17. What is Sexual Enlightenment?

On Black Friday, instead of scrambling around town like a masked bandit, or trolling online in frenzied pursuit of the steepest discounts, I chose to spend some time contemplating enlightenment… What can be gained from seeking inner and outer simplicity? What more is available in life when there is less of me in the way? The answer, of course, is A LOT! And naturally, this carries over into the sexual realm.

Enlightenment demands a deep and clear understanding of desire, of self, and of the nature of reality. All paths devoted to it recognize that the “ego” (self) is the primary obstacle. In most schools of thought, enlightenment is synonymous with freedom.

Sexual enlightenment is about having a deep and clear understanding of the nature of sex, free of all cultural, societal, moral, and ethical contortions. Because sex/sexuality is such a basic feature of life, there’s no fancy solution to the problem of enlightenment in this realm, just a simple process of elimination, or paring away all the added baggage. In my experience, many people (myself included, prior to my extensive journey of finding out) can’t even imagine what sex really is outside of all the added paraphernalia.

Common ideas used as synonyms for sex are: intimacy, love, commitment, marriage, procreation, loss of innocence, sin, and so forth, along with oodles of additional ones tailored to each individual according to personality and preference. Much of this stuff has been justified by the relatively new “discipline” of evolutionary psychology (for more on that see post #7), which has only muddied the already dark waters surrounding this topic.

So let’s get basic. Stripped of all the fluff, sex is desire, pure and simple. The biological urge to experience sexual pleasure and/or get kinetic with objects of our fancy (yes objects, which means that our overreaching phobia of “objectification” has to go, too–see post #12). It helps to understand that everything beyond this simple definition is most likely just layers of personality and preference (in other words, self) and, in terms of enlightenment, an unnecessary hindrance.

For me, stripping away the fluff was terrifying and vulnerable. Who was I, if I wasn’t defined by my preferences and preconceptions? Was I a slut if I fucked people I didn’t love? Was I out of control if I let myself go? Was I a freak if I went out hunting for a lay? Could I respect myself if I lowered my standards? And what if I had sex with other women–what the heck did that mean?

As it turns out, the cozy comfort zone is simply a padded cell made from the way we are socialized in our sexually unenlightened (repressed, sex-negative) society. And stretching beyond that zone is the only way to free ourselves from what is effectively caging us in.

Just as in the spiritual realm, sexual enlightenment is not a possibility to those who do not reach outside and beyond the comforting confines of the known. (If this inspires you toward action, please read posts #1, #2, and #3 for the groundwork!)

Thank heavens I didn’t let the intense discomfort and momentary disorientation stop me from seeking and exploring. That’s just the price of freedom, or as they say, freedom is not for free ! In order to understand the nature of sex, to touch the purity of that raw desire, and discover our unedited responses (see post #14), we have to sacrifice ourselves (the places we’re holding) to the cause. Oh, it is well worth it!

(For an extensive discussion of these topics and fleshing out what it takes to be sexually enlightened in today’s world, please see my newly published book, #Hot Blooded.)

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