I want to respect the trial and error of a sexually daring woman who is now dead, and expose the all too common error for the sake of others. This writing is not merely a eulogy for a sexually daring woman whom I will refer to by her first name, these words are more than a remembrance for a sexual rebel. Her life touched me deeply and offers a lesson, a gift for those people still living.
I speak of the unnecessary degradation of a sexually daring woman.
Sharon, who introduced me to Kay, knew her for decades longer than I did. They shared a friendship for over 35 years. Kay had a life of sexual escapades notorious among her friends. We were all disciples of a controversial Tantric guru now known as Osho. Kay loved him and his sexually daring, free approach. I admired her boldness, but most of the world did not. My admiration does not blind me to her tragic limits. She carried a burden of superstition around having a respectable life, which she achieved with lamentable results.
Remember that there is a difference between sexual experience and sexual maturity.
In the early 1970s, she became offended by the moral ministering to women from the lofty preachers of the local churches. Being a sexually daring woman, she responded by fucking each one of them. She wanted to see, first-hand, whether their moral reality coincided with their words, and they did not. She felt some guilt about her actions years later. She mentioned that only one of the many men put up any resistance at all. In order to counter his resistance, she went to church every Sunday and beamed at him from the front pew with longing looks of admiration. Before long, she subjected him to her charms as well. Such a woman can expose a thousand hypocrites in as many days. If you’ve imagined her to be a stunning beauty, then you would be wrong. Her common looks lacked the curves that men value. Yet, her vivacity and real joy in sex gave her power. However, the pleasure that comes with ephemeral command over men does not give security.
“I feel sad for my friend. It’s a tragedy that she got close to freedom, freedom that I now enjoy, but she never got to truly have it. She had the experience, intelligence and boldness to discover the freedom, but her window of opportunity closed when she got sick. As she aged, she was not able to devote her attention to getting free of second-hand beliefs. The hypnosis of social conditioning she never overcame to become sovereign of her own choices.”
Kay was the only woman in a typesetting trade school. When the class graduated, they had a party to celebrate. She took each of her classmates into a back room and fucked every one of them. What struck her as painfully strange was that, the next day, all the men pretended as if nothing had happened the night before. I won’t elaborate more on her sexuality, but, suffice to say, she liked sex and was sexually daring. She knew what a multiple orgasm was, she liked men, and she never understood why people were so uptight and conflicted about sexuality.
We can fuck without becoming wiser and can repeat that experience any number of times with any number of people.
Kay’s willingness to color outside the lines sexually did not set her free. The rebel and the conformist are alike in that the custom guides each ones actions, one is for, the other against custom, but the point of reference is not ones own free conscious choices adapting to the circumstances of life. They both rely on the custom as a guide.
The beliefs that really hold people are those to which they will eventually return.
— William James (Paraphrase)
This kind, generous, and sexually daring woman I’m writing about always felt that she was doing something wrong. She eventually collapsed into a traditional life in her mid-forties, a life of marriage and doting over a child.
The child grew to become a self-absorbed, well-paid, male model. She adored him and he eventually abandoned her as she grew ill with lung disease. She became less active as her health deteriorated, her work fell away, and she no longer had the vitality to be sexually daring. She endured a lonely death inside the ‘respectable’ tradition of marriage. Her husband ignored her as she became an invalid, so much so that social services had to threaten him to get him to clean up the filth in the house. This end of degradation was not what she had envisioned when she got married. Her ‘respectable’ life yielded not only neglect, usury, and the vitality draining boredom of routine, but also clouds of cigarette smoke and lung disease in a home stained and stinking with repugnant squalor.
She could rebel against custom. She could put the accountability for her choices onto a notorious guru, but in both cases she deferred, she did not rely on her own clarity. Her old, dubious beliefs in the custom of marriage and monogamy re-emerged and her life became wretched within the custom of commitment and monogamy that promised security. She never found her own sexual sovereignty in spite of her real capacity.
A community of free thinking people can help support others to discover new experiences outside the custom. But, for freedom, we must individually see beyond customs and identifying ourselves according to being in or out of these customs. A custom is not a reliable point of reference, instead, it is an idea inherited from others. We should be adapting to the events in our lives, not to other people’s ideas about what our lives should be, especially if we are sexually daring like our dearly missed Kay. Let’s seek out those who know how to consciously adapt who are willing support our freedom.
By Todd Vickers