Two years ago I started on a very deliberate journey to discover what I was missing in my sexual experiences within myself and with men. I felt that there was a barrier between who I was on the inside sexually and what I was actually experiencing during my sexual encounters. This was disturbing to me; I was certain that this barrier was also a wall between my spirituality and my connection with myself, with others, and even with God. Maybe this sounds crazy, but there you have it.
After years of chanting, several forms of meditation, and numerous religious practices, I finally found the courage to dig into my sexual bag of shame, guilt, religious conditioning, and female self-hatred. I decided to eat the forbidden fruit. It was like opening Pandora's box. I was astounded to discover the depth of the cultural misconceptions I'd been bringing into the bedroom. No wonder I was so estranged from my own sexual pleasure and power.
For as long as I can remember, I could feel a presence of something more, something beyond what human eyes could see. As a child, it was a warm, comforting sort of energy that lifted me out of my body. This organic spiritual experience was replaced with the religion of my grandmother as I grew older. She was a devout Christian and saw to it that I spent many hours at services, reading the bible, and learning to live according to what the church deemed holy and sacred. It was there that I learned of harlots, virtuous women, and Eve's big fuckup that cast us all into a world of sin. Indeed, with its entrenchment in Christian doctrine, deeply conflicting attitudes toward sexuality and femininity reigned supreme in the African American community I grew up in. I saw it in the way homosexuality was (and continues to be) shamed and denied. In addition to our religion's demonization of sexuality, our "enlightened" culture continues to send women messages that rain down like hatred upon the female body. Our advertisements ask us to perpetually find ourselves wanting and unworthy. When I was younger, black women were virtually invisible in the media, now rappers deem them whores, making pornography out of what in is pure form is exquisite beauty. Sad to say but there is clearly an inability in the black community to candidly appreciate human sexuality as a natural, divinely sanctioned aspect of who people are.
Women's repression begins with their mis-education and shaming. I was a forty-year-old woman before I fully understood that the drive for sexual activity and the desire to attract the opposite sex begins with puberty. I never clearly understood that the desire and chemical pull to have sex was natural and a part of mature. It was nature. There was only the admonishment to resist and maintain one's virginity until marriage. Clearly the expectations for girls contrasted sharply with those for boys -- I continue to hear parents acceptance of their son's time locked in the bathroom masturbating during puberty. It's a rite of passage for teen boys.
Thirty years later, I stepped into a new question. Who am I am as a sexual woman? I wanted to know what was missing from my sexual experiences and from my way of being entirely. After struggling with my sexuality in the context of a long-term relationship and marriage, I knew that I had to do something drastic to remove the barrier inside me. Over the last year I have explored issues of inner safety, emotional security, sexual purity, lesbianism, open relationships and sex on a first date. I looked social norms around female sexuality in the face and walked over them. I have set aside my belief system about marriage, monogamy, and even romantic love, with the desire to determine for myself what really matters to me as a sexual being and a woman. Naomi Wolf's book has become my faithful companion on this journey because it confirms what I always thought possible. She's affirmed for me that my innate sense, that women are wired to have a mystical experience during orgasm, is true, and I've been exploring Taoist and Tantra practices to help me find my inner bliss. I've only touched the surface and look forward to continuing this journey into my sexual empowerment and freedom. All we need do as women is move into the question. Who are we really as sexual and sensual beings? The answer to this question will literally blow the top of your head off while you experience the most pleasurable and mystical experience available to humans.
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