/ Connection

Let’s Talk About Sex (and Kink)

file4441273463369Touch. Sex. Ecstasy. Kink. Bondage. Sado-masochism.

These are things we don’t talk about at workshops. Well, unless they are sex workshops.

Why? Why are these topics off-limits? Why is there “therapy” and “sex therapy”? The taboo on sex is an invisible line right down the middle of the health and wellness world.

Only it doesn’t feel like it’s right down the middle. It feels like well-being is this whole realm, and sex is off in the corner somewhere. It’s something you talk about in private. Or at those kinds of workshops.

But I posit it is straight down the middle, because sexuality is actually a core part of being human. All our drives – inspiration, motivation, contribution–they are hooked up to the same internal systems that run our sexuality. Our brains and our bodies are built for sex. Sex is how we came to be here. It’s so inextricable from our aliveness that it is baffling how we have managed to hide it so thoroughly from ourselves.

So we are cutting ourselves in half to not ever talk about it, to not ever acknowledge its existence, except in private, behind closed doors.

How can we work on behalf of planetary healing when we are unable to even speak about something so vital to our health and well-being?

And I fully include ME in this “we”. I go along with the silence. I feel comforted and safe by the silence. I don’t have to encounter my shyness, embarrassment, discomfort, and my deep fear of being a “freak”. I don’t have to talk about my queerness, my kink, my history, my shame, my desires. I get to safely leave those at home.

But there is a huge part of me not in the room when I don’t say a word about it.

And I know the reason I don’t is because nobody does. It’s a cultural  norm, and it’s very hard to go against that. I want to fit in as much as the  next person, and why not? We all need to belong. We all need acceptance. There is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong, but it could be better.

Because I don’t want to live this way. I don’t want a world where we can’t talk about sex. I want to be able to talk about it. And I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know how. I don’t have the words. I don’t have the easy confidence of “sex-positive” folk I have met. I feel awkward and embarrassed. But I want to say this is an edge for me, like I would say about any other edge.

Talking about sex, in public, with each other, is a collective edge of the entire woo-woo world.

An edge I would like to gently explore. With people who feel ready, in spaces that are safe.

So here I go…

I went to a public dungeon a few weeks ago. Now, that sounds pretty out-there and wacky, but it was actually pretty chill once I got over the OMG-I’M-IN-A-DUNGEON thing. It was a BDSM “sampler” with Bad Girls, a women’s leather club in PDX.

I had a lot of fun, learned a lot about myself, explored sensations (including but not limited to pain), and explored power, trust, and safety. I got tied up, spanked, and flogged. I was fully clothed the whole time and there was no genital touching. After my initial shyness I felt very comfortable. People were remarkably friendly.

I learned that the BDSM community norms (at least in this community) are a lot more sophisticated about communication, negotiation, safety (emotional and physical), trust, and creating a container than many woo-woo communities I’ve been in. Which makes sense–in order to explore your limits in a sustainable way, you need to be really clear about these things. Duh.

People like BDSM for lots of different reasons. For some it’s about sex, for some it’s about sensation, for some it’s about power, for most of us it’s at least in part about endorphins. When you push your body’s limits you get high. And for some, including me, it’s about transcendence.

It’s an experimental space. Let’s try this…how about if I do that, was that fun? How did it feel? Did you like it? Where did you go? This feels the same as the way I live the rest of my life, it’s just that here I’m experimenting with stuff I don’t talk about in the rest of my life.

But I want that to change.

So consider this my bid for openness.

I want to create emotionally safe containers that let me bring all of myself and discuss it openly. Let’s bring our sexuality into the room, the way we bring all the other messy parts of our psyches and our lives. Let’s stop pretending we are not sexual beings. Let’s find a way to heal this divide in our culture.

Let’s talk about it.

5 Comments

  1. NK

    Bravo Emma. Best wishes in your explorations. A book I really like on sex and transcendent experiences is “Transcendent Sex — When Lovemaking Opens The Veil” by Dr. Jenny Wade.

    The experiences that some people have in this realm, changes their lives forever.

    Reply
  2. Lauren

    Oh Emma! Reading this and your most recent post brings a good deal of inspiration and YEA-LET’S-DO-THIS feeling to my day. Which is greatly needed right now. I’m supporting this bid for alive, open, vulnerable and messy living. Excited about all this growth and exploration.

    Reply
  3. Marisa

    Yes! Healing the silence around bodies and sexuality and sensuality feels critical and yet also like sometimes murky or confusing territory. Thank you for opening up a conversation about opening up a conversation!

    Reply
  4. Saul

    Totally relate to this! I recently decided to include a post about Polyamory on the front page of my site. I worried, “Do people who read my blog for freelancing advice really want my thoughts on relationships?” But I can’t separate the two — the reasons I seek out challenge and adventure in work and travel are the same reasons I seek it out in relationships. And I think that the poly/kink approach to, as you said, communication and negotiation is something everyone can learn, regardless of relationship-type. Thanks for posting!

    Reply

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