By Todd Vickers
When discussing heightened sexual states, let’s look at sex as something like the ocean or like weather, something both powerful and in continuous flux. Sex does not exist to serve our expectations or beliefs but is simply a part of life. If good fortune allows us the opportunity to experience harmless sexual delights, let us feel gratitude. Let’s remember for some of our human family, sexual joy is truly difficult. My heart aches for these people. For those who are asexual I don’t lament because they are not enduring a starvation.
I hope each person discovers their sexual joy, in a harmless way, as one part of a life well lived. Speaking for myself, the only reason to avoid sharing sex with mutually willing partners, is if it’s destructive. This brings us to the topic, what we’ll do when we’re turned on. Let’s consciously cultivate a more enlightened understanding of not only our own but of other people’s excitement to render the delights harmless. This is what I call sexual kindness.
The vulnerability around sensual longings is intense. Some of us might avoid the vulnerability, possessiveness, and envy behind armored attitudes, such as paying real deference or phony lip service to conservative or religious morality. I suspect a desire to control sexuality stems, at least in part, from such avoidance. Our sexuality may have been more or less welcomed, rejected, defended or exploited depending on the environment we were born into. Most of us probably had some kind of mixture of more than one from that list. We should be willing to discover things beyond the bounds of our experience.
Other people’s bodies also feel intense longings for ecstasy. Their joy does not exist to conform to our designs. They, like ourselves, also want the senses fully awakened to joy. The moments of ecstasy where we let go of our mental sense of self. Those moments when thinking ceases and we touch what seekers cultivate in meditation. The dissolving of the conceptual self.
Please recall for a moment when you experienced trembling with excitement and vulnerability. Maybe it is when you dared to kiss someone you were crushing on, or when you walked up to the counter making your first purchase of condoms. Maybe it was when you were on the edge of enveloping or penetrating a new lover. We can feel the rush of impulses and emotion, when we start feeling it, it is easy to push our limits. People who understand this desire can manipulate us including lovers and of course advertisers. Our longing for joy can become a weapon against us.
“A lover once related a story of another boyfriend who requested anal sex. She discovered that this type of sex was, for her, intensely exciting, which is not something everyone can say. As both of their passions arose, they became mutually orgasmic. Afterward, her lover felt disgusted because she had “actually liked it.” Her pleasure came at the cost of his disdain. Her joy became a weapon used against her. What was worse was that experiencing an orgasm in general wasn’t easy for her. Being reared in Catholic schools and conditioned with double messages, shame was nothing new for her. But to be shamed over what gave both her and her lover harmless joy seemed painfully absurd.”
Excerpt: Stop Slut Shaming, 4 Do’s and Dont’s,
Todd Vickers, Elephant Journal, May 25, 2016
When we invite sexual ecstasy we feel willing to explore things that either excite us or suggest the hope of ecstasy, maybe a new lover, a playful new kink, it might be just daring to tell another that you desire them. The art that introduces this article above represents countless people who felt such a strong impulse they took a nude photograph of themselves and sent it to someone or posted the image online. Such excitement makes us vulnerable. I’m a big fan of sincere vulnerability and, as we probably know from painful experience, there are those who use sex as a weapon. When we feel excited, we don’t think about revenge porn or slut shaming. If we are on the edge of ecstasy and a lover asks us for a kink, we feel remarkably daring in such a moment. To have that risk become a source of shame is tragic and unnecessary.
How many religious moralists have been caught in hypocrisy. Consider the bible belt and their insatiable consumption of porn. Societies double standards are not only confusing but lead to hypocrisy and scandals that disrupt the lives of both famous and workaday people. We can point to Anthony Wiener and his dick pic scandal that trashed his career but we’ve also heard of teens accused of distributing underage pornography because they sent pics of themselves. Such laws are absurd. If my contemporaries had owned cell phones growing up in the 1980’s, we would have used them in the same way. Instead we had a Polaroid camera and the film was expensive.
The internet offers us not only an end of privacy but also the end of hypocrisy. If we hide what we like, there is always a chance someone might hack our Craigslist, Ashley Madison or adult friend finder accounts. It is time to stop disapproving of the desire for harmless sexual joy and save our disapproval for what actually causes harm.
Let’s think back and remember what we did when away from the prying eyes of parents? Perhaps like myself as a tween you had an unfortunate and painful incident with the Electrolux vacuum (it seemed like a good idea at the time.) The lack of compassion and understanding around the impulses toward joy including self pleasure is not only sad, it is two-faced.
As a step toward social transformation, let’s begin by honestly admitting that most of us are capable of ecstasy and want that excitement and that excitement may exist beyond the bounds of our secondhand beliefs. We also need to make room for others who are quite like us in wanting joy but their excitement may take a different form. Some of those people will be our lovers. I would suggest one more thing, that we make a conscious decision not to use another persons longing for sexual joy as a weapon against them.
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