a couple play unabashedly with each other’s bodies, that I truly understood that women enjoyed it too and passion could be a wonderful thing. My second marriage, however, suffered under stressful conditions that rarely allowed sexuality to emerge from the shadows of performance anxiety, a paradise always in sight, but never fully illuminated.

The injury to my groin, therefore, makes perfect sense. So much of my life has been spent in longing, with touch just close enough to incite the senses, but still out of reach. My body being able to orgasm but not ejaculate serves as a metaphor too exquisite to ignore. During this time of recovery, to avoid atrophy of the cell system, the doctors have ordered stimulation of the blood with regular exercise. Given Cialis every day and being without a girlfriend to help me out, internet porn has been prescribed, the very stuff that was cancerous to my marriage.

I write this bluntly not to be prurient or shocking, but to expose that dilemma that tears at my soul. As a society, we use sex to sell cars, cosmetics and so much in between, but in so many of our homes, shame and embarrassment still too often overwhelm our desire to fully open ourselves to the pleasure. In too many homes, it is discovered, in fact, that the natural feelings when repressed become twisted into perversions and abuse.

In my own life, the energy of passion is clearly stuck, blocked literally and metaphorically. My insides churn with so many parts of myself so nearly within my grasp and still elusively not yet reached. It feels that once I find a way to emotionally release the energy, the details of the surgery I need will quickly fall into place. Healing must first happen in the heart.

Passion, especially expressed in the love-making between two people, when done from the heart, creates an exquisitely intimate bond between them. Even alone comes the message that it is okay to practice giving to oneself in all sorts of ways. There should be no shame or embarrassment around this need for touch as strong as food, clothing and shelter. We need to enlarge our capacity to feel, not shut ourselves down shyly.

To this end, I recommend a website that shows the faces of every day people brave enough to share their expressions in the moment of their orgasms. There is no nudity, no graphic or gratuitous sex, no explicit gestures that might require a stiffer rating. Just the beautiful agony of faces in pleasure, your sisters and brothers, all ages and body types, sharing their humanity in the intimate way we all might recognize.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

woof, woof, dude.
nice stuff...