It never ceases to amaze me how much we allow our beliefs to limit our experience. And this is never truer when it comes to sex.
It interests me no end when I read reviews of The Yearning that begin with ‘I was dubious about reading this because of my beliefs – ‘. As expected, such reviews usually go one of two ways. The person either finds the explicit descriptions of sex thoroughly offensive, or they are pleasantly surprised by the complexity of the story’s themes. They discover the sex isn't there to be titillating, it's there because it's essential to the story and they understand the story would be lesser without it.
I’m a strong advocate of people holding the views they wish to hold. If people want to believe sex is wrong or offensive, I respect their right to do so, but why they choose to do so I just can't fathom. The truth is, negative beliefs about sexuality, in particular female sexuality, have caused no end of damage not only to the people who hold those beliefs but to those subjected to their associated judgements.
My own beliefs about sex have evolved a lot with time and experience. The moment a belief no longer serves to connect me with myself or my partner, I work to change it. Maintaining a belief about sex that limits my experience pleasure or capacity to assert myself or ability to communicate my needs is pointlessly harmful to me and my relationship. Flexibility is the key to learning and light, and the enemy of ignorance and darkness.
When I was young I inherited fairly negative views about sex from my Catholic upbringing. It wasn’t that anyone out and out told me sex was bad, it was just the vibe all those nuns (and a few relatives) had around sex. It was a whispered word rarely used, so I got the impression it was a bad thing you went to hell for. It took a lot of hard emotional work to get past all the shame and judgement six years in a Catholic Primary School embedded in my brain, but I did it. Now, for the most part, my beliefs about sex are positive and support me in having a healthy relationship.
Sexual pleasure isn’t evil. It never has been and I’m baffled as to why it ever got that reputation. Pleasure is natural and good, in all its forms, sex included. Sex is one of life’s big ticket items, along with birth and death, which is probably why so many people feel so uncomfortable about it. It’s a powerful and deeply personal thing and it’s not always easy to find the words we're looking for to talk about it. But we all have a sexual nature. Feeling sexual, thinking or talking or reading about sex, doesn’t make us bad as people. What we choose to do with our sexuality, the way we treat ourselves and others, is what really defines those moral boundaries.
There is so much goodness in sex - the connection, the communication, the intimacy. Sex has taught me so much about myself and my partners and I continue to learn more now that I’m married. My personal journey has been one of ever increasing joy, so I really struggle to understand why grown adults would actively choose to continue to have negative beliefs about sex. Because every negative belief you hold about sex automatically limits your experience of it. And if you limit your experience of it, how can you feel true pleasure? How do you learn to fully experience one of the most thrilling aspects of being human? How can you understand the nature of pleasure if you don’t feel it in your body or open your mind to its possibilities?