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A Ferret Called Wilson

Chasing Happy, Chasing Dreams

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Anti-body = Anti-sex = Anti-woman = Barred from Paradise

I used to be a Christian. This morning, having run out of positivity on the Internet to accompany my morning coffee, I turned to my friend, Reverend Beverly Dale, who helped me process the joint loss of my marriage and my religion five years ago, to see what was up in the world of sex positive Christianity.

Reverend Dale, or “Rev Bev” as she was affectionately nicknamed by her students back at Penn, is a magnificent woman. A sufferer of emotional, physical and sexual abuse throughout her childhood, she never lost hold of her Christian faith and now uses her experience and her triumph over the injury and the shame to guide others on a path of joy and freedom never before experienced inside the walls of modern Churchdom.

The linked video is of her sermon “A Veiled Gospel Truth: God as Erotic Passion.” In it she references St. Augustine as the father of modern Christian body shame and sex negativity. Saint Augustine was a notorious misogynist. What struck me was her claim that he fathered not only the anti sex and anti body philsophy that governs modern Christian thought, but that he also fathered the anti-woman ideology that pervades our society.

The typical Story goes like this. Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden*, an eternal paradise where they would want for nothing. In order to remain in the garden they needed to obey only one rule: Eat not the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. I like this part because it can be translated to “the conditions to living in paradise are only that one must not know the difference between good and evil, only to be.” Woman, however, was weak of mind and became tricked by the Serpant. She ate of the tree and then in her shame made Man to eat as well, thus orchestrating his fall from grace. Woman, therefore is the cause of Man’s sin. If you can control the woman, you can control the sin and thus regain your righteousness.

It makes sense to me that to truly have freedom in our life we must learn to love completely and without restraint. I think the male hatred of the female is actually an extension of the male hatred of his own body and his inability to control his impulses. The reason why our society hates the feminine so much is then because the feminine becomes a representation of everything society hates about itself. But the male and the female exist in balance, harmony and perfection. We were created that way, to complement each other, with each one being completed and made greater by the other. To deny the feminine is to deny the part of one’s self that is passionate, warm, flowing, and creatively powerful. These qualities are indeed difficult to control and in our control oriented society they become faults. However, a world without passion, a world without creativity, a world in which we are afraid to dive into the luscious depths of our very existence is a world not worth living in.

Paradise is living without the ability to distinguish between good and evil. It is the place in our hearts where we accept ourselves without caveat or criticism. It is a place where love flows freely. Of course we all want entrance to this place. We all want to be loved freely and without caveat. The first step on the path to paradise then is to accept and love our selves — the male and the female within us — for if we do not know how to love our selves, how can we know how to love another? Or what it feels like to be loved? We run the risk of walking right into paradise, and then back out again because we don’t know how to recognize it when we see it.


*According to Sex at Dawn, they were actually thrown into a garden, but that’s a different discussion.

Mind Over Matter, Under the Weather

The body and mind are one.

You’ve heard the mantra “mind, body and soul,” but have you ever stopped to think about what exactly differentiates one from the other? I think the common understanding is that your body is the physical part of you that you use to move through the world. Your body is managed and controlled by your mind (mind over matter), but it only contains your soul. Your soul is the eternal part of you that inhabits, but does not integrate with your body.

Many people treat the soul as most important, with the mind coming second and the body being the unfortunate baggage that one needs to bring along for the trip. From my own experience, the mind and the body are so closely intertwined that it is futile to attempt to differentiate them. To me, the mind is the part of you that perceives the messages sent by the body. They work as a pair, with one being useless without the other. If my body is in pain, my mind will perceive pain. However, if my mind is in pain, it will perceive pain no matter what my body senses. If my mind is clear and with energy, I can perceive both pain and pleasure while also witnessessing myself experiencing those sensations, perhaps even mixing and muting them into different sensations that cross the boundaries between pain and pleasure.

As an example of how closely mind and body are linked, let me tell you about my depressive episodes. Years ago I learned to separate my body and my mind so that my mind was paramount to my body and was immune to its pain, but as a side effect was also innoculated to its pleasure. While I considered myself enlightened, somehow raised up above the physical tetherings of the body, the reality was that my disconnection was gradually making physical changes to my brain which eventually put me in a state of chronic depression. One day I realized that nothing in life mattered, every principle could be overturned, all value destroyed, all pleasure meaningless and all pain incapable of reawakening my dying consciousness. I went to a shrink, then another, then two more, and then I started to take medicine to repair my atrophied mind.

The medicine was nothing fancy — ultimately I used Prozac as a sort of mental cast while my insides healed. While wrapped in the protective shell of psychotropic medication, I worked with my therapist and life coach to unpack and experience all the years (nearly a decade’s worth) of compartmentalized experience. It was like doing surgery on my broken mind except that I was the one holding the knife and she just gave me instructions. When all the crap and filth was finally cut open and exposed, the scar tissue severed, we sewed everything back up again and began the process of taking off the cast. I am off medication now, and I no longer have regular visits with my therapist, but sometimes I still find myself suddenly mired in the amorphous swirling shadow of depression that mutates all my perceptions into a single block of heavy, hopeless exhaustion.

Ironically, when I find myself heavy and slow, when every act feels like dragging a lead ball through a two foot deep puddle of mud, when I know that it is my mind that is broken and that there is no real (read “material based”) reason for me to be having so much difficulty with everything, I just sleep. I don’t pep talk myself. I don’t push through. I don’t “mind over matter” or “positive thinking” my way out of the mire. I just give up, walk out and sleep it off. I’ve come to learn over the years that what my mind has come to think of as a depressive relapse is more often than not nothing more than sleep deprivation.  I know it’s popular to always try to “raise people up,” to be their support team and help them to always “shoot for the stars” and that giving up is pretty socially deplorable. But I also know that my mind is so inextricably linked to my physical health that if I’m hungry, or sleepy, or horny and those physical desires leak into my mind space in even the smallest quantity, then I’m done. My brain will make no further progress on anything I attempt to do, no matter how pressing the deadline or important the task, until I attend to my body’s need.

Very few people are able to comprehend the deep connection between adequate sex and sleep and one’s mental health. Our industrial culture says that sleeping more than six hours per night is a sign of laziness. Just use your will power to get up earlier! Unfortunately it does not work that way. Willpower comes from the mind, so that would be a case of mind over matter. But the mind cannot function properly without sleep, so to discipline yourself into operating on less sleep would require innoculation against other experiences and activities that rely on your mind. Modern behavioral economic research has even begun to recognize this relationship where people who are asked to use their minds to remember complicated patterns of numbers are then less capable of adhering to healthy dietary recommendations immediately after.

Sometimes I can get away with explaining to people that my body just requires more sleep than the average person. They look at me skeptically, but usually do not push the issue. It is generally well understood that humans vary in their sleep requirements. However, imagine trying to convince your boss that the reason you couldn’t finish your report on time was because you were horny and hadn’t gotten laid in three months and your entire brain space was so full of squirting penis and glistening vulva imagery that you couldn’t focus! You’d be better off telling your boss that you’re a lazy jerk-off who doesn’t take the company’s schedule seriously. But regular and satisfying sex is as critical to mental health as it is for the continuance of our species.

I often wonder to myself if, as a result of my psychological surgery, that my brain is now overcompensating for my mental health. For years I was so good at ignoring my bodily needs that I forgot how good it feels to eat when you’re hungry or fuck when you’re horny. Now, however, I know that if my body is deprived, my mind won’t work. I also know that if my mind becomes dark, I will find no pleasure in even the most beautiful sky or the most delicious food. That’s why I ascribe wholeheartedly to the better and more effective mantra, “cookie & a blow, then nap.” No matter what troubles you, no matter what obstacle you need to overcome, when you find yourself grumpy, negative and ready to give up, go out and get a cookie and blow. That covers your body’s physical needs. Then, take a nap and let your mind absorb all the good you just gave yourself. When you wake up, whatever it was that was bothering you, will suddenly seem a whole lot smaller.

Weasels, Fetishes and Sports

What do weasels, fetishes and sports have in common? If you try and connect with people who are interested in any of these, you will inevitably find websites or chatrooms filled to the brim with people whose lives are defined by these.

It’s a thing. Media coverage in almost any form on almost any topic you could be interested in will inevitably focus on an audience whose interest excludes all other aspects of their life. It’s almost as if our society, our global society, thinks that people can’t have multiple interests, or only mild passions, or that their own identities cannot be defined by more than one thing at a time. I’ve seen it everywhere and it’s maddening.

I think relationships are the hardest to deal with. If you are a mom you are only a mom! You can be a working mom, a sexy mom, a stay-at-home mom, but you can’t be, for example, a professional athlete. On the other hand, if you are a pro athlete, you can have babies, but only as a hobby. Or else you have to quit being an athlete. You can’t possibly be a top level athlete AND be serious about raising your kids.

If you are single, you can have an identity that includes lots of stuff. However, if you start dating someone you are “Brangelina” — inseparable and unidentifiable from your significant other. We can go sexual identity, too. If you are polyamorous then your entire life is organized around managing your relationships.

I remember when I first got my weasels and I was trying to figure out how to feed them a healthy diet. I joined the American Ferret Association facebook group and was immediately bombarded with battle cries of the raw diet. I was criticized if I didn’t talk about my weasels as the most important thing in my life, if I didn’t think they were smarter or cuter than all other animals, and worst, if I dared suggest that life as a single woman in the Ivory Towers meant feeding raw was too much work for me. Nothing could possibly be more important than my weasels!

I am most certainly tired of all this single mindedness. I think, though, more than just tired I am also lonely. It’s hard to find community when everything you see is so focused on the extremes and you feel like the only person in the world who dares care about her job and her hobbies. Is it so incomprehensible that I might want a strong body and be a woman at the same time? Is it such a sin to feed raw meat as a supplement to kibble? Can I possibly enjoy sex without its pursuit being my entire identity? The resounding answer that comes to me through the Internet is ‘No, absolutely not’.

Perhaps here is my solution: stop seeking community through the Internet. But does any one alive today still find community in the real world? Please, teach me how.


Acknowledgments: This post was inspired in part by The Goddess of Java, the one blogger I know who continues to live and write about real people having real, complete lives.

Sharing my sexuality

I moderate a forum dedicated to helping men overcome body issues and social anxiety. I hang out there because a long time ago I discovered that my best sexual partners tended to have smaller than average sized penises. Since the site’s original mission was to help men with small penis anxiety, I felt it was my duty to come to the site and sing my praises of the smaller sausages.

Naturally, my contribution to the site involves a lot of detailed descriptions of my sexual encounters, including my partners’ body types and my own reactions. I love sex and I love talking about sex, so this is actually a perfectly symbiotic relationship. However, while I am not in the least bit shy about my body, my tastes, or my escapades, I make sure to maintain a certain degree of anonymity and distance on the site. I think it is important that the men who hear of my escapades do not mistakenly interpret my openness and sexuality for sexual availability. This is a fine line that needs to be respected for the benefit of all people involved, but particularly for the men.

Throughout my life, since about twelve years old when I started attending high school, I have been hooted at, cat called, hit on and harassed. I have always been attractive and perhaps because of my background in classical ballet and theatre, I have always been shameless about displaying my body. Since a very young age, my body has been a tool of expression, so to hide it from others would be akin to cutting out my own tongue and then attempting to have a conversation. I am also objectively attractive. I know it’s not polite to point it out, but after being informed so for twenty years solid, it almost seems impolite to deny it. Perhaps as a result of my lifelong exposure to unsolicited male attention I have developed certain self protection mechanisms. I am a highly sexual female and men simply react to that. It isn’t a question of should they or should they not, but simply a reality that in order for my life to carry on more or less peacefully, I have to be the one to manage the sexual energy between myself and others.

For many women in the vast majority of encounters with unsolicited suitors, feigning disgust, sexual disinterest or ignorance is the quickest, easiest and most natural response. When a construction worker cat calls you on the way to work, there is no being polite or sophisticated, the best response is usually the finger. However, there are times when you want to share a portion of your sexuality, but still keep the male somewhat at a distance. Such is the case with me when I go out drinking with my friends or when I share a personal account on the forums. Often, it feels like playing with fire.

On the forums I try my best to present myself as “a woman sharing her experience with interested people.” Contrast this image to “Pinkie Boadicea talking about sex with me.” From the reader’s perspective, if you are an interested male, then both are equally true. The important distinction is which one feels truer or resonates more strongly. In the latter case, the reader might develop some misplaced affections towards me, Pinkie, the Woman on the Forum, when what I really want to happen is that the reader takes my message as evidence that women in general are capable of having similar opinions and that some woman somewhere will in turn have those feelings directed towards him. If the reader were to misinterpret my oppenness as interest in himself, personally, it might prevent him from seeking out more appropriate validation and affection from real people in real life. I want to avoid this as much as possible on the forums, so I try to make sure my language is general even when the subject is personal. I also make a point not to carry on discussions about myself in private messages. I don’t want the people I interact with to think that I am confiding some secret in them when the reality is that I am sharing something which is only personal, but not particularly private.

In real life things are different. I’m not as eloquent or careful. Let me point out, though, that I do not for a second consider this a fault. As I mentioned before it is one thing to say that it is a woman’s responsibility to manage male affections and it is another to say that it is a fact of life that failing to do so can become troublesome. Moreover, I can log out of a forum but I can’t log out of real life. There has to be some place where I can let it all hang out and indeed I make a point to do so. Men who can handle an unfiltered me make for much more fulfilling and uplifting friendships than men who need to be managed. All of that said, there are some habits that I have developed that will skew my relationships with men in real life and for better or for worse they seem to be fairly deeply ingrained.

While I am never shy about my sexuality and will always answer honestly when asked a direct question, I make a point to differentiate my affection from my raw lust. I try to make sure that my male friends understand that loving them does not mean fucking them any more than using their cocks to scratch an itch deep inside my cunt does not mean that I have fallen in love with them or would for a moment hesitate to scratch the same itch with a different cock. Sometimes I do this by twisting the reason why I am interested in someone so that it sounds more vulgar than it really is. Sometimes I do this by suddenly becoming very busy when a friend or partner seems to be confounding my sex drive with my love. I wish I could say that I do these things intentionally, but they seem to be more like self protection mechanisms and I often feel guilty when I catch myself doing them. If I could be fully in my wits at all moments, I would definitely prefer to tell them outright: Please don’t misunderstand, I love you and care for you the same way that I love and care for that other guy that I hang out with, but am not sleeping with; that you are my sexual partner at the moment is a matter of convenience for both of us but is no indication of my heart being open to you or of a commitment to be yours now or at any time in the future.

I have lost friends because of an inability to communicate about sex effectively with them. I have lost money and sleep because of the inability to communicate about sex with men who were not so much my friends. Enabling male sexuality is very dangerous specifically when communication about boundaries and intentions fails. However, I am a sexual being. I love sex and I believe that the free expression of sex increases human well being on a personal as well as a social level. Moreover, I know that among women I am particularly capable of communicating my boundaries in a gentle way, and I am particularly capable of kindness towards my partners. So in a way, I feel as if I am particularly responsible to take the risk and put my sexuality out in public view where it can be experienced by others for what it is. It is my hope that by touching others in a genuine fashion that they will take that experience forward in their own lives and their own relationships and that, even if no one ever consciously recognizes that it was me who inspired them, they will live fuller and more satisfying lives because of me. That is the reason why I share.

My Brain

My brain

It recently dawned on me that my brain doesn’t organize the world the same way most other people’s brains do. Where as most people tend to simplify the world around them into predetermined categories, I have a tendency to look at the parts that make things up and draw similarities on a more basic level. For better or for worse this seems to be an obstacle that I need to overcome when I communicate with people.

The most common area where my brain gives me difficulty communicating with people is most surely in human relations. Most Americans, as well as Japanese, tend to view human relationships as being in one of the following stock categories: professional or personal, family, friend, neighbor, acquaintance or romantic partner. There may be some finer categories that people use, too, such as “sex friend” which is a kind of sub category of romantic partner that includes the sex but not the romance or love. For the most part, however, these categories are distinct. Rarely will someone find themselves fulfilling more than one of these roles at a time. For example, your mother might also be your friend, but you wouldn’t call her to go “out with your friends,” which puts her firmly in the category of family. At the same time the characteristics of each of these relationships do very much overlap.

Family and romantic partners are expected to love you. Sometimes friends love each other. Only romantic partners and sex professionals can satisfy your physical needs, though. In fact, hugging members of the opposite sex (among straight people) borders on a violation of the implicit exclusivity of the romantic relationship. On the other side of the spectrum, professional contacts are expected to refrain from emotional interaction. There are many other rules and characterizations of the many types of human relationships as well.

The way my brain works is on the level of those characteristics. My brain looks at a human relationship and asks whether or not there is love, or sex, or an exchange of goods or services. Sometimes the answers align well with the standard relationship categories; sometimes the align less well. For example, what does one call a relationship where there is love and sex and an exchange of market services? Can it be possible to be friends with your boss?

The most difficult for me is trying to communicate about any relationship that involves sex. Most people are quick to drop it into the sex friend category, or the romantic category. The difficulty is with the love factor. Sex friends are not normal friends in the sense that they are expected to not have strong feelings for each other or to be particularly involved in each other’s lives. So if you add love to a sex friend, do you get a romantic partner? No, because romantic partners are for the most part expected to be preparing for a long term monogamous relationship, such as marriage. People who believe in True Love find this conclusion natural because if you loved each other Truly, there would be no reason not to marry. However marriage is a very different relationship than friends or lovers and involves its own set of expectations both within and from outside of the relationship. So what does one call a loving sexual relationship that never moves closer towards marriage? The answer is that you don’t, really. So far I have found no word to communicate that concept.

If you break down human relationships into their critical components, it is quite obvious that a relationship with sex, friendship, and love can be different from a romantic partnership with its expectation of exclusivity. The difficulty I think most people have is that they aren’t looking at the pieces, they are looking at the whole item. This pattern isn’t limited to human relationship categories either.

Recently I was talking to a friend of mine who is quite passionate about politics and who is mostly self taught on the subject. At some point in our conversation I found myself very confused because my friend is also devoutly liberal in his politics, but he was violently attacking economic policies that would help the liberal agenda because he thought they were republican propaganda. I would open my mouth to comment, only to close it again in confusion as the conversation took what seemed to me like a 180º in its ideology. What I realized after having let the conversation settle for a few hours was that my friend’s approach to policy was from a different starting point than mine. He sees policy as a battle among competing political forces whereas I see policy as a collection of changes, each affecting a different piece of the population in its own way. Because I look at policy as being good or bad for the population and not as part of a political agenda I have often been stumped when people ask me what my political leanings are. I simply don’t understand how the divisions are drawn.

Some people say that I am smart. I am not sure if that’s the right word. I know that my brain’s stubborn insistence on seeing the world as a collection of trees rather than a forest has enabled me to see striking patterns among its leaves that others may overlook. At the same time it also complicates my daily life. Categories are helpful in a complicated world that insists on changing faster than any human living in it can manage to adapt. For many of us, it’s enough to know if we are friends on the left, or professional acquaintances on opposite sides of the spectrum and for that categories are infinitely easier to work with. My greatest hope is that perhaps one day I will meet someone who is really good at seeing the larger picture and who will take my hand and guide me through the forest as I spend my time inspecting all the myriad beings inside it. I know I have a lot to offer the world, but I also know that if I spend all my time seeing patterns that I will have no energy to share those insights with others. Ultimately both skills are necessary to achieve change.

Candida and My Physical and Mental Health

I’m three weeks in to my candida cleanse diet. The first week was the absolute longest, with the cravings for pasta and other simple carbs so strong that my sides could be bulging from dinner and I would still feel the ache like emptiness in my stomach. Since then I have slowly felt the tug less and less. I’ve never fought with an addiction, so to speak, but I am pretty sure that I had become addicted to carbs.

Since then I have started to get accustomed to this new eating style. I can go to most restaurants now and find something to eat. I thought I would feel frustrated on the days when what I really want to eat is just not available, but in fact I’ve found that my body is easier to satisfy than I expected. If I give it enough vegetables, and I find I prefer them cooked or smoothied, and a satisfying chunk of protein, I tend to be ok pretty independently of what the details are. It’s surprising, even though I know the importance of listening to one’s body, that one’s body can actually be heard as loudly as mine is.

Physically I feel amazing, and light! For months I was bogged down with this bloated and heavy feeling. I thought I was eating healthy, but my weight was up by about three kilograms above the top of my happy range and nothing I did would budge it. I knew I was retaining water, but I would drink until I just couldn’t drink any more water and it still wouldn’t flush out. Climbing or riding I felt this unnatural heaviness in my limbs as though there was more strength in me but I just couldn’t access it. Now that has cleared. At night I don’t get the gas and bloating that was messing with my sex life, just this clean feeling of not being hungry any more.

Emotionally I’m a different person! In the last five days I have suddenly rediscovered my raging insatiable sex drive. I had spent so long fighting yeast infections that I forgot my body craved sex! One evening the feeling came back with a vengeance and left me almost in a cold sweat. Certainly it’s more convenient, as I believe Aristotle pointed out, to not have a sex drive, but to me it’s a sign that my body is alive and healthy and so I’m happy for it. I’ve been sleeping better, too. Most nights I sleep the whole night despite my housemate snoring like a chainsaw and not waking up to his alarm in the morning. My head is clearer during the day and most importantly, that unbearable sense of dread and hopelessness for the future has lifted! I feel as clear now as I did the first week I took antidepressents, only this time I’m not on medication. Moreover, I’m not afraid that this is a passing break in the clouds. I feel like this is me, the way I’m supposed to be, and that my chronic anxiety and inability to focus and get done the basic administrative tasks that lube the life machine were just symptoms of a temporary illness.

Part of me is sad that I don’t have a doctor overseeing my healing. I would like to have some kind of medical test or something to prove that this syndrome of dullness and irritation that is lifting from me truly was the result of a chronic, systemic candida overgrowth. But at the same time I am happy to see that I have the power to return my body to health without the need to be poked and prodded and lectured by someone with a degree who thinks he knows my body better than I do. Medicine is nice, and when it comes to catastrophic injuries and things like that, it’s a good thing to have in one’s social toolbox. However western medicine does not talk to the body and that’s a major source of information on how to heal that gets left out of the picture. It doesn’t heal on a holistic level, just takes away symptoms here and there. So in that sense this is really a good thing.

Since I’ve been tracking my physical and mental condition for three weeks now, I actually know where I am in my cycle! I should be ovulating in the next week, which is when my yeast symptoms have been the strongest in the past. I’m starting to crave carbs again a little more than I did a week ago and part of me wants to say it’s fine to have them now because I’ve been so successful, but I think I’m going to instead interpret this hunger as a sign that the candida is not yet cleared from my system. I would like to observe one complete cycle without candida symptoms before I give myself the green light to allow various sugars back into my diet. It’s unfortunate that it takes so long, but unlike many women who are dieting to “slim down,” I am dieting for health and I have a clear goal and a timeframe, and rigorous documentation of my progress. I am not worried that I won’t succeed!

Dear My Origins

Dear My Former Church,

We haven’t spoken in a long time. In fact, we haven’t spoken since that critical day in August, 2010, when I realized that you had been lying to me all this time. It’s been hard for me to live without you, but as the song goes, “I spent so many nights thinking how you did me wrong and I grew strong. And I learned how to get along!” I don’t need you anymore and I’ve come to realize that, accept it, and own it. There is a scar from our past which will always be with me, but now that the wound is closed and I have come to be able to breathe again I thought I should write to you to give us both a little closure.

I was young when we met, bright eyed, beautiful and vulnerable. You came to me with the promise of joy and protection from the cruel world. You told me that I was weak and you were strong and that you would love me and only want what was best for me. Naturally I was swept away by your promises. What innocent virgin would not be? I bound myself to you and made your presence known in every action, every thought, and every interaction I had in every single day of my life. You told me that I was broken, that I was dirty, that I was the cause of man’s downfall. You told me that my suffering was just and inescapable punishment for my inherent sin and I believed you while at the same time asking you, nay even begging you, to explain to me how your love was apparent through all that judgment.

You were jealous then, and you still are. I didn’t understand until I was married how far reaching the tentacles of your jealousy were. You told me that to marry young and virgin was the height of my virtue and that only a complete denial of my physical self could be closer to your ideal. So I did that. I married young and virgin and innocent. When on my wedding night my husband proclaimed to me that “[He] was going to have sex with [his] wife!” a strange thing happened. For all my young years I had been fighting against an ever increasing tidal wave of sexual energy. It threatened to throw me body and soul out of the light of your glory and into the frothing sea of carnal passion below. You promised me that on my wedding night instead of plunging to my spiritual death, that this tidal wave of energy would instead raise me up, send me soaring in virtuous marital bliss, but when my gown came off and I open my thighs for my new husband…

there was no wave. Indeed it was as if the entire ocean had dried up before me.

Of course neither you nor my brand new husband seemed in the slightest bit bothered and the both of you just kept plowing on without me. And so it was that I spent the better part of the next decade in a desperate losing battle to reunite my rebelling spirit with the joy and safety that you had promised me. You know how well that went. You promised me that if I could only make it as far as I did that ever abundant life and joy would be made available to me, but instead you abandoned me to the care of a man. A single, solitary, miserly, inadequate man. Even though I returned to you time and again for an explanation, your promises and your love were as dry as the tidal wave of my former passion. You told me then in my desperation and my loneliness that I should be happy because you had given me everything I could want. You told me that my lack of happiness was my own fault for rejecting your gifts to me.

And so it was one humid summer night that I went back to the cliff where I had last seen the raging sea that threatened to swallow me whole so many years ago. I remember standing on the edge of that cliff and looking down into the sea and wondering if it would indeed kill me. But then I looked for you there on that cliff and though you warned me not to jump, I saw the truth of what your promises held for me: pain, loneliness, self-loathing. Your promises to me were no more alive than an empty desert who so long has not felt rain that it has given up even the memory of moisture. My choice was apparent. I could stay with you and have a slow wasting death of which every day would be safe and secure in the knowledge that there was no more life to be had. Or else I could throw myself off that cliff into the writhing, frothing sea below. Perhaps it would kill me. Perhaps I would drown, or perhaps I would not. Perhaps the waves would cradle me and toss me, bringing thrill and kindness to my parched existence.

You know what happened that night. There is no way you didn’t hear me screaming and calling out my passion. I nearly choked on the surge of life that flooded my body. And I know what you said then, too. You said to all who would listen to you that it was the voice of suffering that rose up from the water. You called them to look at my face and see pain and madness, a fallen woman indeed. But let’s be honest with each other. I feel that after all these years we owe each other at least that much. You did to me what any spurned lover would do. You muddied my name and discredited me so as to mitigate the pain of your own rejection.

Were you a human, I would forgive you for your faults, but you are not a human you are a church. You are massive conglomeration, a katamari of all that is good and all that is mislead in humanity and you wield your power over us young and helpless. Isolated and naive you make of us easy prey. I wish I could say now, My Church, that I forgive you your trespasses, but you do not forgive those who trespass against you, do you?

I guess in the end, though, I am not without fault. I wanted to believe you. You did tell me one thing which was true and that was that in my heart, at the deepest center of my being, I would know truth from lie. And I knew you were lying to me. Your story never made very good sense, but I used all my energy to force that burning star of Truth at the back of my consciousness into the clean and tidy cage you offered me. You told me I should love my neighbor as myself and I knew this to be truth. But you also told me that I should love my husband more than myself and this never sat well with me. How could I love my neighbor, my brothers and sisters in God, as myself and then love one person of my choosing more so than all of them? I tried to convince myself that it was simply a matter of expediency that one necessarily had to spend more of their time with their husband than with the rest of humanity so it made sense to love him more.

You also told me that my body was a temple to the One True God and that I should never celebrate in it. Wait, what? Are temples not for worship? How can I worship with my body if I never use it? You told me that my body, being a female body, was necessarily unclean, but why would a holy and divine being bestow upon me a temple to its glory that was unclean and unworthy of celebration?

I knew these things did not make sense just as I knew that your promise of unconditional and unbounded love did not actually extend to me because of my womanhood. And yet you were so charismatic, so convincing and you made the outside world seem so scary that I would have chosen you then a thousand times over.

Well, I wanted to tell you that I have grown now. I jumped into that frothing sea and I drank it until the waves subsided and they carried me spent on their backs until I reached the shore. I have found my peace now with my body and my womanhood, but not with you. So I thought it was fair warning to let you know that I’m coming back to finish you off. No longer will I allow you to prey upon the young and the innocent. No longer will I stand by and try to justify your lies to my sisters who, unlike myself, are still too afraid to take the leap. You who would sow fear and distrust amongst those that I love are forever my enemy and I will fuck you out of existence.

You have been warned.

I keep Coming Back to Sex

It is a reality I am slowly coming to accept: I am addicted to sex.

But I am not addicted in the traditional way, rather more philosophically so. As the international AIDS activist and specialist on Arab sexuality Shereen El Feki said,

“If you want to know a people, you start by looking inside their bedrooms”

And really, I think Ms. Feki is on to something here. Sex is freedom and freedom is empowerment over our own lives and our own destinies. What that means is that sex threatens, or enforces, the power others have over us.

So I keep coming back to sex because I love life and sex is life. Two people having sex can create new life, but they can also emblazon the spark of their own lives. Never have I met a happy person with a dissatisfying sex life. Likewise I have never met a person with bedroom troubles who was happy in every other aspect of their lives or their own self image.

Because sex is so intimate, it is frightening and thrilling to share with another person. However, the individual who is willing to face that fear and all of its consequences in order to reap its profound benefits is able to face their fears outside the bedroom as well. Such an individual is difficult to control, and that is why sex is freedom.

The Clitoris is for Men

Several weeks ago I read a post by an advice columnist who I am not on particularly good terms with and it rankled me. The advisee, a young male, was concerned that he could not bring his female partner to orgasm with penetration. The advice he received was twofold: First, he was shamed for his male supremist desire to bring his partner to orgasm through penetration. Second, he was instructed in the “universal knowledge” that the clitoris is located outside the vagina and is not sufficiently stimulated by penetration and that he was required to provide oral, manual or electrical stimulation directly to his partner’s clitoris if he wanted her to orgasm.

Well, recent and extremely overdue research on the female reproductive anatomy has produced this three dimensional image of the human clitoris

The Internal Clitoris
The complete clitoris as presented on the Museum of Sex (NY) blog. The yellow portion is the clitoris and the blue structures are the bladder (left) and the vagina (right), which leads into the uterus (upper most).

Take a moment to appreciate this image. Exactly where is the clitoris again? It sure appears to me to be inside the female pelvic cavity, wrapping around the urethra and the vagina and extending forward to the mons pubis and backward towards the anus. Just by looking at this image, if you were to ask me if the clitoris was better stimulated by rubbing a finger on the glans clitoris, the tiny little nub sticking out and down on the left side of the image, or by rubbing some phallic object against the inner circle of it by way of the vagina, I’d go vagina every time.

So why was I so upset by the advice given to this young male? Besides it being out of date, it was also advise for a man seeking a goal and completely neglected the woman in question. More specifically, imagine being the owner of such a magnificent and complex organ of sexual satisfaction and imagine never once having been able to wield it properly. Now imagine you have a partner who wants to learn how to help you wield that organ to achieve its full glory, but when he seeks the necessary knowledge on how to do this, he is told that your organ is busted and isn’t actually meant to work that way and he should stop trying. No one once asks you what your opinion in all of this is.

This brief interaction between two men discussing a woman’s body without her input is not a new phenomenon, nor is it an example of bonding behavior we would expect to see only between extreme political conservatives. In fact, this is just one more case of a history of conversations between men for the benefit of men. As far back as I can remember, every storybook character I ever read about was either a woman seeking a husband, or a man. Every historical figure I ever studied was a man, save for the exceptional woman who was noted for her womanhood. In movies, women were the reasons that men became great, but they were never great themselves. God Himself is a man. In my adolescent years I was desperate, as all adolescents are, for a role model. I dove deeper and deeper into the philosophy behind what I was given to study in school, digging for some universal truth about humanity that would validate my existence. What I found was the vastest of empties. I would search in the books that we read for a female character that had positive traits and what I discovered was that in order to emulate these characters I had to be beautiful, and I had to be romantically unattainable. Attainability, was anathema to female success. The only women of virtue in any of my studies were desperately, painfully and permanently alone. It is a wonder I survived adolescence at all.

Modern times, full as they are with sexual freedom and women’s rights, still prove to be no more welcoming of the human female than the histories were. Indeed, even on a subject so intensely personal, so intensely feminine as the existence and nature of the clitoris, women are not even invited in to speak. The clitoris, it seems, exists only for validation of the male ego, and if he wants that ego validated, he better get to it directly and not waste time on pleasuring a woman in the process.

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