Sunday, April 10, 2016

All Acts of Love and Pleasure

"Both of us say there are laws to obey.  But frankly, I don't like your tone.  You want to change the way I make love.   I want to leave it alone." --  Leonard Cohen

What does it mean to be sex positive?

Seeing more and more people openly express the vibrant, healthy, holy, liberatory potential of sexuality is a beautiful thing.

But from lube shaming and to descriptions and proscriptions and prescriptions of right and wrong ways to experience orgasms to the erasure and/or objectification of the bodies and sexualities experiences of Queer people, Trans people, fat people, disabled people, and People of Color to the lack of understanding of how the sensory experiences of neurodivergent people and trauma survivors shape their sexual experiences, a lot of what passes for sex positivity in contemporary culture too often excludes a lot of people's experiences of sex.

So, I want to spell out what I mean when I talk about being a sex positive herbalist, a sex positive priest, a sex positive person:

I am sex positive even when I struggle with shame and fear about my own sexuality.   Even when shame makes it difficult for me to engage or express my own desire.   Even when fear makes me too dissociated to be able to connect with a lover.    Just as much as when I am feeling as free and embodied and lusty as a rutting stag.   All of these have been common experiences at different points in my life.   All of them are part of my experience now.   Sometimes I experience all of them at once. I am sex positive because I believe in being present to my body's authentic responses and sensations and desires and emotions however they show up.

I am sex positive when I encourage other people to allow themselves to play with and explore their own bodies.   And when I celebrate the pleasure they share with each other.   And when I encourage them to be honor their own boundaries, their own hesitation, to be still and slow and present with all of their parts as they come into different states of embodiment and different intensities and flavors of sexual desire and sexual aversion.

I am sex positive when I say that there are no right or wrong ways for people to have or not have sex, to have or not have orgasms, to ejaculate or not ejaculate,  to stretch their own boundaries or honor their own need safety, to run power through their bodies alone or with other people, to play with flows of power and pleasure between people, to explore sensation so long as they are grounded in authenticity, respect, and consent.    No such thing as too much or too little sex as long as a person's relationship with their sexuality helps them engage their vitality.   No profane sex except that which violates someone's sense of integrity.    

As Doreen Valiente wrote in "The Charge of the Goddess,"  "All acts of love and pleasure are my rituals."

And it is my goal to liberate my own love and pleasure, and be an ally in others' liberation.

That is what sex positivity means to me.


hematite said...


Sempervaliant said...

Sean,your articulation of thoughts on this subject is as wise as it is beautiful. Thank you. Having lived for four decades now as an out lover of women, activist in deed and life example, witnessing the fruits of our struggles in increasing social acceptance of hetero-divergent behavior and life paths is exhilarating. I am very proud to have been one, amongst so many, who listened to my own heart-god, at times suffering the social punishments of non-conformity. Those traumas, however severe and longlasting in impact they may be, also forged inner strength much as swords gain hard power through repeated plunges into ice water after the blacksmith's hammer pounds red-hot metal. I try to imagine the lives of at least some teenagers now being unstained by self-loathing, fear or feeling like falling meteors without a sense of place in the universe. I imagine boys and girls who can revel in romances they can fully explore and pursue, learning how to be adults in love the way it feels right, honest and real for them. People who are unfamiliar with the word homophobia because it holds no reference point in their experiences. Imagine adults who cannot fear being refused or losing a job, government clearances, their place as a teacher, soldier, or daycare worker, just because they love someone with the same physical phenotype. I think of people who will never know the fear and humiliation of being under threat of losing custody of their child or being unable to adopt a child because of the body shape of their beloved partner. All of these things and so many more were the nascent dreams of my friends and I as we marched and wrote and spoke and stood tall taking the hits, watching friends die young of AIDS before they could witness federal recognition of marriage to your real choice of partner, not a pseudo-choice that obliterated half the population from your dating pool. I deeply rejoice for the kids who can go to their school dances with their dates of choice and whose first kiss will be with someone who draws their heart, not someone prescribed for them by society. All of this must nurture a groundswell of honesty, self-confidence, faith in true desire, romance and genuine sexual self-expression that will ripple the powerful energies of all that is natural and genuine into our world. This is what we fought for and what we all deserve. Living true lives has to be the antidote to the pervasive poisons that spew and spread from the homophobic, self-righteous cruelty of those who are so unevolved as to gain superiority only by de filing other people's lives with their hatred, ignorance and intolerance. Love and light to all of you out there striving to lead lives of honor, generosity of spirit and faith in the beauty that resides within all of us and resonates within the natural world in which we are immersed.

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