Huffpost Women
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Karen Fitzgerald Headshot

Fifty Shades of...Hiding!

Posted: Updated:

I missed the sexual revolution. Oh, I was the right age, but somewhere between being a good Catholic girl and trying to heal my alcoholic family, there just didn't seem to be time.

Although I was reading Our Bodies, Ourselves like it was the Bible and it gave me permission to masturbate, I was skeptical. I had given up that little activity at age 11, after accidentally rubbing up against my teddy bear once (well, actually more than once, but not too much more, because I was riddled with guilt)! Why? Well, I was pretty sure it was that word "lust" that we were warned about, that of the seven deadly sins.

Somehow, because the nuns almost whispered it, it seemed the worst of the sins, bigger even than wrath, sloth, gluttony and that other bunch. Though wrath was not high on my list, I was struggling with gluttony (potato chips) and sloth (not drying the dinner dishes). But LUSSSSTTTTT... ooh, that was the bad one.

But somehow, it didn't stop me from experimenting with my high school boyfriend, although not too much. Just enough so I wouldn't get pregnant or go all the way because then he wouldn't respect me, he could label me a slut and then I wouldn't get a decent guy to marry me and I might wind up on a cheap bar stool in perpetuity bemoaning my lost virginity.

So, instead of joining the sexual revolution, I got married, and after having read that book, I thought, "I will have the sexual revolution right in the comfort of my own home." Yippee. Only that's not quite what happened. He was not on the same page as me, and given his own complicated childhood upbringing... well, where is Freud when I need him?

So my revolution stayed mostly in books. I brought home The Joy of Sex and enticed with pictures. No, that didn't do it. I read the Hite Report. What did women want and, most importantly, what did men want because our whole life purpose was to catch one and then keep him by sexually pleasing him? But the men didn't benefit from this arrangement, either, because they didn't really know what to do, so women would shut down or fake it, and we couldn't tell them, because first, we were taught it would ruin their egos, and secondly, because we didn't know. Nobody taught anybody anything because we were all taught that lust was wrong.

And here's the thing. It is a primal need, that urge to merge, to be held, to feel ecstasy, to play, to touch each other bodies, and ultimately, to connect and love -- and yet we don't.

Then here's a secret. It doesn't start with men's pleasure, it starts with women's. And when the men get this, they get to be the hero and they get off on it, too. Who knew? And who knows what that means?

Well, post-divorce, I decided to find out. I have been on that exploration, and I promise you, it is not all from books, but I am writing one. It started in India and got so comic that I even scripted my solo show about it, "Hot Mama Mahatma".

What I've found in tantra classes and sacred sexuality classes are great instructors teaching beautiful practices about pleasure. There have been some lovely younger men who have been only too delighted to learn it with me. I say younger (yes, well above legal age), because they have been the most open.

But here's the glitch. Most people don't talk about it. They want to. But they're in hiding because there's shame. We have shame about our own bodies. Who created that nonsense? Don't get me started. But you say the word "sex", and their ears perk up. You could try this yourself.

When you're chatting, just throw some words together, like the ingredients on your cereal box and then just toss in the word, "SEX." See what happens. Hilarious. It could be an interesting party game. And when done right, it's healthy, even better than fortified cereal! People keep asking me why I look younger. Instead of aging, I'm youthening!

Meanwhile, people are pondering the popularity of 50 Shades of Grey. They are proselytizing about its literary merits, they are mocking it as "Mommy Porn," but it's a much bigger issue. Women are devouring them because the books are filled with a man's desire for a woman, and together they experience pleasure and ultimately love.

So, women are fantasizing longingly from books, men are fantasizing longingly online, porn addictions are out of control and nobody's getting together. We have a lonely population fantasizing when they really want to feel... each other. After living a life with addicts, I decided to feel. It's been fun, and surprising. But first you have to come out of hiding.