Joyce McFadden, MSW, a psychoanalyst, in a great piece on the Huffington Post called, "How to Help Girls Navigate Sexualization in the Media," says this:
"We're missing the simplicity of what our daughters most need from us: our blessing of their sexuality as normal and healthy. I think as Americans, our fixation with the taboo of sexuality causes us to overlook its poetry and its greater meaning in our lives, and then we pass this limited view of sex onto our children. It's difficult for women to teach their girls how to celebrate being alive within their desire; but it's commonplace for women to teach girls how to devalue their bodies in the quest for physical perfection. A mother, over the years, even in the most seemingly innocuous statements like 'I was good today; I skipped lunch.' or 'I was bad today; I had cake' erodes herself in front of her daughter, and in so doing, systematically erodes her daughter right along with her. This is the crisis. Why do we readily and consistently, consciously and unconsciously, dispense messages of self loathing that will harm them in every way by undermining their confidence, even as we shy away from teaching them how to protect, delight in, and express love with their bodies?"
At one point, McFadden refers to a sex therapist, Esther Perel, author of "Mating in Captivity," a book exploring the sexual complications within marriage, who says that it isn't usually the mechanics of sex that bring couples to her for help, but rather their desire for "the poetics of sex."
Well, that's painful, isn't it? As those of you who are familiar with my work and writings know, I stand staunchly on the side of healthy sexuality as the cornerstone of all the other variables regarding physical, emotional and mental health. Sexual energy, Chi, Kundalini - whatever it is called - is not only the most powerful force within the human body, at once healing and invigorating in its effects, but it is also the link between physical life and spiritual life.
As the Pathwork Guide says, "In the human realm the power of sexuality can, in its most ideal form, be the greatest 'representative' of spiritual existence."
The Guide continues: "There is no other human experience that conveys so fully what spiritual bliss, oneness, and timelessness are: the timeless Now, beyond the confines of time. In the total sexual experience man breaks through the confines of time and separateness to which his limited mind has bound him. Through such an experience man is reminded of his true existence in the eternal."
Mark Epstein, a Buddhist psychotherapist, has a beautiful chapter on sexuality in an amazing book entitled, "GOING TO PIECES WITHOUT FALLING APART."
"There is always an element of separation in even the most profound union. The sexual arena is one in which the frustrations of separateness can be calmed and the resentments of disappointment drowned. It is an environment in which the most primitive and taboo impulses - of sucking, biting, teasing, prohibition and surrender - can be acted out in the pursuit of union. Passion is a vehicle for containing the incendiary mix of anger and desire. Anger loses its aversive quality and becomes raw excitement. As lovers attack each other's boundaries and gradually yield to each other's desire, they enter a territory in which the emotions of separateness pulse as one. There is no way to experience desire, however, without yielding some amount of control."
Beautiful! Please continue, Mark:
"Clinging is as much of a problem in lovemaking as in the rest of life. In order for sexual relations to be deeply satisfying, there must be a yielding of this clinging in a manner that actually affirms the unknowability and separateness of the loved partner. It is the peculiar convergence of awe and appreciation with pleasure and release that characterizes the best sexual experiences. Separate and together cease to be mutually exclusive and instead become reciprocally enhancing and mutually informative. There is wisdom in this state, not just raw instinct. Our habitual ways of thinking and doing obscure the underlying reality. Just as most couples engage in sexual activity without realizing how much more subtle and all-pervasive their pleasure could be, so do we go through our lives without experiencing much of the joy that is available through the simple nonactivity of being. Just as the sexual yogi has to learn to stop doing and make himself into an offering so that he can appreciate the profundity of his partner's arousal, so too do we have to learn how to stop proving ourselves and surrender to the more magnificent world of which we are a part."
Thank you, Mark. And let me finally add this:
Women are the bridge. Just as a soul "comes down" and enters the earth plane through the body of a woman, so too can we touch the heavens going in the other direction through her. In his book, Epstein talks about how it is through the orgasm of the woman that we find the cosmic experience of sexuality. He is unabashed in saying that a man's orgasm is secondary to the woman's, his being an "offering at the altar of her lap." Any man that I have ever talked to in depth about this who has truly experienced deep sexual union with a woman, knows this to be true. Great sex is greatly about the woman's orgasmic experience, which opens the portal to the universe.
So back to our mothers and daughters - and come on Dads and sons, get in on this! - we need to do whatever it takes to overcome these barriers that stifle the poetry of sex, and indeed, as Joyce McFadden implores us, bless the sexuality of our children.